I'm reading "The Salmon of Doubt" by Douglas Adams in little snippets on breaks and in the car when I am waiting on someone. I've saved this read until now because it is the last Douglas Adams I will be able to read. He died way too young. In this book are all of his brief writings, introductions to other books, magazine articles and such. One of these is his ode to Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto and that is the tune that has been running through my head for several days. What does this have to do with my blog? Well nothing really, but it does describe the scattered state of my mind. Every time I start to have a thought, here comes Bach.
Paula at Monroe on a Budget had an article this morning that's been on my mind all day.
see story here
The article is about how stores are gearing their sales to coincide with the food stamp shoppers who seem to shop all at once when their benefits are placed on their cards. Some of the shoppers wait around in Walmart until midnight so they can make a purchase the very moment they get their money.
I work in a grocery store and I do notice people seem to come in all at once. I had one customer today who shopped with her two young daughters. She handed me the empty containers to scan first because they ate a bowl of fruit and drank a soda. One girl handed me a yogurt and asked me to hand it right back because she wanted it now, and her sister handed me half a block of cheese with teeth marks in it so I could scan it and hand it back. I laughed because I see children all the time acting like they are starving because they are in the store. My own kids did it and I bet yours did too. This afternoon this story was on my mind and I wondered if maybe they had gone a day or two without before their benefits kicked in.
I personally know what it it like. I received food stamps decades ago when they were paper. I never shopped all at once and went without at the end of the month because I have always cooked from scratch and had a pantry most of the time. I was on them because I had to at the time. I wasn't forever but it felt dreadful. It was very little and it had to be stretched very carefully.
You used to have to stand in a long line to pick up food stamps. There were no snazzy cards back in the dark ages. One time the line stretched out the door and along the side of the building facing the highway. There was an older man in front of me and in front of him was a woman leaning on her crutches with bandaged arms, wearing a neck brace, with a cast from foot to upper thigh. Someone leaned out of their small brown pickup truck and yelled "Get a Job!" The older man and several others murmured "I wish I had a Job." I'll never forget the look on the woman's face as she twisted painfully on her crutches to look at the vehicle.
Being poor may suck but being even poorer sucks worse. It's not so bad being a member of the working poor. I've been worse off in the past. Don't know if I can bring myself to write about the dark times, but I will say things can always improve and it won't always be like this. The hard times may pass but we must remember what they were like so we can remind ourselves to save and keep a frugal mindset so we can prosper in the future.