The Nouveau Welfare Class

So I was at the grocery store last Friday, the 13th of March 2009, buying my weekly groceries. Shopping went normally. Grapes where running $1.49 a pound, so I picked up a small bag to add to my bananas for fruit for the week. Near the checkout, the 12 or less line was empty, but I passed by it to go to the normal amount of groceries line, since I usually have more than 12 items even though I shop only for myself. One young man was in line, who was completing his purchase of what looked to be about one plastic bag of groceries. I figured that would be fine, he would be done fairly quickly.

I pushed my cart in and walked around to the front of it to unload the contents onto the rolling counter. As I walked around, the young man approached me. He began talking, “Excuse me, could you help me out?” he inquired in a slurred voice with an alcoholic drink smell to his voice. “O, great!” I thought to myself, a beggar. Sometimes in parking lots I have been approached with similar inquiries by beggars asking for cash to buy gas so they can get enough to drive home they say.  This was the first time I was approached in the line buying groceries, so I answered non-committedly “Huh?”.

He explained further. “Look, can I buy your groceries with my food stamps and you give me the cash? I need to buy some beer. Can you help me out?”

Hmmm… this was some new type of begging. Surprised at the proposition, I replied “Sorry, I am using food stamps as well, and have no cash.” He responded with “No problem, just hoped you could help me out to get some beer money, ya’ know.” He left me, walked over to the counter, picked up his bag of groceries and sauntered off unsteadily towards the door.

As I unloaded my groceries after this encounter, the cashier and the grocery bagger remarked to each other, “He sure seemed weird.” Overhearing this, I remarked “He was drunk, could smell it when he talked to me.”

“O, what was he talking to you about?” one of them inquired. So I briefly informed them of the gist of the conversation. One of them then remarked to the other, “See, I told you that’s what some of them do. They trade their food stamps in for cash and buy drugs and stuff. He didn’t even look like he needed food stamps.” More remarks of a similar nature where made between them as I completed my check out, as one explained to the other to watch for similar actions.

As I left and reflected on the episode, I started to wonder. How did a seemingly healthy mid 20’s man get food stamps that he apparently didn’t need as much as he needed beer? Was beer the only drug which he was using food stamp money for? Was he one of the newly qualified for food stamps that the stimulus bill allowed? How many more such as him would be qualified with the new expanded Obama plans going into effect?

How many really sick, elderly, and hungry children where getting less than they needed so that Obama could let more people like him game the system for free alcohol and drug money? Soon the really needy will be pushed aside and marginalized by the nouveau welfare class who spend their days gaming the system to become unproductive parasites and vote themselves more and more.