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Food Stamps Used to Buy Margarita Mix While Others Go Hungry

My rant for the day.

With ads, coupons, calculator, and a few stray curse words flying about,  I pulled the grocery cart and pushed my daughter wheelchair through Wal-Mart. Grocery shopping has become one of the most daunting tasks imaginable for me. Gone are the days of flying isle to isle picking up whatever suits my whim of the week. What used to take a mere thirty minutes now takes hours of adding up tallies, compiling each coupon, and flipping through fliers to ad match the best possible price on each and every item.

Last week, I was going through this routine and was absolutely exhausted as I reached the checkout line. The only upside of the day was seeing one lone man in front of me with just a ring of salt, three bottles of margarita mix, and a bag of limes. Usually, there is three or four cashiers….each with lines full of full buggies. I was also fantasizing about having one of those margaritas (after my 8 more weeks of pregnancy is over of course.)

As I am unloading my buggy, I notice the margarita man in front of me has one of those yellow food stamp cards out. “Surely not,” I thought. “That will be $32.00,” said the cashier. He sweeps his little yellow food stamp card without batting an eye. I have completely stopped unloading my buggy to see if my tax dollars are actually about to pay for this joker to go have a margarita party. “Thank you sir, and come again” echoed in my ear as my head was just about to combust. Yes, mine, yours, and probably my unborn child’s tax dollars just paid for this guy to buy margarita mix. Meanwhile, my husband working two jobs and my daughters miniscule Social Security check is being stretched with a calculator, ad’s and coupons just for us to eat PB&J and red beans.

I get home and automatically go to the computer. I get on the internet to see how in the hell this guy bought margarita mix with a food stamp card that is supposed to be for people unable to actually feed themselves.

The first thing I came across was that 35.8 million people received food stamps in July of 2009, an all time record. That equates to 1 in every 9 person in the United States. This number has continued to rise since July and is expected to continue to rise with unemployment numbers remaining above average. The average amount each person received monthly this year was between $101.00 and $133.00. In Texas alone, there are 3 million persons enrolled in the food stamp program, and another 38,000 on the waiting list. On the other hand, there were over 200 cases of convicted food stamp fraud cases totaling almost 900,000 this year alone in just one county in Texas. Texas is just an example; every state I looked at had astonishing stats on people getting food stamps vs. cases of fraud. It is shameful that many people truly in need of assistance to buy food are sitting on waiting lists while others abuse the system.

Once I got an idea of just how many people received food stamps and the incidence of fraud, I moved on to what the food stamp program (SNAP) considers food.  Amazingly, alcohol mixes are eligible, but a scoop of “on premise consumption” ice cream isn’t eligible. Go figure~ Investigation over! Yet, another case of the system enabling those to abuse the system, while many truly in need are told to wait or that they make two bucks too much to be eligible.

So, while buying margarita mix using food stamp money is not illegal, I think it is example *A* of a flawed system. There are people that have lost their jobs, have disabilities, or just do not have the income needed to keep up with the price of food….that actually need help to buy FOOD while someone else is misusing the premise of food  stamps as an aid for the non-nutritional event of drinking alcohol. The man in front of me spent between 1/3 and ¼ of the average food stamp allotment on items that would not feed him/his family…not to mention whatever he spent of his paycheck on the alcohol to go with his mix!

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User Comments
  1. papaleng

    On November 5, 2009 at 5:41 am

    such a bad news to see. That’s a disgusting way to show one’s selfish motives.

  2. Petalm

    On November 5, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Wow, a lesson in social studies.

  3. Phill Senters

    On November 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    A great story Jo. Here in Florida, I see examples like these on almost every trip to the grocery store. It is a shame that there isn’t a better way to control the fraud and waste committed with the use of food stamps and other taxpayer funded services for the needy.

  4. Chris Stonecipher

    On November 5, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    A few years back, I used the food stamp service and I was strickly told that it could only be used for food items only. I am not sure why people are being allowed to purchase alcohol when in this state the reps are required to ask if you have an alcohol or drug problem. Excellent reporting my friend:)

  5. Jo Oliver

    On November 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Chris, the margarita mix did not have alcohol in it…it was the non alcoholic mixer that you combine with alcohol. However, alcohol or not, I just don’t understand why something that has 0 nutritional value, isn’t a food source, etc.. could be bought with “food” stamps that are supposed to buy food for those that can’t feed themselves.

  6. Melody SJAL

    On November 8, 2009 at 8:53 am

    That’s a shame. Hope this practice can be adequately controlled, thanks for sharing this post.

  7. tina

    On November 17, 2009 at 1:35 am

    I dont understand why you give a damn what he had in his cart? who are you to judge the man?

    He could have been easily buying the mix and limes for non alcoholic drinks!
    not to mention, what about the people who buy Kool aid, Soda, gingerale, and tonic water? all of these items can be mixed with alcohol to make a sweet or interesting drink.

    If you have fallen upon hard times and need help, why dont you apply for food stamps and see what YOU end up buying if you know its allowed. I guarantee you say the same thing that he probably was thinking (hey my tax dollars went for these so why not?)

    Until you are in their shoes, dont judge!!!

  8. iworkathome

    On February 7, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I once saw a man try to buy dog food with food stamps. When he was told he couldn’t he went to the meat department and came back with a stack of steaks for the dog.

  9. Terra

    On October 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    “Judge not, lest ye be judged”. Why do you CARE what other people put in their cart? What if you fell on hard times and wanted something un nutritional from the food stamps you were forced to get? I’m willing to bet youre not perfect. Its people like you that make the world a little intolerable.

  10. Taylor

    On December 18, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Speaking as someone who receives food stamps, I can’t say how I feel about this. I have a fiance and a 17 month old daughter. Sometimes, at the end of the month (right before our monthly money gets re-filled) we will buy a few “frivolous” items with our leftover money. Keep in mind that this is ONLY after we have provided what our family needs for the month. I CAN say that I have purchased non-alcoholic mix for strawberry daiquiris. All I can say about this purchase is that, my fiance is working 50 hour weeks…we’re both going to school, and we’re raising a 17 month old daughter. Sometimes it’s nice to have “creature comforts” once a month because, well… we feel like we ARE working hard, and seriously…I see people on food stamps buying their children ice cream, cookies, and can upon can of soda. So I feel like my ONE bottle of non-alcoholic mix a month so that my fiance and I can relax and do things we can’t do with our friends because we can’t afford to go to a bar or to a “club”. I don’t know this man, or what he spends the rest of his money on…but I can say that in my life, I work hard, I am trying to provide the best I can for my family, and I do not feel guilty about spending a little of what I have on something that I will enjoy (responsibly of course).

  11. helen

    On December 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Maybe the guy needs citric acid and doesnt like the taste of plain limes? My husband has a heart condition and he drinks lemons in water with salt. If I had to do that Id be buying Margarita mix too.

    What it comes down to is the poster has money and never knew what it was to suck _ss, like the other 95% of us do. To take the heat off of themselves for bleeding people like us that buy Margarita mix and dont have enough left to get food, they post this crap.

    These are the BUSH buddies that raped our economy and skimmed the 95% to make sure they never close the gap between them and the 5%. Look up folks or you’ll miss the con!

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