July Food Stamp Challenge — Day Seven, Judgement Day

by Katy on July 7, 2011 · 84 comments

The following is a reprint of a post I wrote for last year’s Food Stamp Challenge. The issue of food judgement is very interesting to me, and if you feel that you’re immune to it, I dare you to watch even one short clip from Extreme Couponing. (But you’re likely to watch more than one because it’s like a car accident — you just can’t look away!)

Click here to read last year’s post, as it garnered 80+ comments which were quite fascinating. And while you’re at it, click here to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

Today is day nine of the July Food Stamp Challenge, and I want to address issues of food judgment. You may say, “Oh no, I would never judge other people’s food choices!” but I beg to differ. We all do it. I certainly do it. I notice when people who seem to be struggling financially are buying bottled water, junk food or cases of beer. It’s not something that I’m proud of, but it’s hard not to notice the world around you.

I wrote about my grocery shopping trip a few days back and received this comment from a reader:

“I am inclined to ask the same question as Molly on Money (who asked  ‘Do you feel the quality of the food your buying has gone down with this challenge?’) about the quality of your food. One of the problems today is the overconsumption of processed foods and their “cheapness” being a drawing card to those of limited means. Chips, cereal and deli ham are all pretty poor choices…and you can see why the health of those on food stamps may be at risk. Certainly those items could be part of your “do without” mantra…even if you are experimenting with food stamps.”

Readers were quick to defend me, and I feel that this reader’s comment struck a nerve because it brings up an issue that no one wants to admit to. We look at each other’s food choices and judge one another. We notice what’s in each other’s grocery carts, and modify our own behavior when when we’re not alone. (Have you ever noticed how a group of people will only eat a small amount of sweets, and then that last cookie on a plate never gets eaten?) Our first lady, Michelle Obama has even taken on the challenge of addressing our nation’s growing epidemic of childhood obesity. She judges.

So is this bad? Was my purchase of a large amount of fruit and vegetables completely undone by a bag of “guacachips” and a pound of lunch meat?

If I truly felt defensive and private about my family’s eating habits, then I wouldn’t be putting it in the internet for all the world to see. I certainly asked for it.

I am not a perfect eater. I veer towards sweets, and have a tendency to eat more than I should. I’m not a dieter, and actually feel pretty good about my body. I think I can be healthy and attractive without being gaunt. I did secretly weigh myself at the beginning of this challenge, because I was curious whether I would lose or even gain any weight.

Of course, the issues of weight and healthy eating are not one and the same. One does not denote the other.

I am not perfect, but I do try and serve healthy meals and to provide opportunities for healthy snacks for my family. I also provide special treats like chips or pretzels in school lunches, an occasional box of sugar cereal or a hot dog when we go to Costco. There’s always fruit in the kitchen, and a big green salad with dinner. Our bread is whole wheat and the only drinks available are water, milk or orange juice.

So go ahead and judge, we all do it. It’s not a great thing, but it’s far from the worst. I dare you to try to ignore other people’s grocery purchases, it’s not easy.

Do you feel that you judge other people’s food choices? Are you more likely to notice what a person is buying when they’re using food stamps? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Van July 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

Nope, I’m not more likely to notice what people are buying when they’re using food stamps- but I do look in other people’s carts when I’m in line at the grocery store! Funny how it can tell a story, sometimes.


Nancy July 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

I think I’m probably pretty judgmental about other people’s food choices in general, whether or not they’re on assistance. But I also realize that it’s really none of my business and that I don’t know the whole story, and frequently tell myself to knock it off. It’s a constant internal debate around here!


Rachel July 7, 2011 at 9:08 am

A few months back when we were still living in Canada, I popped into a big grocery store to buy some road trip snacks. A few apples and nuts and raisins. Was feeling pretty good about myself for avoiding the chocolate. I do love me some junk food on road trips.

When I got in line to check out the woman in front of me had loads of packaged foods. Frozen pizzas, a vat of ice cream, flavoured rice mixes, etc. Her items were tallied up and came to almost $100. She handed over a stack of coupons and it dropped to under $60.

I judged.

I was impressed with her savvy and frugal ways but no way would I stock my house with that stuff. Now, have I bought most of what she had in her car before? Yes. Just not all at once.

How did I know that she didn’t follow up the coupon dash with a visit to a local farm or with home delivery of organic meats. I didn’t. It’s just too easy to see one shopping trip and make a snap judgment. I sure wouldn’t want anyone to see me when I dash to the corner store for two chocolate bars when I have PMS (or a really bad day).


Cate @ Liberal Simplicity July 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

Ooh, I totally agree! We don’t do all of our shopping at one store, so a lot of the time our grocery trips probably look really unbalanced. We have a garden, we buy most of our produce (and all of our meat and eggs) at the farmers’ market, and we split the rest of our trips between Aldi and Kroger. Lots of the time we’ll go to the farmers’ market for heaps of fresh produce, and buy things like baking supplies, dried beans, and dairy at Kroger. If you looked into our cart, you’d think we survived on baked goods and milk, but that’s definitely not the case. So I try not to judge the contents of other people’s carts, though I do find it interesting just to look.


Debbie July 7, 2011 at 9:25 am

I hope that bag of Guacachips in the picture, with the 9/03/06 expiration date, wasn’t the one you just bought! 🙂


Katy July 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hey, I’d eat them! 😉



Carol July 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

I wouldn’t say that I judge people based on what they put in their cart, nor do I feel that I respond/feel any more negative once they pull out a SNAP card. Case in point: I recall a shopping trip last year, where I was waiting behind a middle aged couple with a middle school aged daughter. They put their groceries on the counter and at the end, handed over a SNAP card and clearly it was their first time using it, they were unsure about how to proceed. I didn’t look down on them for being eligible for assistance. I did note, however, that if they sought out alternatives for the same items chosen, they could have gotten more, including fresh, seasonal produce (which I noted they didn’t buy any of, but they may have shopped at another store, have plenty on hand already, etc-I had no way of knowing, so I couldn’t assume that they couldn’t afford it) or meats.

I did note that they could have stretched their funds further by seeking alternative choices, choices that ANYONE, regardless of how they are paying for their groceries, may choose to make:

1-instead of multiple 26 oz cans of Stokely spaghetti sauce @ $1.50/can, 29 oz cans of tomato puree/sauce sells for 99 cents. They bought at least 6 cans of spaghetti sauce. Moving to doctoring up canned tomato sauce would have provided an additional $3.06 towards their food bill.Add some salt/pepper/Italian spices (sold at 67 cents/canister).

2-They also had several “medium sized” plain cheese, frozen pizzas shrinked wrapped in plastic, that must sell for at least $4 or more. I am guessing that 2 pizzas are needed per meal, as they are small. An alternative would be a loaf of $1 “Italian” bread cut down the middle, horizontally and topped with some of the aforementioned tomato sauce, some $3/lb cheese. Done. They can fix 4 large French bread style halves of cheese pizza for $6, probably 2 meals. Instead of $8/pizza meal, the cost can easily drop to $3/meal. Do this twice during the month, and they have an extra $10 to put towards other/additional food items.

3- I noted canned beans-a great meal stretcher. I have already done the math and know that unless a can of beans is 50 cents or less/15 oz can, a bag of dried at $1/bag is a better option. Same food, just have to prep it yourself and save. This particular grocery store is a discount store and some of the canned beans are reasonably priced at 50 cents or less/15 oz can.

4-Oatmeal: A box of oatmeal packets is around $2/8 pkts for a store brand or generic brand. This yields 4-8 sevings (my teen boys can easily consume 2 pkts/bfst). A canister of plain quick oats goes for $1.72 at Aldi’s and yields 15-30 servings (based on 1-2 pkts/bfst). So pkt oats are 25 cents each while canister oats are 6 cents. Assume 1 pkt/person or 1 serving of quick oats/person, this family of 3 would need to spend $22.50/month on pkts or buy 3 canisters of quick oats/month for $5.16, saving $17.34 in the process.

My point is that one CAN eat the same foods as before going on assistance or as a response to rising food prices, if they seek alternative ways to get the food items into the home. Make it yourself and save $30.04 just on oats, spaghetti sauce and pizza. One doesn’t necessarily have to eat worse or terribly just because they are on a budget, for whatever reason-SNAP or not.


Lynn Woes July 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

We got on SNAP for the first time last year. Actually it was the first time in a while where I didn’t have to worry about how much the stuff cost. My family of 5 (3 little kids) qualified for a little over $300 worth of food a month- way more than we normally spend. I could afford to buy the produce that wasn’t on sale if it was what looked freshest. I could afford to buy a big bag of chicken breasts for protein instead of eggs and peanut butter. I felt rich instead of poor as far as what food choices I had. I know that is messed up but that is how the system works.


Elaine July 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I cannot believe you examined that grocery cart like that! It seems a little over the top to me.

Privacy is sadly lacking in our society today, and everyone seems to feel entitled to make snap judgements about people they don’t even know.

Guess what?

It’s none of your business.

I tend towards being judgemental, and it’s the thing I hate most about myself. I work hard at not noticing what others are doing, wearing, driving, etc. I notice this trait in other people because I have it too, and I battle it all the time. It does not lead to a happy and fulfilling life.

I apologize if I hurt your feelings.


mkegirl September 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

oh get over yourself. she is obviously very observant and analytical so these things just come natural. i’m the same. what do you expect? that people can just change the way their brain processes things? well they can’t. manners means you keep your mouth shut which she did. and the suggestions she listed were presented in a kindly manner. defensive anyone?


Mindy July 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

I’m the queen of shopping cart judging. And most of the time, it disgusts me. I was at Winco during the first of the month once (I will NEVER do that again) and it made me embarrassed to be white. The sickening foods piled high in TWO grocery baskets of some people made me want to walk up to them and hit them with a bag of fresh apples. The ONLY people shopping in the produce and bulk sections were of non-white lineage. And this may be even more judging, but I would be willing to bet that the majority of people shopping that day were using food stamps. And people wonder why all the kids are overweight and why health problems continue to skyrocket. Walk into a grocery store and you’ll find the answer to both of those problems. It makes me sick to my stomach.


Megg July 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

I agree 100%! Except that I said it in many more words below, haha.


Jess July 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

And people wonder why all the kids are overweight and why health problems continue to skyrocket.
Quick note: I used to work at a VERY expensive private school in Seattle. The parents were allllll about organic foods and sports. They still sent Lunchables on occasion. But know what? I’m not a parent. I don’t know how busy their life can be. I’m not going to judge. (But I will look askance at the six year old with a Rockstar energy drink.) My point is, the class of the parent has little to do with it. Education and resources matter, yes, but to assume they’re using food stamps is insulting–to you.


K July 18, 2011 at 8:18 am

embarrassed to be white!! huh? what decade is this?


Alicia July 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

I go both ways: I judge others and worry that I’m being judged. Tons of fun!!

I live near a lovely little Polish deli/bakery, where my family gets most of our treats (paczki, cookies, half & half, chocolate, deli meats). The ladies who work there must think I live on junk food! But it’s just that we do most of our shopping at other stores.


Megg July 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

I judge. I will admit it and what’s more, I don’t care.
The problem with me is that I worked at Walmart for a little over a year, as a cashier. It wasn’t all bad until I transferred to a super Walmart in a pretty poor area. That alone turned me off food stamps (I’m working on this!)
These people, both black and white, mind, were buying pure crap. Banquet TV dinners (loaded with preservatives and sodium and about a million grams of fat) would go on sale for .88 cents (normally .99) and these people would STOCK UP. It was awful to watch. The whole cart was like that, and there were NO exceptions. I’m pretty sure I only rang up something as healthy as bananas with one in every 20 people who came through with food stamps. The one that made me the most angry (and I STILL talk about this) is the family that bought a stack of pre-made, pre-frozen pancakes. PANCAKES which are the cheapest thing to make! Flour, sugar, milk, egg, some kind of oil. You can’t tell me you can’t buy those things and make a million pancakes. For heaven’s sake, at least buy Bisquick!
I would love to see something like cooking classes for these people on food stamps, because I’m willing to bet they can barely brown beef. It’s sad to me, but I feel like, with a little education, this could be so much better.

On the flip side, in another Walmart I worked at there were a lot of Hispanic people and I loved to ring them up. Not only did they pay in cash (most likely because they were illegal 🙁 ) but they literally bought nothing but fresh produce. I can only imagine how delicious their meals were.

Sorry, I could go on about this for a long time. It’s kinda a touchy subject of mine. Stinking Walmart really put me off of government assistance.


Lynn Woes July 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

OUCH! My family was on food stamps for a few months. . . I’m pretty sure I bought bananas every single trip I took to super walmart because my little boy can go through 2 or 3 a day if I will let him. I did buy some junk food too while we were on foods stamps. I also bought whole wheat flour, frozen veggies, eggs, and other healthy foods. I guess you would have been in shock had I come through your line. I’ve seen the people on food stamps that buy all junk too. I remember watching a family ring up $500 worth of food once in front of me that paid with food stamps and had almost all processed frozen foods in their cart. I hope most people wouldn’t assume if they heard I was on food stamps that I just fed my family crap though.

As far as the education. . . WIC provides a lot of nutritional education and anyone on food stamps definitely qualifies for WIC while pregnant, breastfeeding their first year, or with a child under 5. WIC sometimes offers cooking classes, cook books, and online “classes” depending on where you live. I don’t really know how much it helps or how much it just cost tax payers money.

I think that the best thing we can do to encourage healthy eating for families on food stamps is overall reduce the MAXIMUM amount of food stamp dollars a family can qualify for (almost $800 a month for a family of 5 with no income) and then also give an incentive to purchases like fruits/veggies/whole grains/beans/eggs etc. Some areas are already experimenting with programs that give food stamp users extra benefits on their cards when they use them to buy produce. I wouldn’t mind them banning using food stamps to buy soda and potato chips either.


Trish July 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

that’s funny, I noticed the same thing- the Hispanics in our wal-mart were buying fresh produce and dried beans. I wanted to follow them around and ask what foods they make with their purchases. and as for the pancakes, I have a deep hatred for the pancake mix in the plastic jug- you add something and shake it up. and then you have a plastic bottle to throw away. I hate the way companies have convinced us that making pancakes from scratch it simply too arduous.


Sass July 9, 2011 at 4:30 am

This makes me laugh —- because for me, making pancakes from scratch are a completely arduous task — I seem to have a mental block or I’m just simply incapable of making a decent pancake. Too tough, raw in the middle, burned on the outside, too dense, too greasy, you NAME a way to screw up a pancake and I have done it. I’ve finally given up. My waffles and french toast completely rock the house, but my pancakes…. well, they suck. 🙂


Cate @ Liberal Simplicity July 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever personally witnessed anyone using food stamps at the grocery store. We’re not in a super rich area or anything, so that’s probably a combo of me favoring the self checkout + the stores I shop at probably just being cool about people using food stamps, instead of the horror stories I’ve heard about cashiers raising a stink about them.

I will admit that I LOVE to look in other people’s carts, but not because I’m judging them, I just genuinely think it’s interesting to see the different ways people shop and eat. (Though as noted in a comment above, people probably get some seriously funny ideas about our eating habits when looking in MY cart!)

Speaking of seeing what people eat, I love the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats which is a book by photographer Peter Menzel and journalist Faith D’Aluzio. They set out to photograph average families from lots of different countries with all of their food items for one week. Eye-opening.


Jenny July 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

That is a very cool book. And Material World, an older book by Peter Menzel that shows the possessions of families from different countries around the world.


Lynn Woes July 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I saw not too long ago that he had taken pictures of what individuals ate over the course of a day. I saw a few of them. It was in a news article. Not sure if he was making it into a book or not. I was amazed at the variation in caloric intake- it varied a LOT and more calories didn’t mean they were fatter people. Some of them just had way more active lifestyles than the typical American.


No Debt MBA July 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

I also look in other people’s carts and the differences between poor and rich areas are astounding. In poor areas I found that I was raising an eyebrow because of nutrition, in the rich I raise an eyebrow at the cost. I try not to judge since many in the poor areas we’ve lived have had gardens and access to local farms and those living in the wealthy areas often have incomes to match.

I have to wonder what people think of me when I check out at the grocery store. Enough beans, pasta, cereal and eggs to out last Armageddon, all generic brand or on sale and hardly ever any produce since we buy all of it from a different store. One shopping trip really doesn’t give you a good picture of how that person really eats I guess, if I’m any example.


Amy July 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

I worked as a cashier at a grocery store as a teenager, and even then, it made me a little less than happy to see people come through my line with all name brand products and steaks while my mom was buying the cheapest cuts of meat and what she called bastard brand canned goods with my dad’s hard-earned cash. No, I don’t begrudge people food stamps, and I don’t want anyone ever to go hungry. But I do expect people using taxpayer provided funds to try to get the most bang for their buck. I rarely saw that happen as a cashier.


Lynn Woes July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Amy I’ll be the first to admit although I still shopped aldi with my food stamps I was happy that while we were on them I could buy whatever produced looked freshest even if it wasn’t on sale because I was given a bigger budget for groceries. I kinda think the government gives a lot of families more money than they need for food but just like I spent all the stimulus check President Bush sent our family I happily spent all the food stamp benefits they gave us during those 6 months too!


Lynn Woes July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Amy I’ll be the first to admit although I still shopped aldi with my food stamps I was happy that while we were on them I could buy whatever produced looked freshest even if it wasn’t on sale because I was given a bigger budget for groceries. I kinda think the government gives a lot of families more money than they need for food but just like I spent all the stimulus check President Bush sent our family I happily spent all the food stamp benefits they gave us during those 6 months too!


Katy July 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I *love* the term “Bastard Brand” canned goods and from now on will only use that term. 😀

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!



Jenny July 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Ah, I’m embarrassed to admit that I fall into the judging category. Trying to curb it, since as others have said, you can’t really get the whole picture from one shopping trip. And you don’t really know what their life is like either–single parent of a couple of kids working two jobs, someone taking care of elderly parents after working all day, etc. Since I live in a small town, I often do know the people and their circumstances, which doesn’t help with the judgemental part.

It’s the soda that kills me–12 packs piled high in carts. There is no nutritional value there–it’s either sugar syrup or a chemical cocktail if diet. Can’t figure out why food stamps continues to pay for that stuff.

I will say that many people in my town probably think I never eat produce–farmer’s market in the summer and CSA boxes in the winter means I almost never buy produce at the grocery. And I’ve been known to by ice cream on a regular basis, and frozen pizza occasionally.


Katy (another Katy in Portland) July 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Perhaps it’s the soda pop lobby that keeps that stuff on the eligible for food stamps side of the ledger!


Barb July 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Folks who saw me at Tom Thumb the other evening probablay went home scratching their heads and wondering about what kind of person I was.

My cart consisted of lowfat milk, cherry cheesecake safeway icecream, salted butter pecan ice cream and a 24 pack of soda. I can hear the shrieks now.

By seeing my cart you would not know that I go to afarmers market every weekend and stock up for the week, that I buy good meats (going for health and taste over cost, admittedly), or that, like you Katy, we have a full salad and a vegetable and fruit for desserts most nights.

For those who hae safeway I cannot say enough about the butter pecan ice cream..not like regular butter pecan, and since I am on a diet and a fourth of the container is 300 calories, you know how long the ice cream has to last. Im allowed one real coke aday instead of coffee, the other ice cream was a gift and the milk was just…milk.

Imagined being judged by an adult daughter who is a holistic nutrition practitioner (but who still is not above the occasional bite of cherry cheesecake icecream, lol)


Jenn H July 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Salted butter pecan ice cream? Holy smokes, that sounds awesome. I’m going to the store now. Can you give me a brand name? LOL


Kim W July 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I do look at other peoples carts but it’s mostly just curiosity. Regardless of rather they are using food stamps or paying cash etc. I do have to say however I was a little put off the other day in Walmart when the woman in front of me wearing all designer clothes and chunky jewelry took her food stamp card out of her Louis Vouitton (sp) handbag to pay.


Carla July 8, 2011 at 4:47 am

It is possible she was shopping for someone else and using their stamp card for their purchases.


Lisa Under the Redwoods July 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

Or it is possible that, as happened to someone I know, her good for nothing husband cleared out the bank acounts and left town. Leaving her with no job and two small kids to feed. Food stamps kept them going till they could 1) track him down and get some child support and 2) let her finish her training to be a nurse.

You can really never tell what the story is by outward appearances.


Jess July 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Yeah, this. I put my iPod away before I buy my groceries using my SNAP benefits: The iPod was a gift, years before grad school, and selling it wouldn’t really make a drop in the expenses bucket now, but I still feel guilty for showing that “wealth” when using my benefits. (On a similar note, my clothing is from Goodwill but is often brand name. Judge me?) But you’re right: the viewer can’t know someone’s situation from outward glances.


Barb July 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Ill belatedly second the appearances mode when it comes to food stamps. when my husband left, I was a working girl with nice wardrobe and a nice wardrobe for my kid. I had a good looking car that was paid for and couldnt get half the value by selling it. So yes, I was the single mom wearing designer clothing and nice jewelry in a well made european car shopping with food stamps, since my husband left, took the money, and left me with no child support (all while I was a stay at home, mind).

Actually I live on a pension and own designer handbags now……bought at thrift stores for a couple bucks each,


Practical Parsimony July 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

After debilitating injuries, I signed up for food stamps and got $200/month. When I took ss early, I still got the same. After I got a disability income+ss=$694/month, I was reduced to $51/month in fs. That was a blow and a shock! However, I eat nutritious food with the occassional junk food. I do buy Diet Cokes Caffeine Free and drink less because I should, not because I cannot afford them. I love decaffeinated tea, plain, no sugar. I also drink lots of water.

I made the remark that looking in others’ carts while waiting in line with nothing to do gave me a chance to imagine their lives, with no judgment intended. I was trounced for that statement. There was no judgment at all, just “oh, he must be single with all the microwaved dinner.” “oh, he has a new baby at home” because he had tiny diapers and formula.”….Harmless mind games.

However, I am horrified when I see fs recipients with hundred of dollars of junk food and several carts. I think they shortchange themselves and their children’s futures by not taking this money on the card and not buying the best. I commented to a cashier and she said they buy that way all the time. Sure, I don’t know if they actually buy produce or not.

Another time, I remarked to a cashier when I was buying sale food with coupons and then using the fs card that I looked upon the purchases as my chance to make the best choices and get nutritious food by using every means I had–sales, coupons, less expensive items, fruits and vegetables. She said there was another woman with a master’s degree who said she felt the same way. I never thought I just had money to spend with no expectations from me, money to buy junk. I felt responsible, but that is just me.


Erin July 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I judge. It may not be Christian, but I do, and I judge people’s teeth, too. So there.

But I can’t say I really notice what means people are using to pay for their food unless they are slow. And I take exception with some of the comments about how people could save money – almost all of those suggestions involve investing much more time. The truth is that many people receiving food assistance work at least one full time job, and time is not always on their side when it comes to things like making pizza from scratch.

Let’s put the onus where it belongs – Instead of judging poor families, why can’t we get our tax dollars to subsidize things that will really make a difference, like healthy food, health care, and Postsecondary education, rather than big business, big agriculture, and foreign wars?


Practical Parsimony July 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Erin, you are oh, so right!


Ann July 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Wow! As the author of the original post in question, I remember Katy’s reaction and the other readers reactions very well. I learned a couple of things that day, I will tell you! One, I learned to temper my comments so that I don’t sound so, well, snotty. And I learned not to judge someone else’s food basket…you never know what is going on in someone’s life.

I have commented on other posts since last year…Katy has been kind enough not to block me!! LOL.

Congratulations on revisiting the Food Stamp Challenge. I wish you all great success!!!


Alice July 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Huh – I really never thought that there was this much judgment going on at the grocery store! I can sometimes have the ‘oh, are they going to a party? Having a romatic night in?’ response to seeing what people are buying, but it’s curiosity born from boredom, and there’s not a lot of emotional investment in it. I’m curious – is the same kind of judgment there when you’re shopping at someplace like Home Depot, or is it connected to food specifically?
Katy, I also wanted to say thanks for reiterating that nutritious eating isn’t something that you can always tell from someone’s weight. It’s a message that can get lost when we talk about nutrition, so I always appreciate it when someone brings it up!


Kristin July 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm

The only time I judge someone on food stamps is when I see them buying really expensive things. I was actually in the grocery store a few years ago, scrimping and saving with all my coupons and generic products, buying the cheapest cuts of meat I could find since money was really tight for us. In front of me was a man who was buying lobster tails and filet with a food stamps card. I looked at my cart and just shook my head. My entire cart full of groceries cost what his two items cost. We were struggling to get by (I was sick at the time) and my tax dollars were buying him food I could not afford. Those are the food stamp stories that annoy me to no end.


Katy July 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

You never know if that person had eaten nothing but lentils and rice all month in order to afford the lobster and steak for a special evening, (proposal of marriage?)



j July 8, 2011 at 12:00 am


Really??? most likely not….


Annie Jones July 8, 2011 at 6:01 am

Why not?

People on food stamps have special occasions in their lives, too.

At this point in my life, I can afford lobster and steak, but I certainly don’t eat it (and don’t want it) on a routine basis. It’s “special occasion” food.


Elizabeth July 8, 2011 at 5:51 am

No. As someone who worked in a grocery store, this happens often. There was a store near us that stopped taking food stamps all together because the owner was so disgusted with the number of people coming in to buy expensive steaks with it. And I had a customer once who bought all expensive meats (about $200 worth) and then complained that he had used the whole month’s budget on one weeks worth of groceries! O.O Maybe he eats steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?


Rebecca July 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

I can honestly say that after the birth of our second child, less than a year from the first one’s birth, my husb was finishing college and we were living off his school loans, we recieved almost $500 a month for food with SNAP. WIC gave us formula for our son, and we had so much money every month that I could afford to buy organics, and at the end of the month if we had money left over, I would splurge and get steaks, soda, chips and even ice cream. We couldn’t afford to go out to eat, ever, so I don’t think frozen pizza, chips and ice cream once a month is so horrible since we ate very ballanced the rest of the time. And yes, I enjoyed those steaks. I had more than I needed for food, but could barely scrape up enough pennies to buy toilet paper and dish soap.


Barb July 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

And this is why what little extreme couponing I do is for paper products and personal items rather than food for the pantry

Lynda July 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I manage a Farmers Market and a Community Garden. Today I recieved my packet from the USDA approving me to accept SNAP (food stamps). The one thing I have learned from both the Market and the Garden is most people do not know how to cook. I believe that is why we see so much *junk* in grocery carts. At the Market and the Garden I’m always being asked how to *fix* the produce being offered. I think part of the SNAP/WIC program should be cooking classes and canning classes…I’d also LOVE to see every community have a commercial kitchen available to the public.


Blackgirlinmaine July 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I work with low income families and I would add that many low income folks do not have proper cooking facilities or tools to cook with. Yes, it is easy to make pancakes from scratch but if you have no griddle, measuring cups, storage containers or physical space to put the items in, then ready made stuff is easier. Just wanted to add that.


Katy July 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thank you for pointing this out.



Jenny July 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Our farmer’s market takes SNAP for the first time this year–you swipe your card and buy $10 or $20 market coins. Not a perfect system, but definitely a step in the right direction.


HeatherS July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Shopping with two kids in tow doesn’t leave me much time to pay attention to what others have in their carts but I am sure I have noticed in the past and I am sure I have judged. I shop several stores and grow alot of my own veggies so if someone saw what I buy at each store, I am sure it looks weird sometimes. Tonight I only bought two bottles of wine (it’s our anniversary this weekend!) and some diaper cream. I can only imagine what some people were thinking!!


Katy July 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm




HeatherS July 11, 2011 at 9:23 am

It does sound that way doesn’t it! LOL Really the diaper cream was for my daughter, but the wine was all for us!


Jinger July 8, 2011 at 4:20 am

In life, it is our choice to may our own way however we want…. being the best person we can be….but judging others is really not a healthy attribute. Every day the universe reminds me not to make assumptions about people. Everyone has a story that we will never know.


Trish July 8, 2011 at 5:14 am

that does seem to be the case that many people don’t know how to cook, especially from scratch. For several years at my walmart a huge box of locally grown winter squash would appear in September. The price would eventually drop to about 40 cents per pound, and I would stock up. I had several people ask me what I did with them. I became quite preachy, extolling the virtues of winter squash, mainly because i was afraid that if people didn’t buy them walmart wouldn’t carry them anymore. And they don’t.

Last year walmart had a big box of hubbard squash and lots of prettily colored acorn squash. Most people thought they were ornamental.


Mary July 8, 2011 at 6:55 am

maybe you could buy your winter squash from the farmer’s market and help support local foods (I’m kind of preachy about that) 🙂
It’s so easy to judge but like many people have pointed out we don’t know the whole story. But it’s interesting to think about while you’re standing in line – what else is there to do besides read the magazine headlines?
Interesting discussion Katy! Thanks


Carla July 9, 2011 at 5:28 am

Not everyone has access to Farmers’ Markets. I know those of you in the cities assume we all do, but here in the sticks such markets are very small and a bit erratic. Much as I hate it, you just have to shop grocery stores.


Trish July 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm

That’s right, no farmer’s markets nearby. and I live in the country. I try to grow them myself, but often have a crop failure due to insects. believe me I love supporting local foods. The fact that the squash sold at wal-mart was local, from about an hour away, was a great bonus.


Elizabeth July 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

This may be a totally horrible thing to say, but I wouldn’t judge you now when you are doing this as a challenge…but if you were really on food stamps I might judge your purchases (not on ham though! or even one bag of chips) but it’s the people who use their food stamps and most of the order is chips, sodas, and lobster/steak. Food stamp money is supposed to help take care of people who don’t have the money to feed themselves – they should be getting real food with it! My husband and I are college students, and we get by, so we haven’t tried to qualify for food stamps (although we certainly would) – and in keeping on budget we have to do without certain “luxury” items – We don’t have room in our budget for expensive meats/seafood, or soda (which I only buy for DH at the drugstore with my saved up UPs/EBs when it is on sale), or ten bags of chips a week. I feel like the point of food stamps is to help provide nutritious foods for struggling families – not saying they shouldn’t be able to buy one 2L and a bag of chips along with all their other normal groceries – but as someone who used to cashier that isn’t what you see.


Kaitlynn July 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I understand completely what you’re saying! I’m a cashier and I’ve seen all kinds of carts come through my line. I’ve had someone buy close to 50 dollars on just pop with their food stamps. It’s ridiculous that thinks like pop, candy, or any energy drinks are allowed to be purchased with food stamps… I actually get food stamps (a whole $155 for 3 people) but I can honestly say that if I ever feel the need to buy candy or something unhealthy I pay with cash. I feel like if money is going to be wasted on that it should be my own not someone else’. I rarely buy things that you just microwave, but I also know I can’t afford things like steak or lobster. I aim for healthy yet affordable, but sometimes I can’t get both of those things in every item I just hope it all evens out in the cart…


Susan July 8, 2011 at 5:51 am

I only have one problem with people who use FS. I know people who are on FS and they will use a small portion to buy groceries and then sale the balance to other people for cash money. EX: people will buy $100 in food stamps for $50. They will use that for whatever and then at the middle of the month they complain they are not getting enough in FS to feed their families. Go figure.


Shelley July 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

Of course I judge other people’s choices. I’m constantly amazed at what other people buy at the grocery store. I judge my own choices, too. We don’t have food stamps here in Britain, and I’ve yet to work out who is ‘on benefit’ and who isn’t at the supermarket. I suppose I look at really large people and wonder at their choices instead. Then again, I look at foods place on the treadmill in front or behind me by whether I think they are healthy and by whether I think they are frugal. The secret to winning that competition? Buy all your junk food somewhere else! (Just kidding).


Rebecca R. July 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Many times, you have to remember, too, people don’t have the necessary cookware for cooking, or knowledge on how to cook things from scratch. Yes, I know they could go to thrift stores for utensils, pans, cookbooks, etc., but many times people don’t even have the money for that–and if they “mess up” a meal with practicing, they don’t have the money to go out and buy more food. Some people just don’t have any talent for cooking, either, no matter how hard they try. Others work at manual labor jobs and don’t have the time or energy to cook when they get home with their 3 kids. A lot of times, I think middle class people “don’t get” the culture of poor people, b/c they never truly have been there themselves, so they are more likely to judge. That being said, just like alcohol, I don’t think that soda pop should be allowed with food stamps, b/c it has absolutely no nutritional value—nothing like chocolate, of course!!:)


Rebecca R. July 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I forgot to add, that I think our schools should make “home economics”, “domestic engineering”, or whatever you want to call it, a mandatory class all year long from 6th grade on up. Everyone will be living and contributing (I hope) to a home when they get out of school, and should all be learning basic sewing, cooking, finances/budgeting, home repairing, frugal purchasing, etc.–b/c kid definitely aren’t learning it at home. I think this would help everyone to make better choices in their lives, by showing all the different option out there.


CC July 9, 2011 at 3:43 am

Never really notice or care what or how someone buys groceries. What does get my attention while in line is rudeness. People on the phone ignoring the cashier. They are not robots is what I always think, put there to serve you. But then again I don’t have a cell so who am I to judge.

And the rude people who get so upset when a price is wrong or they can’t use a certain coupon. They tend to get loud when not getting their way.

These two points are what makes me very aware of how not to act so I try to make my trip pleasant and the person helping me also.


Sass July 9, 2011 at 4:44 am

It is very interesting to read all of these comments. I think a lot of us tend to judge, whether or not we do so intentionally, it is human nature. I think it can be disheartening to struggle with food budgets and never get those steaks or tenderloins while fs recipients are often eating much better (or at least that can be the perception) and all because those that are working are paying for it.

I actually had one of those “Oh crap, I’m the world’s worst mom” moments a few weeks back as I was standing in the check out line. Oh, well….. http://gettingusthere.blogspot.com/2011/06/worst-mother-ever.html


Carla July 9, 2011 at 5:41 am

One thing to remember is that we humans need a certain number of calories to get by. Junk food calories are less expensive than real food calories. For the person who doesn’t understand nutrition but who is trying to fill calorie needs on a small budget, that junk food is very attractive. And the junk food is deliberately manufactured to trick our bodies and taste buds into believing we’re getting something special. We already have inborn preferences for sweets, fats and salts. All these buttons are pushed in the junk food aisles. Alas for fruits and vegetables! In the minds of those addicted to junk foods, they stand no chance.


Lizzie July 9, 2011 at 6:33 am

I think judgment is frequently a case of congratulating ourselves for what we’re doing right. They’re getting it wrong, but I’m getting it right. Even when we think “maybe they’ll do it right later”, we’re still attached to the idea that WE think is right.

Here’s what I mean: We can convince ourselves that it is generous or forgiving to think “Maybe she ate a healthy dinner so it’s okay she’s eating junk food now” — but it’s not actually a generous line of thinking. You are presuming you have the right answer about what I should be eating, and if I’m not doing it now, you’re hoping I’ll get it right later. You’re not just judging me for what I’m actually doing, but you’re judging me for what you imagine I’ll do later. That is, imagining I’m eating something better later and judging that as “okay” is still judging.


Lizzie July 9, 2011 at 6:35 am

PS: Thank you, Katy, for addressing the issue of judgment and opening this discussion. We all do it to some degree, even if we feel forgiving towards those we judge.


Amanda July 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm

It’s quite amusing to look at people’s comments here on other person’s grocery bills. IT”S NOT YOUR BILL, GET OVER IT. Whether people are paying with cash or SNAP benefits is none of your business. What people choose to eat themselves and their families is, you guessed it, none if your business. I may purchase a few Kid Cuisine’s when they are on sale so I can stock them up a little for those night’s when I am dog tired and need to feed my kids. Although the rest of the week they are eating plenty of veggies, fruits, and proteins. Many people shop at numerous stores to get the best deals. So at one store you may see my stocking up on “processed” food, while at the next my cart is full of produce because they were having an awesome sale. Also something else to keep in mind is that many farmer’s markets and health food stores do not accept SNAP benefits. SO I may spend my cash there and put my SNAP benefits to use elsewhere.
Lastly, I can’t believe the amount of comments I have seen regarding race on this post. It’s 2011 people, get over your judgmental, racist views. There are people who are afraid to get SNAP benefits for fear of being judged by many of the people posting here. Must be nice to be able to have anything and everything you want and be able to judge those who may not be so fortunate.


Amanda July 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm

And for the comment about those who work paying for SNAP benefits, I do work and am still eligible for benefits. So I pay taxes just like you. I hope you that if any of you ever have to be in the position to accept state help will be humbled by it and quit being so judgmental.


Jess July 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I’m on food stamps, and I used to feel guilty every time I buy something that’s not a staple. I’m in full-time grad school–in teaching, so I’m going to give back to the community–and pay taxes, so why should I feel guilty for using a safety net that’s here for a reason, for people like me?

I read Nickled and Dimed years ago and it made an impact even when I was eighteen and naive. (She has Portland roots, by the way; she’s a Reedie.) Of course if you don’t have basic cooking skills, tools or storage abilities, you don’t have the luxury of cooking from scratch all the time. I love that I can use my SNAP benefits at the farmer’s market, because fresh produce is often way cheaper there than at the grocery store. But it does go bad quickly, and frankly, I work 60 hour weeks (including classes), so my delicious kale isn’t necessarily going to make it until the weekend. I don’t have the tools to can goods, and there’s limited room in my freezer. When I started grad school I was aghast to realize how readily I turned towards the pre-made goods. I have fifteen minutes for lunch as a teacher, and have very little energy when I get home. I’m just lucky to have a stove, pantry space and math skills and interest to cook. If I was missing any one of those I would get premade way more often.


Kaitlynn July 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I’m a cashier and I would have to say that I judge people a LOT on what they buy… But honestly it’s not just what they buy it’s how they buy it. If someone is buying nothing but junk food on food stamps and then using their own money to buy alcohol after the fact then yes, I get annoyed. If they’re buying it all with their hard earned money then it doesn’t really bother me. I know it’s probably mean, but there are people that need things like food stamps yet don’t qualify for some reason and don’t get help. So while they go without there are people that are abusing it to buy cases and cases of pop, or asking with energy drinks they can buy with EBT so they can save that $20 to buy some beer. And I know not everyone that has food stamps is like that, I also see a lot of people buying healthy food for their family and I’m glad they have the means to do that.


Linda July 13, 2011 at 5:25 am

As much as I hate to admit it. I judge. It is the one thing I am trying to overcome. I know people judge me by what’s in my cart and the size that I am. It’s not right but we do it.

I really wish the government would give families on food stamps a cooking class. Many “convenience” foods are not a convenience at all. If people realized they could make a good meal in as little as 20 minutes, I think that would be a help to everyone.

I agree that every school should have home economics classes each year. Kids get out of school knowing how to read, write and do math but they do not know how to cook, clean, balance a checkbook, sew a button, live within their means, etc. This should be the job of their parents but when their parents don’t know how, where do they learn it?


Anonymous-L July 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I’m always paranoid that people will think I’m being wasteful by using food stamps on high quality food (grassfed meat, raw milk, etc.)–because I probably couldn’t afford it were I not on food stamps (and making enough money to afford ANY food, which at this point, I am not).

I’ve actually read people criticizing the use of food stamps on good food, so it feels like you’re damned if you buy quality and damned if you buy crap. Using an EBT card definitely makes me hyper-aware of what’s in my basket and what others might think, though.


harriet July 14, 2011 at 6:32 am

As my dad always says, “Mind your own plate.” You don’t know other people’s circumstances, so shut yer pie holes. I have chronic fatigue syndrome, so I often don’t cook from scratch if my husband is away on business. I’m tired, stressed, worn out and sick at the end of the workday, so I might just feed my kids a frozen pizza for dinner. If you don’t like it, then you are at perfect liberty to come to my house and make a pizza from scratch.

No, I’m not on food stamps; in fact we’re fairly well off. I’m just addressing the subject of peple being unable to mind their own damn business about the food choices other people make.


Cate @ Liberal Simplicity July 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I’m usually the stereotypical lady in the grocery store with the cart piled high with healthy foods (though sometimes it looks a little random since we do our shopping at several stores). But I’m pregnant, and have very severe morning sickness, which often leaves me unable to cook dinner. My husband is already exhausted from caring for our toddler, so I don’t expect him to cook a fancy meal at the end of the day. I felt well enough to go grocery shopping this afternoon and was amused by the contents of our grocery cart: boxed macaroni and cheese, a frozen pizza, a Zatarain’s mix, and then some actual ingredients. It occurred to me that nobody else in the checkout line had any idea what circumstances we were dealing with at home, and therefore I have no idea what circumstances other people are facing, either.


Lisa July 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

While I don’t tend to notice if someone is using foodstamps I do tend pick the strangest cart assortment when waiting in line. Yesterday it was the people with $300 worth of meat and a bottle of mustard and that is all. I just imagined an enormous barbeque and the passing of the mustard bottle.

While reading this post I find myself judging the folks who shop at walmart. A company that makes billions and pays their workers such a low rate that they can get foodstamps. I would rather shop more creatively and not support such a company. But then again i know that some people have no choice, Walmart has driven out all other options.


Mrs. Zirbel July 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I must say, I have been on food stamps for awhile now but I have always worked the entire time I have been on them. Even when I work overtime at my job, I still do not make enough money to be considered above the poverty level. Now my husband cannot work at all, hasn’t been able to in three years due to chronic back pain and various other medical problems. There aren’t many jobs in this town, and I am slowly yet surely getting my AA degree so that I can move forward and get my Bachelor’s degree, so I am stuck working full time and going to school full time so that I can better myself and still have enough money to buy diapers for my kids. Yes, I do get a Pell grant for going to school, but I use that money to buy stuff for my education (the year before last I had to get a laptop because my work schedule did not allow me to go to the school and do my online coursework, I have bought a printer for assignments, notebooks, and other school supplies). People who have never been poor are quick to judge those who get assistance. Just think about it this way, if you were working full time, going to school full time, and your husband had been lying in pain all day and could not even move from the bed, would you feel like coming home and cooking a full meal? I will admit that yes, I have bought junk food with my food stamps but what business is it of anyone elses? If I made a decent living I would still buy all the things I buy now. I do cook for my kids from scratch, especially if I have a day off. They actually prefer fresh fruits and vegetables to junk, and I do not allow them to eat candy or chips or anything like that at all. The last time they had chocolate was a month ago, and it was probably the first time they had eaten any in over a year. I buy organic when it is available, but the only two stores we have are Walmart and Price Chopper so thats not always an option. I refuse to buy from our Price Chopper because it is one of the most poorly kept stores I have seen, I have seen others in different towns that are much better quality but ours is just gross, so that leaves me with Walmart. Of course, Walmart is flooded with foods that are horrible for you, the healthy choices are few and far between and often hidden amongst the junk food. Our Farmers market is a joke, last year they had nothing but potatoes, apples, and tomatoes. No joke. I was given vouchers by the WIC office that I could only use at the farmers market, so I went and found out that was their only choices. The lady at the market was very rude, and couldn’t understand why no one was coming to pay cash for her goods. I simply thought to myself that maybe if she had something else available for purchase, maybe more people would have bought items from her. I have been working really hard to get completely off of assistance, and every time I get ahead something happens to prevent me from looking at the smug lady at the DHS office and telling her I no longer need their help. I hate being on assistance, but if its the only way to feed my kids, they are more important than worrying about what other people think. They eat three meals a day, and two snacks in between, just like they are supposed to. They don’t eat junk food. I am very picky about what they eat. I’m just saying, its not okay to judge people unless you know their situation.


Dia July 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I want to first piont out that some of you are the reason that companies have put up the machine that scans the cards, so that people can be private about there own matters. If you notice that they are paying with food stamps then you must be really NOSEY.

I will say that my family is on food stamps. There has been alot of times that we couldnt buy gas to get to work but we were able to eat. My husband works his booty off to provide for a family of 8 and he pays taxes just like everyone else. So yes sir, if we need help I am going to ask for it.

We dont always eat so healthy. I do buy popcorn, cereal, hamburger helper, and chips for my family but I also buy green beans, fruit, chicken, and V8 juices. But see I dont jump use food stamps, I shop sales and coupon every week. I buy 10 papers at a time and when somthing goes on sale, I use my coupons to get that item for close to nothing and then pay with food stamps. For example, my local store has V8 juices buy one get one at 2.99 a bottle for the large bottles. I then use a $1 off 2 store coupons on top of a manufactures coupon for 1 off 2, so that give me 2 large bottles of v8 juices for .99 cents for both. so if you shop at walmart and buy v8 for 3. a bottle, i just got it for .49 cents a bottle. I figured out that I can shop like this and buy all name brand things for way cheaper than anyone can buy the cheap brands for.

I have been able to put my large family on a budget of 75 dollars a weeks for groceries. Since I have gotten my budget down so low and are still able to eat just like the next person, then I have decided to remove us from food stamps. I will never pay full price for something again and I am very proud of that.

Another thing I wanted to say was why is anyone mad that people get food stamps and then buy chips with it or pizzas. I mean for god sakes, dont yall like pizza and chips to. If you dont then you must not be an american. You cant tell me that you dont buy boxed potatoes or pringles so why cat the person on food stamps. Yes,food stamps are there to help a person wit food purchasing butwhy is it that because they are in with the government that the government actually has to monitor their eating habits. I just think thats rediculus that someone wants to actually say, “why do people on food stamps get to buy chips with them?” ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!! You are an idiot.

You probably work your job, DRIVE home, sit on the COUCH to watch TV, EAT your store brand beans, and them sleep in a NICE comfortable BED. When we have to Hitch rides to work, HITCH a ride back home, sit atthe dinner table and conversate til dinner gets done, eat a good home cooked meal, and then go to bed on a SPRING MATTRESS with no box spring, no head board or frame, with two of my kids sleeping with us because we cant afford beds for everyone.

With that being said, you probably trade your food habits with having tv or a car payment. You want to eat better, then learn how to coupon and cut the tv off. By the way, people that are on food stamps and only have a limited amount they can se, usually buy the unhealthy, boxed stuff because it is cheaper than buying the healthy stuff. next time you go in your walmart, check out the prices.

To the other people of this blog, Walmart is not the place to save money. Wher am from walmart has gain detergent for the amll box at 10. dollars a box, when at Winndixie the same box is 7. dollars. The only reason people shop walmart is because its conveinent. It will not save you money. Everything there is made in china and all the small bussiness r being shut down because of walmart. Why not support our Own USA and start buyig at Andersons, Winndixie, Publix, food giants,etc.

I have to say this before going, If you are judging somone else for what they EAT and with what they pay for it with, then you probably need to find god because e is the only one who has the right to judge anyone. You may also want to look in the mirror and snikker your nose up at your self because you are the one i would be embarrassed of for the way you think and feel. Its SICKENING knowing there are people out there like you.


Omgeee August 2, 2011 at 6:53 am

I have to reply to Dia! Amen!

I pray that these people are NEVER put in our situations. There are many situations out there to be in, ours is just a few of the stories. I also went from driving a new car to a junk car with no air and I live in Florida. I was set for life when I had my companies and my husband. Never thought I’d be thrown a life curve like this.

I don’t get my hair done, my nails or facials. My pampering is all done by myself now. I don’t have a boyfriend/significant other, because after being married 20 years, I am trying to find out who I am and don’t need a complicated relationship. If I ever get back into a relationship it will be for the right reasons, not so I can have someone else help support me and my children.

I have lost a lot, but I have so much more to be thankful for. I really hope you people that judge grocery carts- rethink your judgmental attitudes and try to live your own life rather than look down your noses at people who are having hardships- you don’t know me- you don’t know them and surely if you did, you wouldn’t be so judgmental of others.

You can only do what you can with what you have to work with at the time. I can say that my “negative” cash flow has showed me the different side of life and it’s not better or worse than what I lived before, just different. It did make me open my eyes and realize that anyone could end up like me. One second can change your life forever in ways you may never realize. So, please don’t judge.


Omgeee August 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

I can’t believe how many people judge other people’s shopping carts!! Seriously?? I am a bit overweight- medical conditions/medication have made me retain water and gain weight. My family however, is not overweight. My daughter is normal size and my son has a medical condition that makes him underweight- I have to buy him really high caloric foods, not junk food, but I have to add cheese, mayonaise, sour creams, etc to his food. I buy most of my fresh veggies and fruit at the produce stand, because in reality it tastes better than the crap the grocery store has. I am on food assistance. I once owned my own company and made great money. My husband of 20 years left me one day out of the blue, after I had lost my company, became ill and was depressed. I had no help and went without assistance for over a year, until everything of value I had, I sold to pay for bills, groceries, etc. Now I find myself in a position where I have to accept assistance. It’s not something I am proud of. Now to hear of how many people “JUDGE” my grocery cart, you people should be embarrassed for yourselves. Honestly, I have run to the grocery store just to buy snack for my kids, crackers, cookies (yes, they do get cookies) and even frozen pancakes. I am not the best cook and when it’s time to get the kids going for school in the am, frozen pancakes are so much easier than screwing up homemade ones (yes, I have tried many times to make them from scratch). My kids attend a private school, both on scholarships. They don’t provide lunches, so I have to pack lunch for my children. Most days it includes fresh fruit, veggies , sandwich, juice or water and a sugar snack.

Now, my daughter will only eat some fresh fruit and veggies- apples and carrots, she won’t eat any other fresh veggie/fruit. Not even the kind in the prepackaged containers- I was sick of seeing food thrown away because she wouldn’t eat what I packed. My son the one underweight- will eat all kinds of fruits and veggies fresh- he loves asparagus, broccoli, squash of all kinds, salad in general.

Oh and on my kids birthdays, I did buy them a cake for school. The school won’t allow homemade cake! So, please go ahead and judge me. I receive 200.00/month in food assistance. For a family of 3 it does not go far. So, I do buy my own groceries as well and pay an additional 4oo.00/500.00 a month with my own money.

As for frozen foods, yes I buy them too for the emergency dinner in a bind. They also last longer. I may buy just frozen dinners one day and two days later go back to the store for more real meat, etc.

I believe everyone shops differently. It has nothing to do with color or with education ( I have several licenses and college under my belt as well) I think it’s all personal choice and past experiences that drive us to our selective purchases at the grocery store.

Did I mention that I am a horrible cook? Yeah, so sometimes that starchy mac and cheese really comes in handy. I can’t cook rice unless it’s instant to save my life. I was blessed in many ways, but cooking was not one of them.

Next time you see me or someone like me at the grocery store, count your blessings instead of judging us. You may one day be in the same position without the luxury of judging others.

You don’t know how anyone lives until you walk a mile in their shoes and still you won’t know unless you lived their life!


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