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Never Too Poor for Beer

July 31, 2010

I worked my mother’s shift at a convenient store tonight in my small, red-neck home-town. First, I would like to stress how exhausted I am! I don’t know how she stands on her feet for eight hours, five days a week. My back is killing me and my feet ache. Okay, I’m finished complaining, well, almost. My next complaint is in regards to the customers, their economic status, and their purchases.

Times are tough, right? Jobs are scarce. Thank goodness the unemployment benefits were recently extended. That must have been good news for a lot of the people in the community I worked in tonight. The majority of these customers do not work, perhaps because of the tough times or perhaps because it has become a way of life for them. It’s sad really. They receive disability checks, welfare checks, food stamps, and any other government assistance available to them. They struggle to make ends meet. They struggle to put food on their table. But open up their refrigerator and guess what you will find? Beer! Somehow and someway, they always have enough cash for beer. After all, that is a priority, right? As long as they have their beer, life is good.

The average cost for a 12 pack of beer is $7.39 plus tax. How many bags of beans could one purchase for this amount of money? How much flour, corn mill or oats could $7.39 buy? How many eggs? I could really go on and on but I’m sure you get the point. I see them bring their bare-footed and unclean children into the store with them for such purchases. I hear the children begging for some candy or gum or a twenty-five cent toy out of the toy machine. Then I hear their parents tell them “No! Put that back! We don’t have the money!” All the while the parent is counting out enough change to pay for their beer purchase.

It’s a cycle. Their children will learn that beer is a priority. They will learn how to manipulate the system in order to receive government benefits and never have to actually earn a living. It’s wrong. It’s sad. It’s real. And it happens every day. They are never too poor to buy their beer.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2010 5:36 am

    Sad, huh? It’s not just the beer. How about those cartons of cigarettes!!! The addictions take priority. The kids come last, and sometimes, not at all. There’s something wrong with this picture since the benefits used to purchase these things are paid for with our tax dollars. Old story – no solution. In order not to get angry, I try to look away on occasion, but that’s not possible because it affects us all.

  2. August 1, 2010 12:14 pm

    It’s sad and frustrating as well, because you need to educate to break the cycle and that is not getting done. So this whole thing just self perpetuates. People need to know there is a better way and that the posssibility to change their lives is an actual option. Because a lot of them really don’t know or really have no hope left. But then there are the others who really don’t care…I don’t know how to fix it and I hate to see it. It must have been a really long night!

  3. August 1, 2010 1:28 pm

    Fixing it is by educating, as you said. The only thing is…who will teach???

  4. August 1, 2010 4:35 pm

    Great post. Addiction has a way of making the addict’s life narrow down into getting and using more…usually these are good people who don’t have the tools to change.

    • August 1, 2010 7:17 pm

      Scratch tickets, beer, wine, cigarettes and chips…. While they obtain other handouts for formula, diapers, baby food and day care… PUT THAT BACK- to the toddler with an icecream cone. CAN’T AFFORD THAT – to the teen with the powerade….. And do not forget cable and cell phones!

    • August 1, 2010 10:02 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

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