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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Minnesota EBT Card

My wife and kids were out of town this weekend, and I had need of a proper bachelor meal (high quality ribeye, huge baked potato, sauteed onions and mushrooms, all washed down with a nice red), which is why I found myself at a local grocery store. As I was standing in line perusing the headlines from the rags, I found myself wondering what was taking the fellow in front of me so long, so I started paying attention.

He was attempting to use a strange looking credit/debit card, and the machine wasn't taking it. I noticed the card had "
Minnesota EBT" on it, and I thought that it might be high tech food stamps. It turned out I was correct. EBT stands for "Electronic Benefits Transfer".

The cashier ended up having to call a manager to get the situation straightened out, and I had more time to assess the situation. First, the shopper. Tall guy, clearly well fed, nice long black leather coat, nice shoes, flip-type cellular phone, on which he was chatting away during the whole transaction. Next, his purchases. Let's just say this guy is not a healthy eater. There were 3 cases of pop, a bunch of candy and snack chips, a few frozen pizzas, a bunch of ground beef, and a number of other miscellaneous items.

It was the pop that first made me wonder. I guess I was surprised that you can buy brand name pop on food stamps, and it got me thinking. After the manager came and took care of the problem, he checked out, bagged up and left.

After I got done, I walked up to the manager's desk and asked "Can one buy pop on food stamps?" She looked to make sure that the fellow had left and said "Yep. It's really sad. You can get cash on that card, and you can buy anything in the store we sell - toys, movies, cigarettes - anything. You should be lucky you don't work here and have to see the things that people buy with food stamps. It's really disgusting". I thanked her for the info and left.

Perhaps I've got the intent all wrong, but I was under the impression that food stamps were for people who needed government help to keep from staving or being malnourished. If this guy was typical, we're really getting ripped off, and it's high time we did something about it. I recall hearing about attempts at this in the past, even the recent past, but this is the first time I've see the travesty with my own eyes. I've got calls into my State Representatives - I'll post what I find out.