I am liberal. I am a Liberal, capital L, both because it’s grammatically correct and because I’m a big one. I vote Democrat. I believe in health care reform, clean air, and public aid. I’m not an atheist because I’m afraid of what will happen if I get religion, but because I believe in being good even when there’s no god to punish me if I don’t. I give to charity. I want to be decent. I want to be kind. I want to be fair.
With that in mind, I never should have gone to Food Land.
I never go there. Food Land is closer (by a fraction, but still) to my house than is Schnuck’s, and I still go to Schnuck’s every single time. Why? I don’t know. Probably why I choose Schnuck’s over Shop N’ Save and Aldi’s, too. I don’t want to pluck foodstuffs from ripped-open cardboard boxes. I don’t want the store to smell like other people’s dirty hair. I’d rather pay just a little bit more for intact ceiling tiles, non-bodily fluid-looking spills, and customers that have been employed sometime in the last 12-15 years.
See? Now I’m an asshole. I’m an asshole because I was planning to go to Schnuck’s tonight. I was first going to go to Lowe’s because my bathroom fuse blew again and I needed a new one, and it’s right next to Schnuck’s, and I needed hot dog buns and eggs. Might as well. What I didn’t consider was that 2 inches of snow are predicted tonight, meaning that everyone in St. Louis is busy re-stocking their bomb shelter by going grocery shopping. After waiting on the 55 off-ramp for several minutes, I decided I would rather drink some wine and deal with a dark bathroom.
Food Land was on the way home. What the hell, I thought. It used to be a National (now-bankrupt store a step below Schnuck’s but not as bad as Shop N’ Save). It never looks busy. Just two things. I’ll be out in a second.
Seeing two open checkout lanes, I used my spectacular talent to choose the slowest one. The woman in front of me had a cart overflowing with meat, cookies, and Velveeta. Like, that was all, and it was overflowing. The only thing close to a fruit or vegetable in the entire selection was a can of cranberry sauce, which she later asked to exchange because she doesn’t like the kind with fruit in it. (“I be wantin’ that Jello kind,” she said. I swear.)
After the cashier scanned the hamburger, steaks, multiple bags of frozen chicken parts, processed imitation cheese product, packaged desserts, and Vienna sausages, the customer paid with her EBT card. God. Of course. This is where me being an asshole comes in, because although I firmly believe in the purpose of EBT, seeing someone use it to purchase an overflowing cartload of stuff I don’t buy because it’s too expensive (and unhealthy, christ, lady, what about your arteries?) really pisses me off.
AND THEN. The cashier told her that seven something dollars of her groceries were cash. That is, not covered by EBT. The customer gave the cashier the side eye and went through every single bag, every single item, and asked for the price of every. Single. Thing. I AM STANDING THERE WITH HOT DOG BUNS AND EGGS. I waited thirteen whole minutes (I checked) for this shit and THEN, the woman understands that the government can’t pay for everything, so she pays for the rest with her unemployment debit card.
Come ON. I was on unemployment for 7 whole months and I still think this is stupid. Prior to being unemployed, I’d also been working full time since I was 15. I wasn’t thrilled about getting benefits but I thought I was due. I never applied for EBT. I never bought a cart full of steaks and other overpriced items just because the government was picking up the tab. I never held up anyone else with my demands that someone had to pay for my shit, because I sure as hell shouldn’t be expected to do it.
Wine. I need wine. It’s the only thing that can cheer me up right now. Also these teeny tiny potatoes, which I did not get at Food Land.
Look at this one next to my thumb!