Thoughts on THAT Food Stamp Video

May 12, 2016 | 0 comments

Have you seen THAT video yet? It’s been circulating for about a month and ever since I watched it I’ve been wanting to say something about it. I tend to hold my tongue (for the most part) but lately I’ve just reached a point where I can’t do that anymore. Y’all, I’m tired. 

  • I’m tired of people being so self-righteous and full of pride.
  • I’m tired of people being so rude, condescending, and hateful.
  • I’m tired of people feeling like it’s ok to verbally assault someone in front of children for trying to provide for their family.

This woman, identified as Caroline Johnson, is so far out of line and it hurts my heart. If you haven’t seen the video, go ahead and watch it. Then, scroll down, because I have a lot to say about it.

Before I even begin to address the video I want to share a few really important statistics so that I can try to squash any of that negative “people playing the system and being dependent on the government” talk.

1 – SNAP participation averaged 44,705,445 persons in January 2016, a decrease of 483,306 persons compared with December 2015. This is the lowest SNAP national participation level since April 2011. Most states experienced decreases in caseloads; nationally, there was a SNAP participation decrease of 1,323,485 persons compared with January 2015. (Source)

2 – Children, seniors, and those with disabilities comprise almost two-thirds of all SNAP participants. (Source)

3 – Among households that include someone who is able to work, more than 75 percent* had a job  in year before or after receiving SNAP. (Source)

4 – The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) limits the receipt of SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 36-month period for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who are not working at least 80 hours per month, participating in qualifying education and training activities at least 80 hours per month, or complying with a workfare program. (Source)

5 – According to demographic data, 39.8% of SNAP participants are white, 25.5% are African-American, 10.9% are Hispanic, 2.4% are Asian, and 1% are Native American. (Source)

6 – According to a recent USDA analysis, SNAP reached a payment accuracy of 96.19% in 2012 (the highest that the program has ever seen). Trafficking rates—the number of benefits exchanged for cash—are at 1%. There is always room for improvement, but SNAP is currently functioning at the highest level of integrity the program has seen yet. (Source)

7  – The majority of SNAP households do not receive cash welfare benefits (around 10% receive cash welfare), with increasing numbers of SNAP beneficiaries obtaining their primary source of income from employment. (Source)

I want to share a few really important statistics so that I can try to squash any of that negative "people playing the system and being dependent on the government" talk.

I don’t understand why Ms. Caroline Johnson felt the need to address the other shopper’s use of food stamps in front of both families and the cashier.

When she said to her son that statement about ‘this is why you get an education, so you don’t end up like that’ (obviously not a direct quote) I was instantly disgusted by her. Is that really the best way to parent a child? Is it really wise to attempt to make a point by being passive-aggressive (at this point) about how someone else pays for their groceries? Is it so hard to wait until you’re in the car or at home and have an intelligent conversation with your child? Something that could have started, “Did you notice the man in front of us at the store was using government assistance to buy his food? Do you know why people need those programs?” before launching in to a conversation about the importance of education and saving money?

No, apparently she thought a vicious verbal assault in public was the better choice. Let’s go ahead and award ‘Mother of the Year’ to Caroline Johnson. ::angry face:: What do you want to bet that her kid didn’t walk way from this encounter with a lesson about SNAP benefits?

I mean, I saw the video, I know the guy wasn’t exactly the kindest person in the world either but he shouldn’t have been put on the defensive to begin with. Why couldn’t the man just buy his groceries without having some random woman confront him in such a nasty way about how he needed to pay for them?

And her statement about, “I ain’t no bleedin’ heart liberal!”, what in the world is that about? Why does a person have to be a “bleedin’ heart liberal” to be a decent person that has an ounce of optimism that maybe a person is honestly doing what they need to do to provide for their children and/or family. 

Are we really at a place in this world where we instantly assume that people are dead-beat drug-addicted manipulators the instant we see them do something that we don’t approve of? And who are we to approve or not approve? 

I’m pretty sure that God makes it really clear that He will deal with people Himself. He really doesn’t need our help and He never asked us to confront people in line at the grocery store about the means they use to purchase their food.


The next time you’re out and about and you think about saying something to someone (about anything at all) allow me to help you out. Ask yourself these questions before opening your mouth and speaking any words:

  • Is what I am about to say kind?
  • Is what I am about to say helpful?
  • Is what I am about to say true?
  • Am I sure what I am about to say is true? Do I really have all of the necessary facts and data?
  • How will my words make the other person feel?
  • What will be accomplished by the words I’m about to say?
  • What will God think of my speech?

and, when you’re really in doubt, remember this little lesson that we all learned as children, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 

It’s really not that hard to be a decent human being. 


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