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(Slate)   USDA to Wal-Mart: "Sooo...just how much *did* you earn from food stamps last year? Wal-Mart to USDA: *crickets*   (slate.com) divider line 264
    More: Interesting, SNAP, David Tovar, Argus Leader  
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15348 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Aug 2014 at 10:01 AM (16 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-06 08:15:16 AM  
Why does it matter (to the general public) where people are spending their food stamps?  The money still gets spent whether it's at Walmart or HEB or wherever.
 
2014-08-06 08:29:04 AM  
I don't know. Maybe it matters to the general public because Wal-Mart has established itself again and again not only as a store that aggressively disallows any attempts by its employees to unionize and better their wages and working hours, but also significantly uses publicly available resources, such as Medicaid and Food stamps, to subsidize its own cost of providing its employees with truly livable wages and benefits. Maybe the USDA would like a clearer picture of just how much Wal-Mart's refusal to pay its employees enough money that they can afford to feed themselves without requiring Federal assistance is costing the entire nation. Maybe someone at the USDA wonders whether a corporate entity like Wal-Mart should be able to make millions by pocketing Federal subsidies designed to help poor people when it's own policies are creating many of those poor people in the first place.

Or maybe the USDA is just, I don't know, like a nosy kid all up in Wal-Mart's shiat. "Hey Wal-Mart," they say, poking Wal-Mart in the shoulder. "Hey, Wal-Mart. Hey Wal-Mart. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey." And then Wal-Mart, finally, exasperated, spins and heaves a mighty sigh and is all like, "WHAT, damnit?" And the USDA is all like, "Hi." Farking USDA, so goddamn annoying.
 
2014-08-06 08:34:50 AM  
So the USDA is upset that the poor people are using food stamps at Walmart to buy unhealthy food that's subsidized by the USDA?
 
2014-08-06 08:48:07 AM  

Gulper Eel: So the USDA is upset that the poor people are using food stamps at Walmart to buy unhealthy food that's subsidized by the USDA?


You could have just said that the USDA is upset that they're subsidizing Walmart.
 
2014-08-06 08:55:55 AM  

Pocket Ninja: I don't know. Maybe it matters to the general public because Wal-Mart has established itself again and again not only as a store that aggressively disallows any attempts by its employees to unionize and better their wages and working hours, but also significantly uses publicly available resources, such as Medicaid and Food stamps, to subsidize its own cost of providing its employees with truly livable wages and benefits. Maybe the USDA would like a clearer picture of just how much Wal-Mart's refusal to pay its employees enough money that they can afford to feed themselves without requiring Federal assistance is costing the entire nation. Maybe someone at the USDA wonders whether a corporate entity like Wal-Mart should be able to make millions by pocketing Federal subsidies designed to help poor people when it's own policies are creating many of those poor people in the first place.


So there are two separate points at work here: the amount of food stamps spent by consumers at Walmart, and the amount of food stamps claimed by employees of Walmart.  Aside from a single paragraph, TFA is dealing with the former, not the latter.
I happen to disagree with the position that says Walmart should be responsible for its employees' financial situations (food stamps are calculated such that a single person working full time at minimum wage is not eligible for subsidies.  It's only the ones with dependents who end up on food stamps.  A problem to be sure, but not Walmart's problem IMHO), but discussion of how much money they take in from people spending it there is completely irrelevant.
 
2014-08-06 09:01:08 AM  

serial_crusher: Why does it matter (to the general public) where people are spending their food stamps?  The money still gets spent whether it's at Walmart or HEB or wherever.


Well, Wal*Mart has kind of turned it into a business model. I wouldn't care, either, since it does provide a lot of goods and services to poor and low income people for very low prices, if they compensated their employees better than they do. Maybe there should be a rule that businesses of certain sizes will be barred from accepting EBT/foodstamps if a certain percentage of their work force is on public assistance.
 
2014-08-06 09:22:56 AM  

I_Am_Weasel: Gulper Eel: So the USDA is upset that the poor people are using food stamps at Walmart to buy unhealthy food that's subsidized by the USDA?

You could have just said that the USDA is upset that they're subsidizing Walmart.


They don't seem particularly annoyed to be subsidizing all sorts of other fatcats, why would Walmart joining in at the trough upset them?
 
2014-08-06 09:54:53 AM  

serial_crusher: So there are two separate points at work here: the amount of food stamps spent by consumers at Walmart, and the amount of food stamps claimed by employees of Walmart.


I think the real concern is that Wal-Mart is running like an old-style company town, where the workers get paid in company bucks that they have to spend at the company store. Now yes, in this case, they don't HAVE to spend their food stamps there. On the other hand, where are they spending all their time? And if you're poor it's just easier to buy the stuff you need at work before you go home. Maybe you have limited transportation. Or it's easier to spread those dollars out at Wal-Mart rather than going to a regular supermarket.

So in a way, it's slavery on a larger scale than most of the rest of us are subject to.
 
2014-08-06 10:01:16 AM  
If you work at Wal-Mart and get food stamps, then use those food stamps at Wal-Mart, do you still get the employee discount?
 
2014-08-06 10:04:50 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: If you work at Wal-Mart and get food stamps, then use those food stamps at Wal-Mart, do you still get the employee discount?


Why not just pay in scrip?  Makes more sense.

Farking government needs to get in the middle of everything.
 
2014-08-06 10:06:13 AM  
The USDA is concerned how much people are spending at Wal Mart using food stamps but not concerned with using food stamps for alcohol or cigarettes?


Hey this must be one of those anti capitalist or anti big business articles and not one of those articles about responsibility or using the food stamps on necessities.
 
2014-08-06 10:06:15 AM  

jaylectricity: slavery


Really?  Are you sure about that?  Last time I checked, slaves didn't really receive compensation, and didn't have the ability to quit their shiatty jobs.
 
2014-08-06 10:07:23 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: If you work at Wal-Mart and get food stamps, then use those food stamps at Wal-Mart, do you still get the employee discount?


Employee discount doesn't include groceries.
 
2014-08-06 10:07:33 AM  

Farce-Side: jaylectricity: slavery

Really?  Are you sure about that?  Last time I checked, slaves didn't really receive compensation, and didn't have the ability to quit their shiatty jobs.


Feudal peasantry.
 
2014-08-06 10:07:51 AM  
Meh, that's the boring angle to look at this. How much did Wal-Mart make by having employees that used food stamps?
 
2014-08-06 10:08:13 AM  

Farce-Side: jaylectricity: slavery

Really?  Are you sure about that?  Last time I checked, slaves didn't really receive compensation, and didn't have the ability to quit their shiatty jobs.


Call it upward mobility
But you've been sold down the river
Just another form of slavery
And the whole man-made white world
Is your master
 
2014-08-06 10:08:17 AM  

Farce-Side: jaylectricity: slavery

Really?  Are you sure about that?  Last time I checked, slaves didn't really receive compensation, and didn't have the ability to quit their shiatty jobs.


Slaves didn't get shelter? Food? And you can quit your shiatty job, but you still have to get another one. You could always suck up and become the house ni**er.
 
2014-08-06 10:08:34 AM  
Enough to fill the Albert Hall.  To the job creator mobile!
 
2014-08-06 10:08:49 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: If you work at Wal-Mart and get food stamps, then use those food stamps at Wal-Mart, do you still get the employee discount?


WalMart's employee discount doesn't apply to most food bought, only non-food items. (Junk food is often an exception.)

But on another tact, could this really hurt anyone on food-stamps? If so, in what way? Walmart seems to complain that this would give competitors easy information to help needle them and draw away sales, but I'm seeing increased competition as merely an extra side benefit here.

I mean, I don't see anyway this could hurt the folks on SNAP themselves, but it's early, and I'm not always the best deep thinker.
 
2014-08-06 10:10:01 AM  
Nobody of consequence gives a shiat.  Sure if it turned out that not much welfare was being spent there then we could call Wal-Mart to the carpet for not fulfilling their social contract of offering the lowest prices around.  And if it turns out that a lot of welfare was being spent there then someone would find some way of damning them because they did.  It's just typical irrational Wal-Mart hate from people that know how to post messages.
 
2014-08-06 10:10:09 AM  
Feudalism v.2.0 is swinging, y'all.  I hope I get a good patch to sew on my coat and they pay in Kong bucks.
 
2014-08-06 10:10:26 AM  
Would it be better if people on a very limited budgets were shopping at Wholefoods?
 
2014-08-06 10:10:47 AM  
silverjets to subby: "Sooo..*did* you actually read the article? subby to silverjets: *crickets*
 
2014-08-06 10:11:05 AM  
The guy in the produce department at the local Wal*Mart is paid the same as the produce guy at the mom-and-pop store here. But hey, it's just easy to bash the big guy, I get that.

When I worked in a Union grocery store in my yute, we called Tuesday "payday". We got our checks on Friday, but Tuesday was the day we started making money for ourselves having put in enough hours to pay for our "protection".
 
2014-08-06 10:11:30 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: If you work at Wal-Mart and get food stamps, then use those food stamps at Wal-Mart, do you still get the employee discount


there is no employee discount on food.

 
2014-08-06 10:12:24 AM  
Perhaps the program should negotiate for cheaper prices for food stamp purchases.

Why not not? I'm sure the big chains would be falling all over themselves to secure what would essentially be a huge contract.
 
2014-08-06 10:12:28 AM  
1. Underprice your products because food stamps act as a safty net to let you pay your employees basically nothing.
2. You employees spend their food stamps with you because of your criminally underpriced products.

Now THATS a business plan!
 
2014-08-06 10:12:44 AM  
Stop being poor. Problem solved
 
2014-08-06 10:13:38 AM  
serial_crusher


Why does it matter (to the general public) where people are spending their food stamps? The money still gets spent whether it's at Walmart or HEB or wherever.


I would consider looking further into the business practices of some retail stores in lower income areas. Case in point.

In Bloomington and Normal IL there are 2 Walmart stores, they are no more than 5 miles apart. The one in Bloomington is more accessible and closer to the lower income population. In a single day I was in both stores but noticed something as simple as a gallon of milk was 29 cents more expensive in Bloomington.
 
2014-08-06 10:14:15 AM  

big pig peaches: Would it be better if people on a very limited budgets were shopping at Wholefoods?


The Neiman Marcus catalog should be able to accept food stamps cause its none of our business what other people spend their money on.


seriously, people here think that.
 
2014-08-06 10:15:28 AM  

Pocket Ninja: I don't know. Maybe it matters to the general public because Wal-Mart has established itself again and again not only as a store that aggressively disallows any attempts by its employees to unionize and better their wages and working hours, but also significantly uses publicly available resources, such as Medicaid and Food stamps, to subsidize its own cost of providing its employees with truly livable wages and benefits. Maybe the USDA would like a clearer picture of just how much Wal-Mart's refusal to pay its employees enough money that they can afford to feed themselves without requiring Federal assistance is costing the entire nation. Maybe someone at the USDA wonders whether a corporate entity like Wal-Mart should be able to make mBillions by pocketing Federal subsidies designed to help poor people when it's own policies are creating many of those poor people in the first place.

Or maybe the USDA is just, I don't know, like a nosy kid all up in Wal-Mart's shiat. "Hey Wal-Mart," they say, poking Wal-Mart in the shoulder. "Hey, Wal-Mart. Hey Wal-Mart. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey." And then Wal-Mart, finally, exasperated, spins and heaves a mighty sigh and is all like, "WHAT, damnit?" And the USDA is all like, "Hi." Farking USDA, so goddamn annoying.


Billions with a b.

otherwise well said
 
2014-08-06 10:15:58 AM  
Step 1: Pay employees less than a living wage
Step 2: Accept food stamps from impoverished employees
Step 3: Cash in food stamps to Federal Government
Step 4: Profit!!

Just another form of corporate welfare.
 
2014-08-06 10:17:12 AM  
Food stamps have more to do with farm subsidies given to big agri-businesses to keep food prices artificially high than they do Wal-Mart's low wages. Food stamps help ADM the most.
 
2014-08-06 10:17:17 AM  
A Marine I know through my cousin who is a cop so you know this is true was just back from his 20th tour in Iraq at a Wal-Mart to buy some beef jerky and tiny American flags.  While he was there he saw a woman come in and she had on a huge Nike fur coat and she was snapping her fingers and talking about how she likes Tyler Perry.  The Marine saw her get on one of those motorized carts and then fill the whole thing with lobsters and brand name canned foods.  She thought she was too good for the Great Value because she was getting Del Monte FRENCH green beans and not even the American green beans that Patriots get.

Then she went to pay and she pulled out a huge sheet of food stamps and she was licking each stamp to put on the envelope to pay and Joe Biden came in with ice cream for her and they got in one of those Hummer limos and the Marine talked to his friend in the Secret Service and he said the whole trip cost $22 million dollars of my tax dollars not to mention the stamps which I also paid for with all of the taxes I pay.
 
2014-08-06 10:18:59 AM  

Giltric: The USDA is concerned how much people are spending at Wal Mart using food stamps but not concerned with using food stamps for alcohol or cigarettes?


I know this might sound kinda bad, but if that SNAP money is still getting spent unless it's going out the country.
 
2014-08-06 10:19:46 AM  

Rapmaster2000: A Marine I know through my cousin who is a cop so you know this is true was just back from his 20th tour in Iraq at a Wal-Mart to buy some beef jerky and tiny American flags.  While he was there he saw a woman come in and she had on a huge Nike fur coat and she was snapping her fingers and talking about how she likes Tyler Perry.  The Marine saw her get on one of those motorized carts and then fill the whole thing with lobsters and brand name canned foods.  She thought she was too good for the Great Value because she was getting Del Monte FRENCH green beans and not even the American green beans that Patriots get.

Then she went to pay and she pulled out a huge sheet of food stamps and she was licking each stamp to put on the envelope to pay and Joe Biden came in with ice cream for her and they got in one of those Hummer limos and the Marine talked to his friend in the Secret Service and he said the whole trip cost $22 million dollars of my tax dollars not to mention the stamps which I also paid for with all of the taxes I pay.


Subtle. I like it.
 
2014-08-06 10:19:55 AM  

jehovahs witness protection: Employee discount doesn't include groceries.


Jarylan: WalMart's employee discount doesn't apply to most food bought, only non-food items. (Junk food is often an exception.)


Yellow Beard: there is no employee discount on food.


Well I'll be.
 
2014-08-06 10:22:52 AM  
Wal-Mart accounts for something like 11% of the US retail market, overall. They account for a higher amount of the grocery market, and an even higher percentage of the lower-priced category.

Overall, it looks like they get about the same percentage of sales from food stamps as the other stores in that category...
 
2014-08-06 10:23:28 AM  
i.imgur.com
It's truly a surreal place.
 
2014-08-06 10:23:47 AM  

Giltric: The USDA is concerned how much people are spending at Wal Mart using food stamps


The USDA knows and says the law prevents them from sharing the information.

Walmart knows and does not want to share.
 
2014-08-06 10:24:07 AM  
So the USDA thinks people on food stamps should shop at Whole Foods?
 
2014-08-06 10:24:08 AM  
As someone who has contracted with the USDA I have a great deal of admiration for anyone under a GS-11 and even a couple of the GS-15s.  Good people trying to do a nigh on impossible job with less resources every year.
 
2014-08-06 10:25:26 AM  
A lot of farmer's markets can't take SNAP, so it's Walmart or the local chain store to get your mass-grown tasteless vegetables and half rotted fruit.

OR you can head to the cereal isle and get tasty tasty Pop Tarts. But good flora with SNAP. I don't *think* so!

/sadly, a SNAP recipient
//A college educated SNAP recipient.
 
2014-08-06 10:26:02 AM  

Random Anonymous Blackmail: serial_crusher


Why does it matter (to the general public) where people are spending their food stamps? The money still gets spent whether it's at Walmart or HEB or wherever.


I would consider looking further into the business practices of some retail stores in lower income areas. Case in point.

In Bloomington and Normal IL there are 2 Walmart stores, they are no more than 5 miles apart. The one in Bloomington is more accessible and closer to the lower income population. In a single day I was in both stores but noticed something as simple as a gallon of milk was 29 cents more expensive in Bloomington.


So the concern here is that food stamp recipients treat it like play money and don't shop around for better deals like they would with real money?  That's a legitimate concern, but do you need to publicize the amount each store receives in order to fight that?  The USDA already has that information and should be auditing it to prevent that sort of price gauging regardless of whether they share the info.  Plus, anti-gauging restrictions should apply regardless of what percentage of sales they make.  You want to accept any food stamps, you need to charge fair and reasonable prices on all your food stamp eligible items.

I guess from a government transparency perspective, having that info would be helpful.  The USDA can only audit so many grocery stores, so I'd like to ensure they're auditing the right ones (right meaning the ones who get the most money), not just sticking to small mom n pop stores who couldn't afford to bribe them.  Ok, I'll allow it.
 
2014-08-06 10:26:08 AM  

LeroyBourne: [i.imgur.com image 850x477]
It's truly a surreal place.


Welcome to Costco.  I love you.
 
2014-08-06 10:27:11 AM  
Poor people should spend their food stamps at Whole Foods instead, like actual people who matter do. That would be much better value for them.
 
2014-08-06 10:27:50 AM  

OregonVet: The guy in the produce department at the local Wal*Mart is paid the same as the produce guy at the mom-and-pop store here.


Interesting that everyone's salary is known to you.

How do you know that?
 
2014-08-06 10:27:55 AM  

Giltric: The USDA is concerned how much people are spending at Wal Mart using food stamps but not concerned with using food stamps for alcohol or cigarettes?


Hey this must be one of those anti capitalist or anti big business articles and not one of those articles about responsibility or using the food stamps on necessities.


You don't know how SNAP works, do you?
 
2014-08-06 10:28:12 AM  

Ned Stark: 1. Underprice your products because food stamps act as a safty net to let you pay your employees basically nothing.
2. You employees spend their food stamps with you because of your criminally underpriced products.

Now THATS a business plan!


"Criminally underpriced".  Yeah, that's the ticket.  Food is too cheap for poor people.  That's the problem.

Seriously, WTF?
 
2014-08-06 10:28:54 AM  
Because it's my god damned money and I want to know where it's being spent.

That's why.

Funny how Republicans swap their values out whenever they suspect something might come out against their limited and primitive view of how government should work.
 
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