Added March 2009
This post has become pretty popular with people looking up where to use their Horizon Card in Utah. It has offended some, and I thought I should clarify some things right up front before I offend some more.
I've worked my way up from nothing. I came to this country with $200 in my pocket, and have since found a way to put myself through school, all while raising a family and working full time. I've been through tough times and I know what it feels like. And it sucks.
In the past year or so, I've become far more partial to government assistance programs, but I think there are always going to be those that see this as a right and not a privilege or a safety net. I have long held the belief that communities should take care of eachother, but I think we've lost that basic desire to take care of one another, allowing the goverment to intervene on our behalf.
My issues with the benefit program in Utah are:
1 - I could like likely qualify for assistance, but I live a good life and my family eat healthily, so I don't feel the need or the right to apply. Obviously I'm on the upper end of the poverty range, but cable TV, a cellphone and a brand new car are not rights.
2 - I've worked as a cashier on occasion. While there are obviously people out there who need assistance, most if not all horizon card users who came through my checkout where buying expensive and unhealthy food. More often that not, the alcohol, tobacco, candy, soda's and similar products would come through and be paid by with cash. Where after the TV dinners and other processed stuff would be put on the card.
Is the benefit program necessary? - I believe it is, especially in these times.
Is it abused? - absolutely, and unfortunately the abuse takes from those who really need it.
So with that in mind, please don't be offended by the following article. I could probably have written in more sensitively, but at the same time, I'd just mailed off my taxes and the subject of my being annoyed was not buying healthy food, she was buying expensive nutritionally deficient crap. On top of that she was treating her kid like crap.
I'll be the first to admit I don't know her situation, and I have absolutely no right to judge. So for what it's worth... Here's what I wrote previously...
I've become much more tolerant in recent years. It's helped, especially when I commute, now I view myself more as being in the same boat as everyone else navigating the traffic, and less in conflict with them.
There are however a few things that still get to me...
Friday night I took my two youngest kids shopping. It was the weekly grocery shop, so we ended up getting a fair amount of stuff. Usually my youngest son will sit in the cart, but towards the end when avalanches started becoming a regular occurrence all around him, I figure I should heed his cries to get out and walk.
I suppose Friday night at Walmart isn't the busiest time of the week, but all the same, they only had one major checkout open. There were a couple of express lanes open, but I had way more than 20 items.
I ended up behind a lady with a full cart and the checkout belt loaded high as well. I'm not a judgmental person, well, not as much as I used to be, but I think a description of this lady may add to the story. She wasn't small by any means, and I don't mean tall either. She was probably about 5 foot 4, and probably well exceeded 300 pounds. She had the stomach that comes out and then hangs over the tight leggings. I'm sure the legging are comfortable and provide a level of support - I race in tight clothes and I prefer it - but there are parts of the morbidly obese I would rather be left to the imagination.
Her kid was probably about 3 years old and looked to be headed in the same direction, gravitationally as his mother. This story isn't all bad. He was a really cute kid. Pretty quiet, but he kept interacting with my two monkeys, and it was fun to watch. Nothing quite like watching the fruit of your loins interacting with those around them.
So after about 5 minutes I gather that she has a couple of different orders she was working on. I think I had joined the line about half way through the process, as bags were piled up at the end of the lane. OK, so I sometimes have different orders, I can't complain about that.
For the next bit, let me describe what was on the belt. Soda, and we're talking a lot of soda. Those cheap, crappy, bought in a box pizza's. I do enjoy the pizza other than home-made, but even I can't stomach these things. Little more than cardboard with tomato paste and a few strands of cheese, and then an inordinate amount of salt and oil. Perhaps this was the start of the clues as to why the woman was as large as she was. Gatorade - it's a sports drink people, and there was no way in hell she does any kind of athletic activity. But the belt was piled with it. V8 juice - Perhaps a sad attempt at being healthy... and then a ton of other brand name stuff, piled as high as could be.
It was then that it hit me, well that and noticing what she was doing...
Have you ever gotten behind a price matcher? These people are the most inconsiderate people out there. I have problems with price matching on many levels...
1 - If Walmart were truly about saving money, their prices would be the lowest. Stealing other companies deals is just dishonest.
2 - If you want a good deal, go to the store that is offering it.
3 - If you're price matching, why are you going for all the brand name stuff. If money is your motivator, why not get the cheap stuff and save even more.
OK, so this lady was price matching everything. Which really hacked me off even more.
I'm sure there were other things too, but the grand finale was when she whipped out her horizon card. If you know what an horizon card is you probably understand already. If by chance you use a horizon card or know someone who does and are going to be offended by what I'm about to say. Speak up, I'd love the chance to help you realize what a bad program this is.
OK, so the horizon card is the State of Utah's benefit to people who have fallen on hard times. I am sure there are a few who might need this, and use it as a good way to get back on their feet. I would guess that about 90% don't need it, but enjoy sucking my tax dollars dry because I obviously owe them for being a productive member of society and making them feel bad about being good-for-nothing losers. I was up late doing my taxes last night and mailed off a check to the State of Utah this morning, so they can fund more of these bottom feeding, lazy pieces of crap. The other thing that bugs me is that these people who have the card always buy the fancy food to eat, while I, who actually works in order to feed my family, have to get the cheap stuff - Me, bitter?
OK, so not only was this lady price matching, then she whips out the horizon card, solidifying in my mind her status as scum sucker. She then starts yelling at the kid who is obviously bored out of his mind because she is taking so freaking long... And he wasn't doing anything really bad at all.
She finally gets done, much to my and the cashiers relief. The cashier apologizes, even though it wasn't her fault and I made some comment about the despicableness of price matching. She then says that WIC users (Another abused government entitlement program) are about as bad, and that lady had done all the WIC stuff before I got there.
I was late getting home, late to the gym, and on top of that I now have a cold. Might as well blame the fat lady for that too!