Last night about broke my heart.
So we’re all familiar with how horrible my job is, right? And I mean, I’m not talking about what I have to do—that’s a breeze. It’s the people I work with, the people I work for, and the environment I work in. It’s all toxic, toxic, toxic.
Last night was just sad.
It was late, which is when most mothers with W.I.C. will come in the store. I’ve always had suspicions that this was because they felt embarrassed or ashamed for having to use WIC, and since running WIC checks usually takes a long time, practically everyone in the nearby area is aware how they’re paying for the food they’re getting.
Well, last night my suspicions came true.
A very young mother and her mother came through my checklane late last night, probably around 10pm. “This is our first time,” the older woman explained as her daughter loaded the belt up with WIC-approved groceries. “We’ve never done WIC before—so we’re sorry if we messed it up.”
I told her it was absolutely fine—I get first-timers all the time, and it’s nothing to worry about. She seemed surprised by how friendly I was, so I kept it up—I was already liking these two women a lot, they seemed like genuine, caring and friendly people, so being super nice to them wasn’t a problem.
“I’m just—embarrassed,” the younger woman said quietly, looking behind her mother at the growing line of customers behind them. And I knew what to expect, I knew that I’d be hearing the customers behind them complaining—usually loud enough for those buying with WIC to hear—and my heart sank.
“It’s why we came in so late,” her mother chimed in, “I told her, you know, there’d be less people here.”
“That’s awful.” Was all I could think to say for the moment. I continued through the checks, moving quickly (I like getting them through fast to avoid the biting comments customers behind them sometimes have to say, but it doesn’t always work) and just couldn’t help it anymore. “It’s so stupid,” I said abruptly. I probably sounded angry, and the two women looked surprised. “No, it really is. I love WIC, it’s absolutely awesome. I have family members and friends who use it, and it’s a great program. But people want to automatically judge anyone who walks in here and uses it, like they’re lazy or something, and it’s not okay.”
The older woman agreed, “We tried this once before, across the street, but the cashiers were so nasty, we left. And my daughter—she works HARD,” her voice got a bit louder, and she shot looks at the customers behind her, as if to say “I dare you to say one word about her.” She shook her head. “She has a job, she has a family, and she just needs a little help, that’s it. Just a little help. She’s not some freeloader like people think.”
I nodded, and proceeded to keep my mouth closed. Not because I disagreed obviously, but rather because if I began talking about it too, I would get heated and wouldn’t shut up.
I continued with the checks, still moving quickly, and at the end the two women thanked me profusely. Before they left, the young mother stopped and asked, “What nights are you here?”
I told her, and realized I’d probably be seeing a lot more of her. And from what I hear, this isn’t uncommon—mothers on WIC will look for particular cashiers and attendants who they feel comfortable with, who they’re not afraid of being judged or scorned for needing a leg up.
And that just broke my heart. The state of things, where it’s so accepted to make fun of, look down upon, and even apparently openly mock and scorn mothers for using WIC that the goddamn cashiers will do it. And these mothers are too ashamed and embarrassed to file a complaint—and even if one is made (I’ve seen it happen once when feathers got SERIOUSLY ruffled) no one takes it seriously.
Just, no. Fucking no. If you’re one of these people who has the “If you can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em!” fucked up mentality, go drive off a cliff. I hate you. I hate you with every fibre of my being. These mothers NEED assistance. And you’re probably the same goddamn mouth-breathers who hate abortion or birthcontrol or at least coverage for either one—you just want more and more excuses to hate on these mothers, these women*, these people who need help. I mean, fucking hooray that you’re not in their situations, because you probably couldn’t handle the emotional strain that a fucking SHOPPING TRIP puts on them.
And if you work in a grocery store, or any store that accepts EBT, WIC, etc., and you see this kind of behaviour among your co-workers, STOP IT IN IT’S TRACKS. Tell them THIS IS NOT OKAY. Even if someone is selfish and cruel enough to want to act on these fucked up ideas of harassment, they should be professional enough to keep their attitudes to themselves or they should lose their fucking jobs if they can’t.
Sorry for this long rant, but just… Ugh. It broke my heart and disgusted me, and made me realize why a lot of the WIC customers I check out are repeated customers who will wait in a giant line for me rather than a shorter line for someone else—sure, it’s nice to think that it’s just because they like me, but now their actions and preferences hold a much different, much more saddening reality.
Seriously, if you begrudge people food there’s something deeply wrong with you as a person & you should get that shit checked out.