what you deserve

Grace posted something about a discussion she was having regarding whether or not people on food stamps “deserve” facials.

Regarding this topic, I guess I feel like you are in charge of your own money UNTIL you are getting money from me.  That’s sort of the breaks.  In the same way, “my house, my rules” works.

As someone who has used their food stamps at Zupans (like a Whole Foods, but more uppity), I feel I am eminently qualified to talk about this (Although how many subjects do I not feel eminently qualified to talk about?).  From my times hanging in the food stamp office, I would say the majority of food stamps are spent on non-nutritive instant foods a la Nestle Quik.  Cuz there are a lot of kids on food stamps.  Though most of the people I chatted with there were indignant about how they were treated when they bought seemingly “luxury” items or foods that were bad for you.  Fancy cheese was the most often mentioned.  Should I be making decisions on what other adults eat?  No.  But when my parents bought my food as a kid, they got to make the call.  In the same way, when the state provides your food, they get a say in how you spend your money.  How would they regulate facials?  I have no idea.  But when I was on food stamps I did feel bad when I spent money on things that were frivolous.  So did most everyone I ever talked to in the food stamp office.

And it is that experience which makes me state that no one is entitled to fancy cheese.  Do I love fancy cheese? Yes.  Would I want to live without it? No.  But if you’re buying my groceries next week, would I buy it knowing you’re paying the tab? No.  And that’s what it comes down to for me.  If someone else is paying, you’re beholden to them. Do poor people deserve facials?  No.  But neither does anyone else.  But when you have money to blow that you made yourself you get to pick.

And that longwindedly leads me to a point that I have been thinking about for a while.  Alcatraz Regulation # 5:

Regulation 5: You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.”

It hangs in my house for several reasons.  First, because Americans who are not in prison, who have done nothing wrong, don’t get all these things.  That’s a good thing to remember.

And second, because I am kind of sick of whiners.  Look, by being born, and by being born American, you already got a lot.  A lot more than 99% of the world.  By the fact that you’re reading this, you have computers, internet, & free time, you’re fucking rich.  I don’t care if you think you’re broke, you’re not.  You’re probably inside and clothed and fed.  Feel lucky.

And I feel especially at the age I am and the current economic situation, all around me I hear people using the news as a crutch to do nothing.  Now some people are unlucky, of course.  Some people weren’t born as lucky as you or I, and I truly don’t begrudge them.  But if you have a college degree and the time to whine to me about how broke you are, and it doesn’t revolve around a medical issue, you’re probably not working hard enough.  I am really sick of people telling me how horrible their lot in life is, how broke they are, how they can’t get anywhere when they’re not attempting to do anything to change any of their lifestyle.  Not trying to better themselves.  Not being thankful.

So next time you feel you’ve been given a raw deal, that you’re entitled to something and not getting it, think about Regulation 5.  I know I do.  And then DO SOMETHING.


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Well put, friend.

  2. Heidi says:

    I’m with you on this too. In my case and maybe yours, it’s genetic. I couldn’t imagine a life without working for what I have–in fact the drive to do work is an integrated feature of my persona, I think. Yay 100% German heritage.

  3. Dang. That sign is Awesome!

    I kinda figure if you’re broke, you get food stamps. You can afford a facial? Good for you . . . you wanna blow your food stamps on fancy cheese? That’s your problem. The food stamps should be enough to provide a decent diet but frankly I don’t want to be bothered with the details of how adults spend their food. Fancy cheese may well be a more cost-effective nourishment than Nestle Quik . . . whatever.

    I like to think a facial can be obtained for less than a week’s worth of basic nutritional input but I’m fairly uninformed. Though, I have seen a few “facials” in pornography and those appear to be very inexpensive for sure.

    NPS should sell that sign, if they don’t already! 🙂


  4. They DO sell this sign:


    You might change that image to link there. 😉


  5. jenny says:

    Danny they do sell the sign! They sell a bag with it on there too which I may have to buy!

    I agree– people deciding what other people should eat is madness.

    Heidi–I think it is germanness, as is the “you pay the bills you make the rules” thing. I don’t like to work hard, so I missed that gene but I also don’t expect much if I am not willing to.

  6. Alexander says:


  7. Mary says:

    Prisoners at Alcatraz also got 3 packs of cigarettes a week. And they tipped over the dining room tables when the spaghetti was bad. Also they got a pretty big breakfast that sometimes included stewed fruit. None of these things are germane, but I just took the tour and have been itching to spout random facts about The Rock!

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