Who Gets to Eat Shrimp?

Several years ago, I marveled as my students shared their Christmas presents that year. One after the other told me about the X-box, Playstation, and/or Wii they received. Most of those had multiple systems. In addition, they had tablets and iPhones.

I pondered, yet did not understand. We had considered a purchase for our family, but decided we could not afford it. Eighty percent of my students receive free or reduced lunches, yet they had gaming systems we could not afford for our children.

I was reminded of that today at the grocery store. I am far more comfortable financially now. My children are coming for an 11-day visit. I stocked up on food for the teenagers.

One of the things my daughter enjoys is shrimp and grits in the morning. I usually purchase a two-pound bag of frozen shrimp and use those for her breakfast. The bag I have is running low, so I thought I would pick up a new one today. I balked, however, at the price. The bag is at least $5 more than it was the last time I prchased shrimp. I was unwilling to pay the current price.

Later, I was in line to pay for my groceries. The family in front of me had a lot of food. There were four children. I noticed, the mother had two bags of the shrimp I had considered but ultimately did not buy. She paid and left.

I happened to see the cash register screen. The bill for the food was in excess of $300. That included $50 worth of shrimp. I also noted that the bill was paid with online food stamps. Presumably, food stamps are provided to those who cannot afford to feed themselves from the money they make. Food stamps are funded through taxes.

I pay taxes. Some of those taxes provide for food stamps. The food stamps were used to purchase shrimp for the family ahead of me. I did not feel as though I had enough money to purchase shrimp for my family. Something doesn’t feel right about this situation.

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