Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Self help remedy

Idaho grocers are asking the legislature to change the system of handing out food stamp money.  The problem being that folks are so desperate that they all hit the stores almost immediately after the money is distributed (electronically to their cards).  So, bottlenecks ensue, and shoppers get sick of standing in line and abandon carts full of food, which is an especial problem for frozen food.

Grocers have offered to cough up a one-time $100,000, but there's a $220,000 ongoing cost to the State for the fix of spreading out payments over days.

I assume that grocers have tried adding an extra person to just look for abandoned carts, and have tried beefing up the checkout lines.  But, perhaps they could offer some type of discount, say, $10 or something, to food stamp shoppers who shop at a certain date/time, based on their last name.  You know, T-Z shop on the 3rd of the month and they'll get 2% up to a max of $20 (or whatever works for that grocer).  Or, just give the incentive to food stamp recipient shopping on the 3rd, if they don't want to program the computes to give the discount.

Seems like there should be a way for them to address this themselves, instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayer.  Just saying....


Rinda Just said...

Clearly you have never had to shop at Winco on the first of the month. I shop at the Winco downtown because it is close to my work and easy to hit on the way home. I also ride share, and am responsible for getting someone to and from work in a timely matter. I have one day a week when I can shop. Woebetide if it is the first.

Unfortunately most folks on food assistance don't have the luxury of waiting a day or two to restock their pantry. In many cases their cupboards have already been bare for several days before their benefits arrive.

ericn1300 said...

I also thought about a system based on spreading out the demand alphabetically by the stores but why should it be up to the stores to deny hungry people food based on their name and not on their need. The state needs to come up with a way of migrating the dispersal of food stamps to a graduated method without a sudden change that would result in empty tummies, even if only for a few days. Have you ever been hungry for a few days? The grocers are putting up the seed money for the program and the ongoing cost would be $220K, or just one one hundredth of the state budget.

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