In an economy where most families are struggling and living one check away from the poverty line, government benefits like food stamps are a much needed and welcomed luxury, but some recipients are taking the luxury part a bit too far. An investigation has revealed that food stamps, which are given to families who demonstrate need, can be used to buy premium drinks and expensive snacks from Starbucks. The investigation drummed up outrage across the country from hardworking Americans who saw it as a waste of tax payer dollars.
The Fox News 12 investigation revealed that food stamp recipients were using the funds to buy things like Frappaccinos and pumpkin bread from a branch of Starbucks in Salem, Oregon. A spokesperson for the Safeway store in Salem where the foot stamps were accepted in Starbucks, told Fox News the store made the change as ‘an added convenience to customers’ and that the register at the store considers the purchase a ‘grocery’ item, and, as long as it’s cold, it can be purchased with food stamps. However, according to guidelines from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamp users cannot buy hot foods or foods that will be eaten in the store, so it appears that what’s really going on is that people have found a loophole in the system.
A spokesperson for the State Department of Human Services said they weren’t aware of the loophole in the program being exploited, but now that they know, they plan to put an end to the fraud stating ‘We’ll contact these grocery stores to get more information and make sure they’re operating within the SNAP guidelines.’ As news of the Starbucks Frap scandal spread people couldn’t help ut express their disgust for the situation, one commenter seemed to sum up the feelings of most people who heard the news saying ‘If tax dollars are being used to feed poor people in need then fine, but use the tax dollars for staples, not luxuries. Change the law. End the waste and fraud.’
Should people be allowed to use food stamps for Starbucks and other ‘luxury’ foods?