Once-affluent Americans now use food stamps to shop

By Incorrect Author 29 October 2009

Who would have believed 10% of Americans now need food stamps to eat? Washington state’s Costco Wholesale Corp, a retailer much like South Africa’s Makro, does. The group, which normally caters to affluent bargain-hunters, says it will start accepting food stamps at its warehouse clubs nationwide, having tested the concept at stores in New York. The number of Americans relying on federal food subsidies has climbed to a record 36 million. Costco managers were leery over whether customers would use food stamps, but new club members claim to be joining precisely because of that. The company hopes to accept food stamps at half of its 407 stores before end-November, but has to gain regulatory approval state by state. As a measure of how embarrassing and demeaning many Americans think food stamps are, most users now carry a swipe-card that makes paying more discreet, and speeds checkout and reimbursement for retailers. About half of Costco's customers are small businesses, but its other shoppers are largely more affluent than shoppers at traditional grocery chains. Management says the use of food stamps by those who were not very poor is a wake-up call in terms of how the economy has changed.Read more: AP, Costco


While we have your attention...

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money - though not nearly as much as its absence.

Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defending Truth in South Africa. If you would like to join us on this mission, you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's quest by becoming a Maverick Insider.

Click here to become a Maverick Insider and get a closer look at the Truth.

Election 2019

Maimane takes hardline on illegal immigration at DA’s 2019 campaign manifesto launch

By Ferial Haffajee

"Look for lessons about haunting when there are thousands of ghosts; when entire societies become haunted by terrible deeds that are systematically occurring and are simultaneously denied by every public organ of governance and communication." ~ Avery Gordon