I have thought about this for several days now. It had nothing to do with me, but it has weighed on my mind since I read it. I will not say where I saw it, who wrote it, etc. I am just going to paraphrase the situation.
I stumbled across a story of a young boy (I believe around five) that had been left at a store. When the author of the story saw the boy obviously alone and scared, they approached the child. He was too frightened to respond, so the person did the absolute right thing and sought out an employee to make them aware of the situation.
The employee took the child and did some looking around. As it turns out, the parent had actually already checked out and left the store. Apparently not realizing a child had been left behind.
As one can imagine, the author of this piece was outraged. What kind of parent leaves an establishment without realizing they left a very small child behind? I was right there with the writer about their outrage and disbelief. While I wasn’t there and have no idea what might have been going on to cause this parent to forget her child, on the surface, you have to question parenting skills.
According to the story, the parent came back about five minutes later. Anyone that has ever lost sight of their child knows that five minutes seems like an eternity, so I can’t even imagine. The parent, according to the story, seemed completely calm and not the least bit apologetic or concerned. Again, I was not there, but if this is what happened, again, you have to question the parenting.
My problem is not with the accounting of the story. I would have felt much the same way. My problem came at the end of the story. This was how it closed “Fuck you and all you welfare cases out there! I can’t believe how ignorant and stupid you are!”
Did I miss something? Nowhere in this narrative did the author mention witnessing this parent check out, so how did they know the parent was a “welfare case”? Furthermore, what if she is? I never knew that your parenting skills were based on how financially secure you were. I mean, honestly, have we never heard of wealthy people being shitty parents?
I vividly recall a young mother near my home in Texas. She murdered her two young sons while they slept downstairs and her husband and baby were upstairs sleeping. They were an above middle class family. So, can someone explain that to me? Her financial situation did not suddenly turn her into Mother of the Year.
When the author was specifically asked had they seen the woman utilizing an EBT card, they admitted they had not seen her checkout, but that “they could spot a welfare case”. Again, I’m confused. What exactly does a “welfare case” look like? Probably like me on laundry day when I am in the most threadbare pair of sweats and tshirt stopping for change at the grocery store before heading to the laundromat. The problem with that? I have never been on public assistance. The neighbor of mine that drives a fairly new car, always dresses nicely, and never leaves the house without makeup happens to receive aide. If you put us side by side, you would probably view me as the “welfare case” and her the working woman. You would be so wrong.
The author also stated that 98% of “welfare cases” do not work. They simply live off the system. I don’t know about his experience, but from what I have seen, there is no way in hell that someone can “live off the system”. If they are lucky, they can survive off the system.
Years ago I worked for a large retail establishment that was infamous for their statement that they kept employee wages low so that their employees would still qualify for assistance. Of the fifty or so women I worked with daily, I’d say more than 90% did receive some sort of aide, but you have never seen women work harder day in and day out just to fucking do better than survive.
I have never met anyone that is on public assistance that said “Oh man, I am so glad I have all this help. I’m going to sit on my ass and collect my check.” Reality is that people do the best they can with the resources they have available.
I don’t know what caused that parent to forget her child at the store. Bad parenting or simply a tragic mistake. I don’t know if she is a “welfare case” or a woman that drives a Rolls and has ten nannies. It doesn’t fucking matter.
What matters is that you made a sweeping generalization without one statistic to back you up. What’s next? Giving nasty looks to the young girl holding a baby in her arms using WIC in line in front of you? Did you ever stop and think that this is the child’s sister and the mom is at work so the young woman has to take care of things at home? Nope, in your distorted view, this was a stupid girl that made a stupid decision.
My oldest daughter is 21. My youngest daughter is 9. When Em was a baby, Whit took her into the store with her often. She “looked” old enough to be her mother, but the reality was, Em’s mom was two aisles over picking up something.
Stop judging and start opening your mind. Believe me, those “welfare cases” are not what you make them out to be and I’m willing to bet that many of them are far more intelligent than the author of that story.