I have mixed feelings about this post. But I'm just going to report the facts as I observed them.
Every year, the local Kiwanis Clubs team together with the Salvation Army and Walmart to host a Back to School fair for underprivileged kids in the area. There's snacks and bouncy houses, a vaccination booth (don't get me started here), and each child receives a backpack, lunch box (don't know why since they all get free lunches), and all the recommended supplies. This year, they prepared 5000 backpacks. 5000. Backpacks. Full of stuff. Free. And they ran out with a considerable number of kids still left. So they issued vouchers to Walmart for the same items that were being offered at the fair. One $10 backpack, one $5 lunch box, paper, pens, pencils, RoseArt markers and crayons, binders and notebooks. Probably about $70 total. Not a bad deal, especially when you consider most of the recipient families have two or more (many more) kids. Take my next door neighbors, four kids all anchor babies, mom and dad don't speak English, would have received $280 worth of free school supplies.
Now, I'm extremely charitable, I'll give the shirt off my back and the last buck in my pocket to someone who really needs it. And I don't expect drippy gratitude, a "Hey, thanks!" is good enough. But when I give someone something, the last thing I expect is hostility. And that's just a small fraction of what I witnessed at Walmart this morning.
First, I've never seen anything like this in my life. You know how they have the school supplies all together in 4 or 5 very organized aisles? You couldn't get down them. They were packed with carts pushed by adult women tapping away on iPhones with ghetto nails while their unsupervised young'uns battled it out over the supplies. Grabbing, shoving, pushing, rude, snotty little turds. It looked like a plague of locusts had descended on those aisles and nothing was left but some broken boxes of Crayons and scattered sheets of notebook paper. I'd been there about 5 minutes when three Walmart workers finally showed up to stop the three kids who were opening packages of notebook paper and throwing them at each other. I decided the girls could take their old lunch boxes for the first day, and I'd get new ones Monday in the peace and calm.
Moving away from that section towards the food half of the store, I went by the registers. First, I've NEVER seen more than 5 registers open at a time. There were 9 lanes open and devoted to vouchers, 9 to 10 carts deep. And I'm telling you, these carts were overflowing with shit. There were two normal lanes open for non-voucher shoppers and of course the self-checkout lanes. I'll get back to this in a bit, still trying to process. I made it to the back of the store for a quick pit stop before getting the grocery items and getting the hell out of dodge. Walking into the bathroom was one of the saddest and most disgusting things I've ever seen. It was trashed, stank, and there were feminine products and feces clogging all the toilets. There was one woman standing at the sinks, crying, dressed in Salvation Army gear. She wasn't talking to me, but I could hear her saying, "It wasn't supposed to be like this, they're so ugly, it's just so wrong." I gave her an apologetic smile and left. Got my groceries in record time, practically no one on that side of the store, and scored two lunch boxes from a lonely little display in the seasonal aisle.
I got in one of the two regular lanes, about 5 or 6 back, and started observing the circus. And that's all I could think, "Not my monkeys, not my circus." Let's go back to the beginning of this post, remember the list of items? $10 backpack and $5 lunchbox? These people were trying to ram through $25-35 backpacks and $10-15 Igloo lunch boxes, tennis shoes, pushup bras and thongs, meat items, and one very belligerent woman had 4 12-packs of Bud Light. "Ma'am, only school items on the list." "But my chirrins need them for they lunches." "What?!" "My chirrins, they be needing them for they lunches! Bitch didn't you hear me?" "Ma'am, beer is not allowed in schools..." "Not these chirrin, my older chirrin! They needs these for they lunches!" "Manager to Register 3..." The Hispanic mamas didn't speak English and were relying on kids to translate. Try telling an 8-year-old they can't have the $12 Frozen lunch box because it isn't on the list. Then the whole RoseArt versus Crayola battle. The kids at the Salvation Army fair got RoseArt, almost half the cost of Crayola, and that's what the vouchers covered. But the RoseArt supplies were hardly touched and the Crayola was wiped out. At the registers, the fights started over, "My kids don't want none of that RoseArt shit, are you saying they ain't good enough for the good stuff? Only white kids get the good stuff?"
I was in line for 45 minutes. I got to see and hear more than I ever wanted. The "shoppers" were rude, angry, smug, and beyond ungracious. They attacked the cashiers, the managers, the poor old guy greeting at the door, and any shopper who didn't look like them. My fellow non-voucher shoppers were looking grimmer, angrier, and a little sick. I watched one brave/stupid older woman approach a very large woman with six kids hanging off her cart ($420+ of free stuff), and tell her "I know gratitude is beyond you, the least you could do is be polite." The oldest of the boys, about 12ish, menaced her, got in her face and said, "Fuck you, bitch! You owe us!", while momma smirked in approval. Two gentleman took her and her cart, hopefully all the way out to her car. I finally got checked out, and like all the non-voucher shoppers before me, exited the store by the doors closest to avoid having to walk the gauntlet. It hadn't taken long for the voucher shoppers to hone in on us. By the time I left, security guards had been placed in the alleyway between the registers and the little businesses (bank, eyeglasses, customer service,etc.)
So this was probably the first time I truly got a taste of how bad it's gotten, how far society has slipped, how poisoned the populace has become with entitlements. Some people, out of the goodness of their hearts, tried to do something nice for some people who didn't appreciate it in the least. Things are rapidly getting worse, but I'm ready.
The other side of the Entitlement Coin.