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Food Stamps Altering How Retailers Do Business
Reuters ^ | December 20th 2009

Posted on 12/20/2009 11:40:43 AM PST by Steelfish

Food Stamps Altering How Retailers Do Business Record number of Americans — 37 million — depend upon the benefit

By Nicole Maestri and Lisa Baertlein

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES - At 11 p.m. on the last day of the month, shoppers flock to the nearest Walmart. They load their carts with food and household items and wait for the midnight hour. That's when food stamp credits are loaded on their electronic benefits transfer cards.

"Once the clock strikes midnight and EBT cards are charged, you can see our results start to tick up," says Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart Stores Inc's chief financial officer.

As food stamps become an increasingly common currency in a struggling U.S. economy, they are dictating changes in how even the biggest retailers do business.

From Costco to Walmart, store chains are rethinking years of strategy as they watch prized customers lose jobs and turn to this benefit, the stigma of which is disappearing not just in society, but in corporate America.

Besides staffing up for the spike in shoppers on the first day of the month, retailers are adjusting when and what they stock, updating point-of-sale systems to accept food stamps and shifting expansion plans to focus on lower-income shoppers.

Take Costco Wholesale Corp, a warehouse club operator that caters to middle income Americans who must pay $50 a year to shop in its stores. Nudged along by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who threatened legal action, Costco began accepting food stamps at a few New York stores in May. It now plans to clear the payments in all of its 413 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ebt; foodstamps

1 posted on 12/20/2009 11:40:44 AM PST by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

Are EBT cards the same as food stamps? I saw my local Taco Bell say they accept them now. And I was dismayed.


2 posted on 12/20/2009 11:46:26 AM PST by Munson
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To: Steelfish
Further evidence of the Everybody Get Some (Federal Dollars)!(tm) philosophy of the Obama Administration. Sigh.

While the article mentions superficially some demographics on food stamp recipients, did they mention race, or did I overlook that?

3 posted on 12/20/2009 11:47:24 AM PST by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: Steelfish
Nudged along by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who threatened legal action, Costco began accepting food stamps at a few New York stores in May.

"Nudged along"?! More like gestapo-ed along!

4 posted on 12/20/2009 11:50:23 AM PST by Sister_T (Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is still stealing ... Exodus 20:15)
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To: All
Winco just opened a store nearby. I has a sign that says they don't except the EBT cards.

I told the clerk that if they started I would not be shopping at the store do to the Riff Raff that would be coming in.
She agreed and as the employee's at Winco also owners that she would bring it up to management that we did want them to take the cards.

5 posted on 12/20/2009 11:56:51 AM PST by troy McClure
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To: troy McClure

Hmmmm....I may have to shop at WINCO after all....I have avoided them....don’t much like their stores.


6 posted on 12/20/2009 12:00:14 PM PST by goodnesswins (Become a Precinct Committee Person/Officer....in the GOP...or do NOT complain.)
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To: Munson
You were saying ...

Are EBT cards the same as food stamps? I saw my local Taco Bell say they accept them now. And I was dismayed.

Well, I can't say for sure, but only give you what I think is true... :-)

I thought that Food Stamps were for foods that you had to prepare (at leat somewhate) thereby leaving out fast foods and stuff like that. I mean, people can get potato chips and pop, but not Subway sandwiches and Burger King... :-)

However, I think some people may have a "cash portion" to their food stamp card, so they may be spending the cash part and not the food stamp part on things like that.

Perhaps someone else with some direct knowledge on the situation could fill us both in... :-)

7 posted on 12/20/2009 12:01:34 PM PST by Star Traveler (At Christmas - remember to keep "Christ" in the One-World Government that we look forward to)
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To: Munson

They can also use them at convenience stores.

Any type of retail merchant can accept cash benefit EBT cards.

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is the identification card for the SNAP/Food Stamp Program. On the back is a magnetic strip that works in the machine at the grocery store.

Eligible food items include:

any food products or ingredients used to prepare meals at home

cold prepared sandwiches, salads, and other deli items

ethnic and health foods

snack foods, candy, soda, and ice

If you are elderly or disabled, you can use your SNAP food stamps to pay for approved home-delivered meals such as Meals on Wheels, or for meals at senior housing, Dining Centers, or other group meals.

People in drug/alcohol treatment programs, homeless shelters, shelters for battered women, and certain other group living situations can use SNAP food stamps to pay for their meals.


8 posted on 12/20/2009 12:02:19 PM PST by kcvl
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To: Steelfish

Read the article twice. Didn’t read anywhere in there that Seenyor Zambrano had a job. So I guess he’s also munching at the govermnent trough.


9 posted on 12/20/2009 12:02:56 PM PST by CTOCS (...and man will live forever more, because of Christmas Day.....)
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To: Steelfish
As food stamps become an increasingly common currency in a struggling U.S. economy government campaign toward permanent dependence

Fixed it.

10 posted on 12/20/2009 12:05:28 PM PST by denydenydeny (The Left sees taxpayers the way Dr Frankenstein saw the local cemetery; raw material for experiments)
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To: troy McClure
You were saying ...

Winco just opened a store nearby. I has a sign that says they don't except the EBT cards.

Well that won't last long, as things get tighter and tighter... LOL...

Around here in Tulsa, I don't see a single place that sells food that doesn't have it.

I used to have to handle actual "food stamps" many long years ago, in the retail food business. I remember the hassles of that one.. :-) But these days, with the electronic cards, it's absolutely a "nothing" for the retailer to handle them, so the handling aspect of it would not be a problem.

11 posted on 12/20/2009 12:05:44 PM PST by Star Traveler (At Christmas - remember to keep "Christ" in the One-World Government that we look forward to)
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To: Steelfish

A company like Wal-Mart could make a lot of friends right now by fully embracing, and enhancing, the food stamp culture. A lot of it would be very low cost to Wal-Mart as well.

To start with, they already have a huge database of customer purchases, and could quickly figure out about how many of their customers are using food stamps at particular stores. From there, they could make a courtesy “long term food plan” for their customers, so that they can optimize their food purchases. It could also include a small recipe book.

Because produce arrives seasonally, Wal-mart gets inundated with, say, potatoes, at a particular time. So the long term food plan is balanced with these arrivals, and food stamp recipients get an extra “heads up” about big produce sales.

So they would advise them to buy a 10 pound sack of potatoes, even though they don’t need that many right now. Then make mashed potatoes to freeze. This overlaps into the next month or two, so they don’t have to buy potatoes then as well, they can buy other things.

Because Wal-Mart has the brain power and the purchasing power, they could have a multiplicative effect on their food stamp users rations. This would benefit both Wal-Mart and its customers, big time.

And make a lot of friends.


12 posted on 12/20/2009 12:05:55 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: kcvl

On the cold prepared deli sandwiches, it’s only if they are prepackaged and pre-made. In my deli, I cannot “make” them a ham and cheese and have them charge it to EBT.

Yes, some states have a cash allowance. Virginia does not so I know little to nothing about it. I do know that my POS system does not accept the cash benefit from out a staters.


13 posted on 12/20/2009 12:07:26 PM PST by CTOCS (...and man will live forever more, because of Christmas Day.....)
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To: Steelfish

A smoking chicken in every pot and some pot for every smoking chicken !


14 posted on 12/20/2009 12:17:30 PM PST by ATOMIC_PUNK (Screaming in Agony they ran to the Government But then Realized from whence the Agony came !)
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To: troy McClure

Spoken like a true Republican! When you wonder why your party has gone down the tubes, except as the party of reactionary anger at the Dems, just go take a look in the mirror.

parsy, who used to be like you, then became a Democrat


15 posted on 12/20/2009 12:45:34 PM PST by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: parsifal
parsy, who used to be like you, then became a Democrat

Sounds like you are getting on board to avoid internment. LOL!

16 posted on 12/20/2009 1:37:21 PM PST by 11Bush
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To: 11Bush

No. I got p*ssed when Bush signed the bankruptcy Reform Bill back in 2001 and changed from GOP (after 30 years) to Dems. I got tired of the stupid party so I joined the criminal party. Plus, as a democrat I get to vote more than once.

I do think the GOP has lost any semblance of humanity it may have had (due in large part to the libertarian influence) and I suspect as we continue to go into a financial depression, being the party of the rich is not going to be a good thing. The GOP may get a dead cat bounce off Obama, but the party is leaderless and clueless.

Not everybody on food stamps is “riff raff”. Some are. Some are just pure lazy. Others aren’t. Sickness, loss of job, and old age all make it necessary sometimes. I don’t think you can stick everybody in the same pile.

Like this brave young lady:

http://blogs.uncommonwisdomdaily.com/red-hot-energy-and-gold/hot-new-trades-debtors-revolt-and-more/

parsy, who just found this young lass who has fired the first shot in the American Debtor Revolution. . .


17 posted on 12/20/2009 1:49:10 PM PST by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: kcvl

“Eligible food items include:

any food products or ingredients used to prepare meals at home

cold prepared sandwiches, salads, and other deli items

ethnic and health foods

snack foods, candy, soda, and ice”

My one gripe about food stamps. You can buy junk food with them at a convenience store but not hot prepared food.


18 posted on 12/20/2009 2:01:30 PM PST by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: Steelfish

When I was a cashier at Wal-Mart I broke down those using food stamps like this. 1/4 was persons who really needed them such as the handicapped. I don’t think even the most misery would of had a problem with them using it and of all the users it seemed to me they was the most embarrassed in using food stamps.

About half the people was situational. They either had unemployment or big expenses happen or else they made some poor decisions. Many of those would be on food stamps only as long as they was having problems. It is my belief that professional counseling in money management could reduce many of these people from the rolls.

1/4 was obvious moochers, their kids would buy candy bars and pop like they was free on the card. Best choices of meat and luxury foods and most times their carts was filled with expensive non-food items which they had money to buy. They was also the rudest and most entitled group of food stamp users.

It would break my heart to see someone with obvious problems such as blindness count every penny economizing their purchases while the moochers was buying caviar (no fooling I had a guy buy caviar on food stamps)


19 posted on 12/20/2009 2:30:30 PM PST by Swiss (Reality don't seem real anymore)
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To: swmobuffalo; ErnBatavia

You can buy a wedding cake from a store bakery with food stamps. You can buy custom decorated birthday cakes, also! You can buy lobsters...
You get my drift!!


20 posted on 12/20/2009 10:07:46 PM PST by SortaBichy
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To: Steelfish
I think it is outrageous that these grocery stores and retail chains are making such obscene profits from selling food! Food is a human right. We need government run stores where people can get free food to compete with the private sector. Plus, if these publicly owned stores are making so much money off the government, the government should require them to only sell healthy food.
21 posted on 12/21/2009 6:49:16 PM PST by smokingfrog (Don't mess with the mocking bird! - http://tiny.cc/freepthis)
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To: SortaBichy

I understand your point about what they can buy.

My point was from first hand experience. You can buy junk at a convenience store but not hot prepared food. Doesn’t make sense.

And I’m not for sure but I think wedding cakes aren’t on the list of approved foods.


22 posted on 12/23/2009 4:48:40 PM PST by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: swmobuffalo; ErnBatavia

In California you can!


23 posted on 12/23/2009 9:47:56 PM PST by SortaBichy
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