Mother publicly shamed for using WIC benefits to buy fruit and vegetables

Jun 12, 2018
08:34 A.M.

A cashier at an Albertsons grocery store shamed a woman for using WIC benefits to buy fruits and vegetables for her family.


A Facebook user, Amanda Arnlund, shared details about the incident she witnessed at a store in Gresham, Oregon, in May 2018.

A mother who was buying fruits and vegetables using the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits was shamed at a grocery store.

A cashier of an Albertsons store in Gresham, identified as Debbie by the Facebook post, commented about the African-American for getting her ‘free stuff.’

Arnlund said that she was standing with her mother behind the woman, who was utilizing the benefits given to low-income women who are pregnant or have children up to five years old.

According to the post, the woman was short of a few dollars. Arnlund’s mother offered to pay the difference when she realized that the woman in front of her was short by $12.

The WIC benefit coupons did not cover all of the groceries and she still had some fruits and vegetables to buy.


However, the cashier did not think it was a good idea. ‘The cashier said, “no,” very abruptly, with a rude tone.’ She then went on to shame her customer saying she had already got her ‘free stuff from WIC’ and that she did not need anybody else paying her way.

Arnlund added that the cashier was probably in her 60’s and was Caucasian. She claimed that Debbie went on to say, ‘Well, that’s what “they” do, they keep on having kids and getting handouts.’

The post made it clear that Arnlund was not sure if the word ‘they’ was intended to have a racial connotation or meant to refer to those who receive the federal assistance program.

Everyone in the store was in a state of shock, while Arnlund’s mother left the store after paying for her own groceries. She did call the store back once she was home.

She spoke to the manager, Ron, who said he could not terminate her.

Arnlund said she and her mother agreed that ‘compassion’ for another being and ‘basic human decency’ was missing in the world. She strongly felt that something needs to be done about it and she could not let it happen in the US.

The post went viral in no time and was shared by more than nine thousand times.


Albertsons issued a statement apologizing for the incident. The company said it was not ‘at the core of who we are as a company and member of this community.’

The USDA website mentions that WIC benefits include infant cereal, fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, canned fish, whole-wheat bread and other foods to supplement nutrition in children.

Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.

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