My Welfare Rant
Posted by K. D. (+371) 12 years ago
Sorry if I offend anyone here.

A few weeks ago, I was in a local grocery, and a lady in front of me bought $320 worth of T-bones, rib-eyes, and babyback ribs (mostly rib-eyes and T-bones). I thought she was buying all this meat for a BBQ or something. When I got up to the checkout, her total wasn't cleared out yet, and it said "Food Stamps".

Who do I complain to to report this? I believe that everyone is entitled to a luxury every once in a while, but this was way beyond that.

I guess I am p#ssed off, because when I was laid off, I could not get any help because I "made to much" from the local welfare dept. But, this woman (who looks like she hasn't missed a meal in decades, 350 lbs+) can get food stamps to live better than most of us.

Just got to thinking $320/350 lbs almost equals $1/lb. Maybe they get paid by the pound.

[This message has been edited by K. D. (3/19/2010)]
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Posted by Tolby Lehner (+70) 12 years ago
ya that kinda pisses me off to, i feel that the program is there for people who need it too, and that it is bullcrap such as someone getting laid off or laid up, and cant get the money for temporary assistance.. that is dumb.. it would have been much different if this lady did not buy the store up of steaks and such, maybe if she bought a couple T-bones with it for her bday or somethin but enough for a bbq jesus christ what is this country coming to.. and as for the food stamps going for a single mother to buy an occassional box of sugary cereal or a snickers bar, i feel that is fine, unless the lady was gonna host a bbq for everyone in the town with the food stamp boughten steaks to give back to the community! i highly doubt that was in her plans....... good conversation to bring up this really needs to be addressed, and at about the perfect time with healthcare reform!!!!!!
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Posted by reno (+20) 12 years ago
Tamily, you should report the people who said that to the corporate office, depending on how long ago it was, as they would be fired for those actions.

But here is a story and sorry if it is long, but it goes along with the welfare subject.

My wife was diagnosed with a mental disorder. She was given two different medications to take to help her with it. A month later she was airlifted from Reno to San Francisco because she had an allergic reaction to the medication (1 in a 100 million chance for this reaction) She just switched jobs and had no insurance at the time. To get a liver transplant, we had to apply for welfare (medicaid) for insurance and luckly the company she used to work for (walmart) picked her back up on their insurance plan as we used all of our deductable from our child earlier that year. The only reason we got welfare is we both had no income at the time, that is the only reason why. Because of welfare and walmart, she was able to get a liver transplant. (she was stat 1A meaning the next liver available was hers, she coded the morning of the transplant and would have died the next day if she did not get one) After we got back, I went back to work and my income for a family of 4 was 5 dollars over the limit to recieve help. My insurance at my work would not take her cause of her pre exisiting condition. The welfare office said to get divorced and she could get help, and we did. She got denied after that too because she made too much from social security and my child support. Now, her medication cost $2500 a month with no insurance, and her labs cost $1000 a month, and that was more than what we brought home. So to keep her living we had to beg from family members to help. We finally got some help from a charity, and now she is on medicare and has insurance after two years of struggling. So does the welfare system suck, yes it does. They said if it was a kidney and not a liver she would qualify for welfare, and the reason was you need a kidney to live, and I was irate and asked "you don't need a liver to live???" I was escorted out of the welfare office as I said loudly, ok i screamed "I bet if I was a mexican who just jumped the border I would get all the help I need!" So long story short, I did not want to use the welfare system, but had no other choice. And when we really needed it to keep her alive and keep a roof over our head, they pretty much told us to screw off. Oh, to qualify for medicaid here in nevada, after 6 months of being on medicaid, a family of three only can make $435, so how can you live on that?

Now, if you feel that someone is abusing the system by buying steaks or not claiming people or income in their house and you can prove it, then report it to the fraud division. But like someone said, who cares what they buy. Would you rather them be living on the street?? Also, until you know the situation, do not judge.

Also, how bad is the unemployment rate in MC? Not a lot of job opportunities there, that is why I moved.
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Posted by dudemeister (+87) 12 years ago
I think that the day that woman was buying those steaks, must have been that really good sale. Ya know- buy1 get 1. those rock. I hit em up all the time. Food stamps, been there done that. I work to support my fam but sometimes wish I still had that help. I'm not ashamed cuz I know I needed that help & I in a way earned it. Just cuz that woman in the 1st post was "FAT" doesn't mean squat. My older brother weighs double what I do & I can out eat him.

Ya I'm a lil slow to the topic here & could've said this a while ago but 1st time reading it.
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Posted by jlyn (+20) 12 years ago
Maybe she has a deep freezer and spans it out...are ya really going to worry that much about it?
Taxes have to be paid regardless of how it's distributed. There are far worse things in life than being upset about something as silly as what part of a cow someone is eating. The world is in chaos with war, earthquakes, tragedies, sickness, murders, etc. Maybe the focus should be on helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
You know, sometimes it's hard to count your blessings when you're too busy looking/worrying at what others have. Give thanks to what you have because there are so very many that have so much less.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+753) 12 years ago
When I lived in Charleston I had neighbors who used food stamps as currency. He was a drug dealer and she was a hooker. They gladly accepted food stamps for their goods and services. And traded them for things they needed. It gets to be such a way of life that it must feel like normal behavior after a while.
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Posted by Heath H (+642) 12 years ago
In the late 80's I was in a dice game in a bad neighborhood. There was cash going out and in and plenty of action. One guy threw down a bill I didn't recognize. The game stopped, all the chatter softened and all at once a collective roar of laughter went up when we realized what the bill was. A $10 food stamp. It played. Ah yes, those were good times.
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Posted by Chris Peterson (+162) 12 years ago
it sure is easy to tell the ones financially set and those who have had to rely on the system. being in the latter stages of parkinsons myself, i understand about the shortfalls of the current system. i have also been on both sides of most fences and looking back have learned that unless i know the whole story, i am probably not going to. Like when something is stolen. unless you see the act, you really do not know who no matter what the circumstantial evidence says. now if i can just remember my own [email protected][email protected]@[email protected][email protected]!
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Posted by Christen LeBlanc Ramsey (+273) 12 years ago
i overheard a conversation had via cellphone (loudly and quite in public) the lady said, 'you need a sack? how much food stamps you got? yeah, yeah i'll take that. you take me to groceries and you get the sack.'
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Posted by Tori (+198) 12 years ago
I always believed welfare, food stamps and such were supposed to be used as a stepping stone not as a way of life. I don't think the majority believe in that anymore.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+753) 12 years ago
EXACTLY, Tori. But, when is government gonna start pushing a return to good old American values and morals?
I don't know. Maybe when we start caring enough to discuss it and take a stand?
Vote responsibly. Encourage others to do likewise.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 12 years ago
Unfortunately, these days, voting responsibly means staying home.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
Peasants get the government they deserve.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18254) 12 years ago
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Posted by spacekace (+886) 12 years ago
Sorry to bring this thread back to life, but I had an interesting encounter with a lady using food stamps. I had to get a few things at Wal-Mart, after collecting what I wanted to purchase in a basket, I headed for the nearest checkout. I got behind a lady that had a full basket, and she put her items on the belt and swiped a card. The checker then tells her the balance that she owes, which was something like $63. She looked up at the checker, with a completely puzzled look and said in broken english, I don't understand, I have over $200 left in food stamps. The checker then had to explain to the lady that she couldn't purchase non food items with food stamps, and the lady pulled a pre-paid cell phone and phone card out of the bags and handed it back to the checker. Which brought her total of non-food items to $20, which she paid for with a debit card...
As an observer, I thought for a good hour about this situation...
Do you feel sorry for the lady, because she did not know she couldn't buy a cell phone with food stamps?
Was she just trying to sneak these items by in hopes that the food stamp card would just pay for them?
Are you glad that at least the government has a system now, that will not allow them to purchase non-food items with the card?
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2307) 12 years ago
I honestly don't care how stupid she may be, because it is obvious. If you get FOOD stamps from the government, doncha think they are for FOOD only? You can't fix stupid....

[This message has been edited by Josh Rath (3/31/2010)]
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Posted by polar bear (+511) 12 years ago
A phone is a required to get most jobs. She may not have a land line. Homeless people also need cells as a form of safety. I think that until you have lived in the same conditions, there is an awful lot about survival that you take for granted.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
You may not be able to fix stupid, but perhaps you can learn empathy.
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Posted by souix (+303) 12 years ago
Like Steve, my husband had a similar experience when he was working with a civic group taking Christmas food baskets to families. They went to a very nice home to deliver a basket. One of the people asked why the occupants would need a food basket and was told that the husband had wiped out the family's bank account and left the week before Christmas. I find it heartbreaking that people judge what a mother puts in her cart, just because she is down on her luck. Perhaps she should feed her family starches.then then you could complain how fat her children are.

You have no idea how she was going to serve the meat; perhaps she used it in stir fry with plenty of vegetables. I have often found that purchasing a steak is cheaper than purchasing the "stir fry" meat. I love how everyone rags on welfare mothers, but give the big corporations a break on the corporate welfare they receive. I would venture a guess that we all reap the benefits of some government program.think of flood insurance program, the farms subsidies, business that use the interstate highway system, ect.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
I love how everyone rags on welfare mothers, but give the big corporations a break on the corporate welfare they receive.


It's the Christian thing to do.
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Posted by tax payer (+346) 12 years ago
What happened to people looking for work when there were no cells phones? Maybe they had to check in once a week to see if a job was available. So if they had no car, they had to walk and were a lot healthier than the welfare people now. Then being in shape and healthy they needed healthcare less. See where this is all going. I hear the governement is furnishing the pre-paid cell phones for welfare people.
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Posted by souix (+303) 12 years ago
Taxpayer,

Perhaps we should require them to wear a scarlet "W" around their necks.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
What happened to people looking for work when there were no cells phones? Maybe they had to check in once a week to see if a job was available.


I think the point is that this isn't the way the world works anymore.

If you want to become gainfully employed, you need some way of being contacted on the employer's timetable, not when it's convienient for the job seeker.

Since most of the jobs that we're talking about are the kind with flexible scheduling, once the job's been secured, the employer still expects to be able to contact the employee even when they're not actually at work.

So yeah, a cell phone isn't something only welfare queens in cadillacs full of t-bone steaks are going to have.

As for the rest... Yeah, maybe you can walk from one end of Miles City to the other in 15 minutes, but that doesn't really work even in Billings, although you might have a shot if you take the bus.

You know... like a poor person.

[This message has been edited by Bridgier (3/31/2010)]
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12379) 12 years ago
The free cellphones rumor has been debunked countless times so stop panicking. And yes, how can an employer contact you if you have no phone? That has been an issue for many, many years, long before cell phones came into play. I remember discussing it in Bozeman back in the 80's, when, according to the new historians, the economy was wonderific.
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Posted by spacekace (+886) 12 years ago
The lady must have had some other form of income, she used her debit card to pay for the rest of the non-food items... So I would imagine that she could save up and be able to pay for her cell phone, or get a landline...they are fairly inexpensive, or at least less than a cell phone, if she was to just make local calls... She told the checker that she did not know she couldn't buy the cell phone with the food stamps... Shouldn't someone have told her that food stamps are for food...and when you go to the store, if you buy something that you can't with food stamps...the machine will tell you to pay the balance with another form of currancy?
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Posted by Mindy B (+71) 12 years ago
I don't know why everyone thinks cell phones are so expensive now. I got by for two years with a cheap pre-paid phone from Wal-Mart and I only put $100 on it for the whole year. At the same time my Mid-Rivers land line was $27/month which comes out to over $300/year. Now I have a regular cell plan because when we moved I dropped the land line.

Anyway I assumed that eveyone understood that food stamps meant food but in the last year I heard two non-welfare people who are educated say things about it. One was trying to get non-food items donated to the food bank and that was one of the things she told me. The other was a commericial on the radio that informed people that food stamp won't buy personal items. This was thanking the community for donating non-food items to some charity; I can't remember the name.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1439) 12 years ago
I'm afraid I don't understand - do food stamps have some kind of criteria that either the holder or the store itself have to follow when they get used or do they represent coupon-type value or just money as long as it's through a grocery store?
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Posted by Heath H (+642) 12 years ago
Any stores accepting food stamps are required by federal law to adhere to a list of approved food items. Non-food items (and alcohol, cigarettes, pre-paid cell phones, etc.) are not supposed to be conveyed in exchange for food stamps.

The system is not 100% efficient. There are numerous small grocery/convenience stores that accept food stamps. I know of 8 stores in the general vicinity where I work that allow the purchase of non-food items with food stamps as currency. The non-food items are simply run through as milk, bread, fruit, etc.

Not just that, but there are certain stores that will sell a paper bag filled with cash that the users of food stamps can purchase with food stamps. The exchange rate is 50% cash for stamps. The small grocery stores with gas pumps will sell you a gallon of gas for $6 worth of food stamps.

I have been approached by food stamp recipients that hang out in from of Walmart and hawk their food stamps to customers entering the grocery area.

In the days before food stamp debit cards, there were food stamp books. The books were often used as currency. The same neighborhood stores were offering cash for those stamp books at the same 50% discount. Fraud is rampant and not preventable. Law enforcement and prevention is practically non-existent.
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Posted by tax payer (+346) 12 years ago
I agree to disagree on the welfare program.

[This message has been edited by tax payer (3/31/2010)]
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 12 years ago
Out at the Miles City "Pack", we have several people who save up their SNAP funds (food stamps) specifically to purchase a half of beef. I think this is wonderful, and I much prefer to see their monthly food dollars used for this purpose rather than the sugary stuff alluded to prior. At $2.50 per pound, you can get all of the cuts for less than the cost of most ground beef.

I agree with the prior posts about refraining from judgement, especially if you do not know all of the circumstances. For example, would it be okay for this welfare woman to buy the ribeyes, t-bones, etc., when she is getting it for less than the price of ground beef? What is the dollar per pound threshold that makes a purchase acceptable vs. unnacceptable?
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Posted by Chris Peterson (+162) 12 years ago
Responsibiltiy, accountability, integrity. we need these words back in mainstream America. We need to be able to quit picking on the other guy and start looking within. i am the only one i can really change, unless i want to shoot the other guy, but i am quite sure this is still illegal.
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Posted by KFC (+14) 12 years ago
Here's one to roll around and rationalize.We had an employee a few years ago that lived with his girlfriend for the first year while with us. Finally did the right thing in marrying the girl since they had 2 and one on the way. Shortly after that he came in the office and quit being a surprise we asked him what the problem was? He sheepishly looked at us and said they would loose all their welfare. Needless to say that went over like a match to a can of gas. My question would be is it the system or the person or both, My guess is both.
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Posted by TK (+1624) 12 years ago
Yeah, and unfortunately, it's people like that who make it IMPOSSIBLE for people like us to GET the help (temporarily) when we really need it!!! Which also means, not only are the "good people" unable to get the help because we "make too much", we also are supporting those dang people who are literally abusing the system! It sucks, but what do ya do? That's the LOVELY government for ya. And to make it worse, now we have this STUPID health reform thing. Yeah, never ending........
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6167) 12 years ago
I thought that there had been a reduction in the length of time one could receive welfare benefits. People can't be on food stamps for years, can they?
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Posted by Crash (+124) 12 years ago
Yes, one could be on foodstamps for a lifetime as long as he/she qualifies.

However, there is a limit that a family can receive temporary assistance for needy families (aka TANF) in most counties in Montana and I think that is 60 months (in a lifetime)? I think the citizens in counties with reservations can get TANF forever (as long as they qualify) and aren't limited to the 60 months.
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Posted by skoh (+330) 12 years ago
My thoughts about food stamps would be to make it more along the lines of the WIC program. With WIC vouchers, only certain food items (healthy items) can be purchased. Maybe if there was a way to only allow certain types of food - healthy food instead of allowing the purchase of a bakery made birthday cake, sugary snack items, etc. then people wouldn't be so opposed to seeing people in line at the grocery store full of these items. Would it possibly make other people feel better if they were behind a person who was using food stamps if they had a cart full of carrots, lettuce, milk, oatmeal, orange juice, meats, bread, apples, etc... you get the idea. My other thought is that certain non food items should be allowed, such as toilet paper, dish soap, cleaning products and hygiene items. The system is flawed, just as so many government run systems are. I also agree that we should have empathy and try to put ourselves in their place. There will always be the people who abuse the system. These people will be judged one day. It is not for us to do. We can be thankful that we're not in their shoes.
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Posted by Crash (+124) 12 years ago
The system wouldn't be so flawed if the State of Montana (backed by the Feds) would follow up and actually prosecute people who scam the food stamp system. All most of the defrauders get now is a slap on the wrist and an opportunity to pay back any overpayments they have received in small monthly instalments without any monetary penalties or interest.

It would be nice if the current laws and requirements (like mandatory work registration) were actually enforced in the food stamp program, before a new laundry list of regulations were voted in.

If the state and the feds can't enforce the current rules I don't know how successful they would be policing all the SNAP grocery carts.

And if we know of any retailers out there abusing the system, we should be able to turn them into the state in exchange for monetary rewards.

I say increase the budget of the fraud division in the state's welfare department and enforce the rules that aren't enforced and investigate the questionable households that may be abusing the system and those that are guilty, throw the book at them.
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Posted by souix (+303) 12 years ago
Wonder why this is anyone's business...or why they would need to inventory the grocery cart of someone who is down on their luck. The average welfare recipient is a young white woman with 1-2 children and she is on it for 18 months. Perhaps if we were less judgmental and more helpful she/he could get back on her/his feet sooner. If I recall how this thread started K.D. was angry because he/she did not qualify for this program (perhaps she has more than $3000 in assets). I am always amazed a lot of people want to limit a women's right to choose, yet are envious of the programs that help a single mother support her children. When you take into account the cost of child care, groceries, utilities, rent and other outlays, it is expensive to raise a child. All those who take the deduction for children are in a way having the government pay them back for having children.

No one would aspire to get welfare, because it is just not that much money or benefits and it is for a limited time (60 months total). Yes, like someone mentioned, there is always someone out there who has seen someone driving an expensive car, wearing a mink, with diamonds on each finger, purchasing groceries with food stamps. but I simply do not believe it. In my life time, I have stood in many a grocery lines and never seen anything like this. I Guess people who are down on their luck are easy targets for meddling people to attempt to intimidate.

I think I read in the Bible somewhere that we should all give 10% of our goods to feed the poor.guess Jesus had welfare people in his day.hope they did not eat the wrong food.
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Posted by Heath H (+642) 12 years ago
Can't escape that entitlement mentality, eh souix?
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
I always wonder why people think that life on welfare is so awesome that it's full of cheats.
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Posted by souix (+303) 12 years ago
McAllen, Texas is one of the largest recipients of government subsidies from healthcare to farm subsidies so I am sure you are feeding at the government trough .in one way or the other. They say the thing that people do not like in others is the thing they do not like in themselves..perhaps it is time for some introspect, Heath.

[This message has been edited by souix (4/1/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Z (+1004) 12 years ago
I have learned that things are not always as they seem. Years ago I worked in a grocery store, IGA to be exact. I too was frustrated and still remember a couple that came in regularly in a late model Lincoln Town Car and bought their groceries on food stamps. Fact of the matter is that may well have been the only thing they owned. Appearences are decieving. Welfare, when used properly, is a good tool to get people back on their feet. When taken advantage of it is shameful. Lets not judge our fellow citizens on perceptions alone.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 12 years ago
You're going to get kicked out of the club if you keep talking like that Steve...
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Posted by Steve Z (+1004) 12 years ago
Fine, I'll just take my ball and go home.
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Posted by polar bear (+511) 12 years ago
I like you Steve Z. Stick around. You have a good heart.
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Posted by Steve Z (+1004) 12 years ago
Ahh, now you're making me blush.
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Posted by Leif Hope (+96) 12 years ago
I know a good many families that are just a paycheck or two away from having to go on welfare and some a paycheck or two away from being homeless.

A sad and tragic reality in these tough economic times.
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Posted by Heath H (+642) 12 years ago
in these tough economic times



Every time I hear these words my ears bleed.
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Posted by Leif Hope (+96) 12 years ago
What should I have said? I hate to be responsible for ear bleeding.
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Posted by David Schott (+18229) 12 years ago
"Tough economic times" are grand times for pawn shop owners, huh, Heath?
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