Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting by on nothing in America, in the words of some who wrote about it on Reddit

Many of America's poor are fighting a losing battle to improve their station, mainly because it costs more to be poor, Max Ehrenfreund reports for The Washington Post, drawing from a discussion thread on Reddit: "an extraordinary thread full of devastating stories about what it's like to get by with nothing in the United States of 2015."

Being denied a checking account means paying a fee to cash a check. Not having disposable money means buying items in smaller quantities or on credit—which costs more in the long run—or having to purchase something at the marked price, without having the ability to wait for a sale.

"It's easy to feel that "when you are poor, the 'system' is set up to keep you that way," in the words of one Reddit user," Ehrenfreund writes, quoting others:

"When you are broke, you can't plan ahead or shop sales or buy in bulk. Poor people wait to buy something until they absolutely need it, so they have to pay whatever the going price is at that moment. If ten-packs of paper towels are on sale for half price, that's great, but you can only afford one roll anyway. In this way, poor people actually pay more than others for common staple goods."

"I buy 'fish' antibiotics online because I can't afford health care. . . . Amoxicillin and such. Mostly for husband who has Lyme's disease. We can't afford our monthly health care rates. We are 30-somethings in the US. Really feel like a 'bottom feeder'."

"I'm making $150-$200 a week, and I need new shoes. So I can buy $60 shoes that will last, or $15 Walmart shoes. So I buy the Walmart shoes and some groceries instead of just the $60 shoes and no groceries. Three months later I'll need new shoes again. But I'll also have to pay rent, and my light bill is due. So I'll pay the light bill and buy some 'shoe glue' for $4 to fix my shoes for another few weeks until I can buy the $15 ones again."

One writer who admitted to regularly raiding dumpsters wrote, "I grew up in a fairly rural area. When that happened? I know that in winter, grey squirrel tastes [expletive] gross. Sure, people from the South can claim that their brown and red squirrels are delicious, but I would rather eat [expletive] out of a pig's ass than eat another bite of goddamn squirrel meat. Or jackrabbit. Or goddamned dandelion greens." (Read more)

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