A Fool And Her Money (With Updates)

A friend of this blog emailed with a little blast from the past:

I read this FB post today:

“Money is incredibly tight right now but on the way home from working a double after 12 shifts straight I swung by the co-op because the kid has got to eat. After glancing over the $80 receipt from the 2 small bags of groceries I bought I see that I spent $12 on those 4 apples. WTF??? How is that even sane? Why is nonpoisonous food set to be available only for the elite? I will definitely be keeping a far closer eye on what I pick up at the Wedge. I’m still behind on my own rent and I had no intention of contributing to that yuppie store’s pretentious remodel. Pissed.”



She spends $12 buying 4 apples at the CoOp and then pisses and moans because she’s broke.

Lynette Foxen was one of the faces/voices in this commercial from 2010

Minnesotans Respond to Tom Emmer’s Plan to Cut Wages

That’s why we have Aldi, ma’am.  It was good enough for me and my two kids when i was scraping for change under bus seats; it’s good enough for you.

UPDATE (11/28/2016):  The subject of the original email I got responded.  Since she blocked my response to her very, very long reply on Facebook, I’ll put it here.


Quick response? Please don’t assume you know what I understand. I was a single parent for 11 years. For some of that time I was out of work. So I also had to choose between food and other bills, and I fed kids on straight-up staples for a very long time. Your stereotypes are just as wrong as some of my commenters’ are.

And yes – some of them WERE wrong. I don’t endorse everything that’s in my comment section, any more than the Strib does. Although as I made clear, I might have had some questions about your budget priorities (and yeah, I know it’s none of my business, and that’s just fine. I’m just say

But let’s be honest; you weren’t included in that ad because of all the nuance in  your story.  You were included for exactly the reasons I responded.  

But your friend is right. It’s advice I follow constantly. I’ve forgotten a thousand “asshats” in my years of writing.  Also stalkers, demented loonies and on and on. 

At any rate, I’ll leave you with this; I can see your point. It IS frustrating when you think other people misunderstand, or misrepresent, your motivations. To the extent that I did, I apologize – but let’s be honest, you were in a political ad.  You were put in there for deep context.   To the extent that I didn’t – spending extra (lots extra) on organic food was not a priority I had when i was very, very poor with kids. If you were a friend, I might have had a word with you about it.

Of course, there were some other things in your reply that I have screenshot.  Talking about “punching in the face” and “retaliation” is serious business where I come from.  


14 thoughts on “A Fool And Her Money (With Updates)

  1. She posted on Facebook. From a public computer in the public library that she reached after a long bus ride? Or from her home computer over high-speed internet or perhaps from her smart phone with unlimited data plan?

    John Scalzi wrote the best essay on poverty that I have ever read: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2005/09/03/being-poor/

  2. ” the 2 small bags of groceries “

    OK, other than the apples for $12 what cost $68 and only filled 1 1/2 small bags? Organic Yak Steaks and 2 free range Emu eggs?

  3. How ironic that the woman paints a beautiful picture of what poverty really is. To paraphrase one of Scalzi’s pictures of poverty, brown glass all over the sidewalk is a sign that your neighbors are squandering scant resources on beer and pop.

    To draw another picture of poverty, I’ve been feeding my family for over two decades on a budget that’s pretty close to what SNAP/Food Stamps recommends, and it’s hardly a deprivation–my doctor tells me that I could live on less, if you catch my drift. You simply have to (a) learn to cook and (b) stop buying packaging instead of food.

  4. I once read a biography of one of the early test pilots, late 1920’s, early 1930’s. The guy hated being a test pilot. It was dangerous and it didn’t pay very well, but it was the best paying job he could find. The alternative was to break up the family and send the wife and kids to live with whatever relatives would take them.
    Now that’s poverty.

  5. I started eating low-carb, a couple of years ago, and it’s done wonders for my health. But I still get remarks from my coworkers when I sit down in the lunchroom with my grilled steak and steamed asparagus. They’ve stopped, though, asking me how I can afford it.

    My steak and asparagus costs me $4, they’re spending twice that at Chipotle.

  6. Coincidentally, yesterday my spouse had training at the school where she works. There is an Aldi nearby that she only goes to during the school year. Yesterday she stopped by for the first time since last May and picked up a few things. She told me that she spent probably 75% of what she would have spent at the grocery store she normally goes to near our home. And roughly the same price per each item that the wholesale club sells it for without having to buy a case of the item.
    Both of our parents grew up in the depression/WWII and didn’t have ‘food security’ (particularly my father). Even though our parents are in retirement and well off, they continue to clip coupons, look for specials, go to the store that has the best price for an item, etc. That’s the thing about the prosperity our country has – convenience and having to have “wants” fulfilled is considered a prime responsibility of government. Interesting that regulation, work rules and energy costs (much of it regulated and mandated by government) has caused prices to increase much higher than they might have if a small, crony free government existed.

  7. Sef; overall, your assessment of buying by the case, is spot on Sometimes though, it makes sense to buy stuff by the case to drive down the cost per unit. For instance, we make a lot of casseroles during fall, winter and spring, so buying cases of Campbell’s cream and tomato soup, makes cheaper meals. My wife and sister in law, bake a bunch during the holidays, so cases of condensed milk make sense.

    We shop for meat once per month to six weeks, so we buy bulk hamburger, chicken, pork chops, lunch meat etc, then separate it at home in vacuum bags and freeze. I have been able to cut our costs there by 44% on average.

  8. BH429 – Agreed. We use the warehouse store for bulk buys like you describe. We’re not “one of us” so we don’t do a lot of casseroles / hot dish – but the kids like to make their own soup and Kraft dinner so we do buy way that by the case.

  9. Wait a minute. I can go to the grocery store and spend less than $2 for a bunch of bananas. I can fill up a bag with $1 tv dinners. It seems like maybe if this person looks for cheaper food they can easily find it.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  10. Sef; yea! When my kids were in college, we brought lots of cases of Kraft mac & cheese dinners with us when we visited. 🙂

  11. Ah, Memory Lane. My first job out of college – in Phoenix, back in ’79 – allowed me a grocery budget of $25 every two weeks. I shopped at one of the first warehouse stores where I could get 5 cans of Rosarita Refried Beans for $1. I found that refried beans make for an acceptable sandwich spread, especially on toast with mustard. Of course, mustard was an extra expense, but I splurged. Didn’t buy any Grey Poupon, though.

  12. No one else has noticed that she didn’t seem to check the price of the items she put in her grocery cart until AFTER she had paid for them… really? they have these GREAT BIG SIGNS (and typically scales for checking weight) when you take them out of their produce rack…

    “Sources” allege that she’ll be seeking the DFL endorsement for her local House seat in 2016 on the platform of increasing education spending.

  13. I believe that you’ve missed the entire point of her rant.
    It’s not about being broke, it’s about the fact that it cost her $12 for 4 apples.
    It’s about food elitism but apparently all you can do is post a poorly written blog to make yourself appear somehow “better” than she is. You aren’t.
    Let me also tell other readers that the wedge is in fact deceptive with their produce signage and such especially during their remodeling.
    How many times did they move the bulk coffee again?
    Just a thought that maybe you should check yourself a bit before you dig yourself even further into a hole.
    You sound like an arrogant creeper so it’s no wonder as to why she blocked you .
    One more thing, IT’S FACEBOOK FFS. How high are you where you are so emotionally attached to it let alone another person’s post? It’s almost as if you’re some misogynistic twat who has too much time on his hands.

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