Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Do You Know Someone Like This?

on February 5, 2013


A few months ago, Danny and I got a call from his troubled son.  Our son was complaining that he would have no place to sleep that night, so he was going to sleep behind a dumpster.  When Danny asked him where his paycheck was, that we knew he had received from his new job…he said, “I had to get a phone.”  So, between spending his paycheck on food and a place to stay, or sleeping behind a dumpster, he chose the dumpster.

When Danny questioned his decision, he said, “Dad, I’ve got to have a phone!”  Wow..priorities!

So, now we were expected to supply food and shelter to our son so he would be able to call his friends, cruise the internet or text to his heart’s delight.  Ahh..the joys of parenthood!  Well, we didn’t fall for his little ploy since a “little birdie” had already spilled the beans.  Yes, he was out of money because he didn’t just buy a phone, he bought a $200.00 phone.  Only the best for our young man.  But, the little birdie also informed us that he was not homeless, just broke and looking for some beer money.  So, Danny told him to be sure to bring a blanket with him to the dumpster.

Just before Christmas, our local news station reported on the great turnout at the Food Bank for a holiday meal.  The video showed a young man, carrying a two-year old, picking up his free groceries…WITH A SMARTPHONE glued to his ear!

Here in Florida, if you are on any kind of assistance, you can get a free phone with free minutes.  This enables you to search for work or call for help in emergencies.  It is a simple phone, no bells and whistles, but it gets the job done.  Not good enough for some people, I guess.  Much better to spend what little money you have on an expensive phone, instead of using that money for food and shelter.

Now you may argue that someone who is looking for work has to have a cell phone so they can call employers or the employers can call them.  OK, I hear you.  But, consider this.  How did we ever get a job before cell phones?  I’ll tell you how, we had a home phone.  This phone was not only useful for making calls, we had voice mail to handle any calls we missed while we were pounding the pavement for a job.  Again, there are programs that will pay for these phones 100%, so what’s the problem?

People need to stop making bad choices and focus on the needs of their family, not their selfish wants.



15 responses to “Do You Know Someone Like This?

  1. Susan Norden says:

    I had a stepson once in a previous life who “needed” to borrow $400 to get a DNA test to see if the baby his girlfriend was carrying was his. He “needed” to borrow this money because he already spent his money on some rock concert. I was against loaning the kid the money (he was no kid, by the way; he was around 27 years old and working), but his father loaned it to him anyway.

    • Wow, another real test of priorities! A lifetime of child support for a child that might not be yours…or a totally unmissable rock concert.

      I feel your pain. You are but 1/2 of a team…sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But, I found I have to pick my battles and luckily in this case, my teammate agreed with me.

      • Susan Norden says:

        Thankfully, I am out of that marriage and in one now with a man who is on the same page with me on almost everything. He wouldn’t put up with that kind of garbage, and of course, neither would I. I just don’t get some people and their priorities, either. 😦

  2. Aurora says:

    I do know a few people like this, but sadly they have almost become a stereotype of the “poor” everyone “can’t stand.”

    Sorry. I am not saying that is what you are getting at here, but it is a pet peeve of mine. These sorts of people give the poor who actually need help a bad name. I should know, because, being disabled, with a small child to raise, I am one of them.

    I do have a cell phone. It is not the fanciest, but I get whatever the nicest free phone available is when my contract renews. I do not have cable tv, and split the cost of our internet with a roommate. My computer is used and was gotten from a scratch and dent sale of pre-leased laptops. I do not have a luxury car, truthfully I have no car at all. We make do with living in one room of an apartment otherwise occupied by a roommate I can’t stand, because rents around here are more than my entire income per month.

    Oh how I wish I had the high on the hog lifestyle some people seem to think I have. I am not ranting at you, but yes people like that drive me crazy too. The only thing that drives me even crazier is unfairly being stereotyped as one of them, which happens to me frequently.

    • Oh, please, please do not mistake me. In these economic times, people like you struggle and get treated like lesser humans because of receiving any kind of assistance. I know that and I hate that prejudicial thinking.

      I was a welfare mom. I received Food Stamps. And, I struggled, like you are now, with feeding and sheltering 3 young kids by myself. I have been in your shoes and will fight for your good name always.

      This was not about people who are on assistance. This is about people who make bad decisions, and I think you’ve recognized that.

      Please accept my apologies if you think that I view any parent struggling to support their kids today as “losers” or 2nd class citizens. That was never and will never be my intentions.

  3. Aurora says:

    I didn’t mean to make you feel on the spot, and understand what you are saying. I know not everyone looks at people in that light, but many do and it’s hard sometimes.

    My husband has been looking for work for some time, but has a severe hearing impairment, and as of such, no one wants to give him a chance at working. Social Security turned him down, and we are in the process of trying to get an appeal hearing, which we are told can take up to two years to happen. He is college educated and one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, but sadly people sometimes people think of people with a disability as incapable mentally.

    We do receive medical assistance, but it won’t pay for a hearing aid for anyone over the age of 18 or under 65 years of age. It is impossible for him to hear at all without one, and the one he presently has is over a decade old and starting to go bad on him. We aren’t sure how much a new hearing aid would improve his hearing, if it would at all, but its about all we can think of trying. Life seems to be a big catch 22 that way. He needs a new hearing aid to help him find work, but we can’t afford one until he finds work. It’s enough to make you scream sometimes.

    Meanwhile they are talking further cutbacks, and I wonder how those wealthy fat cat politicians sleep at night. I wish they would have to live on the minimum in social security for a few months before they decide what is “enough” for someone to live on.

    • I so hope that things will turn around for you soon. Have you tried some of the organizations that help the disabled? It’s so sad when people are willing to work and are held up by the government’s red tape in order to get the medical assistance they need.

      My thoughts and prayers go with you and your family!

  4. I’d like to move this discussion beyond individuals and their choices – be they wise or not by mine or anyone else’s yardstick. I’d like to pose a bigger issue. We live in a culture that strongly promotes having things – the latest smart phone or whatever. This comes at people all the time, in every way imaginable and it has a strong effect. People want things in this culture and they want those things where they can really afford them or not. Our culture is also about having things right now. Our culture does not validate or honour waiting, delaying gratification, etc. etc. etc. I could say a lot more but I think you will know what I mean. Yes – individuals can make choices and maybe some people should make different choices – but let’s at least admit how hard that can be. Thanks for allowing me my own little rant.

    • I agree with you. Part of the problem is the advertising pushed into our faces each day. We are led to believe that life would be incomplete without the newest greatest phone.

      We sometimes forget to be grateful for what we have, our family, our kids or a home to live in. Peer pressure is also rampant…a teen without a phone is singled out or made to feel inadequate by her/his peers.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. mewhoami says:

    I do know people like this. They want all the fancy stuff, but then they don’t have clothes for their kids or food to put in their hungry stomachs. What really irritates me is driving past a torn down apartment building with small kids running around outside dirty, unkept and unsupervised. Meanwhile, I can clearly see through their living room windows these massive widescreen tvs which I am positive their parents are glued to. Where are the priorities these days? As for telling your son “be sure to bring a blanket with him to the dumpster” – that is great! Sometimes that’s the only way people can learn. If we continually bail them out, they’ll never learn anything. Tough love.

  6. sarahcradit says:

    This is also a pet peeve of mine. The one that upsets me the most, though, are the individuals who go on public assistance and then spend their non-assistance cash on unnecessary stuff. We were at Walmart the other day and this woman in front of us had over $200 in iphone accessories she purchased (and she, and both her daughters, were carrying rather nice Coach bags), and then paid for groceries with her EBT card. I understand wanting nice things, I do. But if you can afford to spend that much on frivolous things, then you should not be accepting assistance paid for by others. It is fraud.

    You did the right thing with your son; enabling someone isn’t helping. People have to learn to stand on their own.

    • Thanks for reading. Yes, unfortunately, there are always some people who will abuse a system that was meant to help families. I always hope that “what goes around, comes around” applies to people who cheat that system and they will get caught!

  7. AH says:

    In Kenya, you hear people in Mombasa complaining abotu not having money for food when they show up in weddings wearing the best of clothes to show off to people. It makes me sick sometimes

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