Cindy Nerger of Warner Robins, Ga., who has been on a waiting list for kidney transplant for five years, was brought to tears at a supermarket last week when a clerk ridiculed her in the presence of other customers for using food stamps.
She said she and her husband aren't proud when they use their food stamp debit card to buy groceries. But Nerger said she never expected to be deliberately humiliated. That's what she said happened last week after she argued with a manager over her bill at a Kroger grocery store. The cashier told her she owed $10, which Nerger said could not be possible because she knew food stamps covered the items in her cart.
A manager eventually let her go, but not before giving Nerger a piece of his mind.
"He finally just said, 'Okay, just give it to her.' I said, 'See, I told you it was covered by food stamps,' and he said, 'Excuse me for working for a living and not relying on food stamps!'"
By that time, Nerger said, several people had been waiting in line behind her, and other customers had started watching the exchange. It was too much.
"I turned around and saw everyone beyond me and I just burst into tears," she said.
Nerger said she started receiving food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, when she became eligible for Medicare and Social Security Supplemental Income because of kidney failure in 2008. While she waits for a kidney transplant, she cannot work because of daily 12-hour dialysis treatments. Her husband runs a carpentry business. "If he doesn't get a call [for a job] we don't have any extra money for the month," she said.
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