Wednesday, December 26, 2007

AverageBro Rewind: The Welfare Mother In The Mercedes Benz

[It's the holidays, which probably means you guys aren't working, much less checking blogs. So, in the spirit of Christmas, is re-gifting some of the posts that took AB from an obscure office worker with a blog to an obscure office worker with an award winning blog in less than 6 months. Plus, you get added DVD Commentary!]

A few months back, my wife had a particularly bad incident at a local grocery store, and called to tell me about it. I wasn't in the midst of a great day myself, so this ended up being blog material, in the form of the very controversial post, The Welfare Mother In the Mercedes Benz (aka: F**k Giant Food). The post gained some steam around les Internetes, even landing on a few conservative political sites, uplifted as an example of why the welfare system doesn't work (WTH?). I won't even bother regurgitating the story, I think you just have to read it to understand.

In retrospect, I made some mistakes in the post. I perhaps made it too personal by mentioning too much about my wife, her car, and our home. Some commenters clearly took offense with this, lobbing insults at my wife (for being pampered), me (for being too materialistic and bourgeois), and even the baby (for needing organic food). There was a somewhat surprising pattern to the comments, it seemed to be that men agreed that they'd be equally pissed if their wives were treated like that, while women thought my wife and I were being too snooty.

I think that by focusing too much on my wife's accomplishments and appearance (particularly her looks), I painted what many saw as an elitist portrait of your typical welfare recipient, by implying that my wife should in no way be mistaken for one. I'm pretty sure this is what undermined my overall point, which was that nobody should be assumed to be one. Again, live and learn.

Many of you have asked what happened since then. I simply forgot to provide a followup before now, but long story short, the store manager (a black woman) called and issued an apology, acknowledging that the store policy wasn't being consistently enforced. Instead, some cashiers did so when they chose, and this certainly could be seen as biased. However, it was a store policy, and would not be altered. My wife accepted her apology, but we haven't returned to the store. Turns out another store, just down the street, sells the babyfood for less anyway. Call it even.

I do hope the overall point of 'not just letting stuff slide' got through, but I can understand why it didn't, given how I rolled out the story. Again, rookie mistake, but I still hope you can take that one to heart.

After all, whether you say anything or not, you're still sending a message.

Just in case you have no idea what this is all about, peep the original post and its followup comments.

The Welfare Mother In the Mercedes Benz (aka: F**k Giant Food)

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