We had people come into the convenience store where I worked asking if we took EBT. The answer was no, but believe it or not, businesses don’t care if the money comes from EBT, it still spends. My boss had it on her to-do list to set up our system for it. But people (mostly white, because of the demographics of this area) who do not use EBT would come in all the time and discover they didn’t have money on their debit cards. People who live week to week, or paycheck to paycheck working in almost-full-time jobs for minimum wage don’t always lack discipline, they do tend to lack money. Hell, I’ve been there. “I know I have around ten bucks in my checking account and I get paid tomorrow. This stuff comes to about nine bucks, I should be okay.” Then I’d get denied because I forgot I bought something the other day. Whoops. Shit happens. People also regularly forget their PINs. So I’m not too down on the cashier for the first incident. After that, it should have been obvious something was going on.
Meanwhile, a lot EBT schemes are set up so that the payment card industry can profit. Want to check your balance? There’s a fee. Want to withdraw? There’s a fee. Accidentally hit debit instead of credit? There’s a fee. Reset pin? There’s a fee. They are usually as punitive as most gift cards when you want to do fucking anything. Really, I’m surprised that there isn’t more outcry at the amount of welfare money that gets leached to the PCI.
Personally, I’d have told the cashier to keep her opinions about customers to herself. I’ve worked frustrating customer service/retail jobs myself. I’m working one now, and while I generally feel that people should not unduly harass and harangue people who get crappy pay and are largely not in control of your shopping experience, I have absolutely no qualms about confronting someone like this. If they’re not ashamed to say their piece, then I’m not ashamed to say mine.