Food Stamps Aren’t for iPads … They’re for Food, People.

OMG 58

A woman walked into a Wal-Mart and tried to buy several iPads with her EBT card. Twice. Food stamps for iPads. Tracy Browning, a 38-year-old Louisville, Kentucky woman, allegedly attempted to purchase the Apple tablets using an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, then assaulted store employees and took off with the merchandise when it didn’t work. She was arrested when she tried to do the same thing at another Wal-Mart a few hours later.

According to Louisville police, Browning had previously been banned from all Wal-Mart locations for other incidents with the discount retailer. She’s been charged with robbery, shoplifting, and trespassing, and has been booked into the Louisville Metro jail. No word on what those prior incidences were, or if they involved theft or fancy electronics.

What the heck was she thinking? How does one justify spending welfare money on not just one iPad, but several? The EBT program is in place to help people down on their luck -- not for expensive toys. How extreme does your sense of entitlement have to be to make this decision ok?

Maybe we should change the name of the EBT program to OPM -- Other People’s Money. It seems that some people, this lady to as an extreme example, have forgotten that government handouts don’t come from the money tree on the White House lawn. The government can’t give you something without taking it away from someone else first.

We could argue all day about whether or not welfare rewards laziness, or the amount of fraud that actually occurs, or what restrictions should be placed on the kinds of food that can be purchased, but I think we can all agree that it’s nuts to expect to buy iPads with food stamps. It’s supposed to be a safety net, not a hammock.

Browning gives people that really need assistance a bad rap. We all come into hard times, which is why we have programs like TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). No one needs an iPad, but people do need to eat, and sometimes they just don’t have the family or community available to help. Idiots like Browning don’t help the public image of welfare recipients, and that’s not fair to those responsibly using the system.

No matter how we decide to tackle the welfare issue in our country, I think it’s safe to assume that no rational person will approve of using EBT funds to buy multiple iPads at Wal-Mart. At least I hope.

What do you think was going through this woman’s mind?


Image via yto/Flickr

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Cel7777 Cel7777

I think this is beyond the average sense of entitlement and more into the territory of mentally unstable.

Fiery... FieryMomOf2

@Cel7777 I agree, this goes way beyond any sense of entitlement. I got TANF for a brief period over a decade ago, and I used it strictly to provide for my kids. It never ceases to amaze (and irritate) me when I see someone withdraw TANF money from their Lone Star card (Texas) and turn around and buy cigarettes or booze with it. And people who really do need a little help don't qualify anymore because they're actually trying to work and support their families, or they're truly disabled and can't work.

early... earlybird11

But i don't understand... they say there is very little ebt fraud .... Haha

hotrd... hotrdumommy

It's only fraud if it worked...which it didn't. Once again Jenny takes a non issue and turns it into her crusade against welfare. Do reforms need to be in place? Of course they do, but don't go running your mouth about situations you have no clue about Jenny.

IKnow... IKnow0101

This wasn't fraud.  This is a case of an extremely mentally ill woman who just happen to have an EBT card.  Everyone knows that you can't buy anything but food with the card so this example is ridiculous.  I hope one day you won't know what it's like to lose your job, savings, and house.  Then you be begging for this assistance also.

wamom223 wamom223

I live in Washington State and I see people use their EBT cards for alcohol and cigarettes all the time.  My sister works in Customer Service at a Casino here and gets yelled at least once a week because their ATM machine wont let them take money off their EBT card.  I don't see how this shows she is mental and yes it is fraud even if you are caught in the act. Haven't you people ever seen an episode of cops?  I find it very sad that someone calls this a  non-issue when this women felt so entitled she not only stole the merchandise but assaulted someone.  

SKDMo... SKDMom1020

Her article was making a point about the sense of entitlement that some people have and how it makes the rest of the welfare recipients look bad. She did not try to use this as an example of fraud. She focused on the nerve of the individual TRYING to commit fraud. Everyone knows the woman wouldn't have actually gotten away with it. It is a testament of the morals of our country currently.

bills... billsfan1104

I think two certain people didn't read the article, just saw it was Jenny and decided to jump her case.

Cel7777 Cel7777

My assertion that she seems unstable has less to do with the attempted fraud, and more to do with the fact that she then assaulted the Wal Mart employees and then attempted to do the same thing at another Wal-Mart. This is irrational behavior, although I certainly don't have enough information to classify her as "mentally ill".  She could also be strung out on drugs or just incredibly dumb I suppose. I would picture an entitled person perhaps selling their foodstamps and using the cash to buy an Ipad or whatever else, not necessarily trying to purchase one with a TANF card at a major retailer.


I don't know how TANF works in other states, but in my state you can't withdraw cash from it, and I've never heard of a store that allows people to purchase non-food items with it...that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, but I doubt Wal-Mart of all places would allow such a thing.

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