In an economy where most families are struggling and living one check away from the poverty line, government benefits like food stamps are a much needed and welcomed luxury, but some recipients are taking the luxury part a bit too far. An investigation has revealed that food stamps, which are given to families who demonstrate need, can be used to buy premium drinks and expensive snacks from Starbucks. The investigation drummed up outrage across the country from hardworking Americans who saw it as a waste of tax payer dollars.

The Fox News 12 investigation revealed that food stamp recipients were using the funds to buy things like Frappaccinos and pumpkin bread from a branch of Starbucks in Salem, Oregon. A spokesperson for the Safeway store in Salem where the foot stamps were accepted in Starbucks, told Fox News the store made the change as ‘an added convenience to customers’ and that the register at the store considers the purchase a ‘grocery’ item, and, as long as it’s cold, it can be purchased with food stamps. However, according to guidelines from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamp users cannot buy hot foods or foods that will be eaten in the store, so it appears that what’s really going on is that people have found a loophole in the system.

A spokesperson for the State Department of Human Services said they weren’t aware of the loophole in the program being exploited, but now that they know, they plan to put an end to the fraud stating ‘We’ll contact these grocery stores to get more information and make sure they’re operating within the SNAP guidelines.’ As news of the Starbucks Frap scandal spread people couldn’t help ut express their disgust for the situation, one commenter seemed to sum up the feelings of most people who heard the news saying ‘If tax dollars are being used to feed poor people in need then fine, but use the tax dollars for staples, not luxuries. Change the law. End the waste and fraud.’

Should people be allowed to use food stamps for Starbucks and other ‘luxury’ foods?

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  • Kesha

    Hell naw! I work hard and rarely go to Starbucks b/c I lack the funding and am responsible. The fact that people would spend food stamps for Starbucks may be a sign of why they are on food stamps. Sorry. Just telling it like it is.

    • fuchsia

      A person who doesn’t have respect for money will find a way to abuse it. Period. That’s whether it’s a welfare queen or a shopaholic with 5 kids running up her husband’s credit cards with Starbucks, nails and weaves while her kids go without dental. Responsibility has nothing to do with a person’s social status. There are plenty of irresponsible people with money and plenty of responsible people who fall on hard times and make it work. Having Starbucks once in a while has nothing to do with being irresponsible. Unless it’s everyday and on credit cards that can’t be paid off I don’t see a problem with Starbucks. EBT cards do run out, and no one in their right mind would spend all their food stamps on Starbucks and go hungry instead. That’s ridiculous.

    • NY’s Finest

      @ Kesha: Yea that just sounds ridiculous.

  • The Comment

    Sure….why not. I wish they’d except food stamps at my local herbalist. That stuff is expensive as all get out.

    Real coffee drinkers know that Starbucks isn’t good coffee. That said, this chain cleverly expanded itself to the masses (which it has every right to do…this is America) and sold them something that they really don’t need—-sugar/caffeine/milk—on a 24/hour cycle.

  • Robin

    This issue is not due to a loophole in the program – Recipients of food stamps pay just as much for Starbucks coffee as anybody else. This just means they can’t buy as much staples as they could before. Food is food, regardless of the price and where it comes from.

    As an honest tax payer, I’m fine with this situation. I have no problem helping people who are in need. I’ve given money to homeless people who needed it more than I did, but that doesn’t mean I’m entitled to tell them what to buy and where to buy it from.

    SNAP guidelines already heavily regulate food stamp recipients. This so called issue is a slippery slope.

  • LOL I’ve always wished that food stamps could be used at like McDonald’s and so forth; but my comment is “Who gives a f***?” Tax payers my a**. Food is food. If your dollars were “paying” for people to purchase food from Food World, then that recipient is receiving the same amount each month so your money is being “spent” the same. @Kesha, I receive food stamps and if the Starbucks in my community allowed such, I’d do the same; but I am a hard-working single mother who just so happens qualify for food stamps; so NO, this act does not necessarily account for why someone is on food stamps. @Robin, thanks for having some sense. @The Comment, you’re right, they should focus more on the company and not the food stamp recipients. It was a smart move for Starbucks to make some dough.