A disturbing story is starting to make waves once again on the internet, according to Ben Swann who notes, you can now pay for Starbucks with food stamps. The story, which previously aired on FOX12, sees Jackie Fowler, a Salem, Oregon food stamp recipient, went inside the luxury Starbucks franchise located inside of a Safeway grocery store with the local Fox News station filming. She purchased one tall Frappaccino and a slice of pumpkin loaf. Her total was $5.25. She slid out her Oregon Trail food stamp card, paid in part by the federal government, and handed it to the cashier who processed the transaction. Fowler only made the purchase to assist FOX but it indicates just how deeply the ECBT card has become embedded in US society when, as she notes, coffee's "overpriced as it is, that's money that somebody could be eating with."
The original FOX 12 Clip:
And as Ben Swann adds:
“They’re overpriced as it is,” said Fowler of the luxury brand. “That’s money that somebody could be eating with — a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk.” Fowler says the program is in need of reform due to the abuse.
It doesn’t seem like management is trying to discourage the use of food stamps inside of the Starbucks. In fact, they are advertising it, as seen in the sign.
Corporate stores do not accept food stamps. However, because the store is run by the grocery chain it is offered as a “grocery item”. Such Starbucks outlets are located inside of airports, malls, colleges, Target, Alberstons, Fred Meyer and other chain grocery stores.
The initial report from FOX12,
"There are a lot of loopholes," she said.
A spokesman with Safeway told FOX 12 the store recently made the change as an added convenience to customers.
"We think that compliance with state laws is something we can easily do," said Dan Floyd, of Safeway.
According to federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) guidelines, people cannot buy foods that will be eaten in the store or hot foods. However, luxury items that are allowed include soft drinks, candy, cookies, ice cream, even bakery cakes and energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label.
While FOX 12 learned you cannot use an Oregon Trail Card at a corporate, stand-alone Starbucks location, the Starbucks inside Safeway is run by the store. Fowler tried to use her card at a stand-alone Starbucks, but was denied.
However, the register at the in-store location considers the purchase a "grocery item" and as long as it's cold, it's allowed, according to store employees.
"It shouldn't be allowed, whether it's a cold item or not," said Fowler. "It's a luxury item. If you really want one (Frappuccino), save your money and go buy one. Don't use the system.
A spokesman with the State Department of Human Services told FOX 12 he wasn't aware this practice was happening.