Day: July 2, 2017

Sunday, 2 July 2017

09:09 – It was 65.3F (18.5C) when I took Colin out at 0630, partly cloudy.

When Frances and Al were up here Friday, we went to dinner and stopped at Grants Supermarket on the way home to pick up a couple things. Barbara mentioned something that speaks to the general culture up here. When the new supermarket opened, for the first month they were giving away something every day. One day it might be a free 2-liter Coke to anyone who walked in the door. One time when Barbara was in doing the weekly shopping, they were giving away small packages of shelf-stable Hormel bacon.

She talked to the guy at the display, who told her he hadn’t been able to give away any of the bacon. (The store manager stuck a pack into Barbara’s shopping cart, so she got one.) Same thing on other giveaways.

My guess is there are two factors operating here: first, rural people tend to be suspicious of anything that’s “free”. Second, many rural people think accepting charity is shameful; it means they can’t support themselves or their families.

The lack of decent jobs in rural areas particularly means we do have quite a few people on food stamps. The last time I looked, it was something like 16% of the county population. I think that’s about average or a bit below for the US as a whole, and much, much lower than the average in population centers. In the big cities, people have been on government handouts as a way of life, often for multiple generations. Up here, for most people it’s an absolute last resort. I suspect there are families up here that go hungry because they won’t accept government handouts.

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