Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Confessions of a Retail Worker: When poverty hits the fan.

Hello everyone,

Note: Retail breakrooms nowadays often have microwaves, which is a blessing, to be sure. But not of all them do. Nor do subtracted employees (cleaning crews, or temp staff) always have access to the “staff” break room either…

But anyway….

The economy is pretty bad out here these days. I am working all the hours I can get, and I am fortunate insofar as I do have access to kitchen facilities. But that’s not how I know….

You know that you work in the service or retail industry with desperate poverty all around you when your friends are excited about air dryers in the company bathroom.

Because they bring their food with them….

And carefully place their food under the air dryer, balancing carefully.

Because if the air dryer runs long enough, it will heat up the food. And thus, they will be able to eat at least one hot meal during their day.


  1. Hunger in America exists for over 50 million people. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children.

    Although related, food insecurity & poverty are not the same.  Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity.


       In 2011, 46.2 million people (15.0 percent) were in poverty.

       In 2011, 26.5 million (13.7 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.

       In 2011, 16.1 million (21.9 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.

       In 2011, 3.6 million (8.7 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.

       The overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 16.1%, as compared with the official poverty rate of 15.1%.[ii]

       Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 49.7 million people living in poverty, 3.1 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (46.6 million).[iii]

    Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security

       In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.

       In 2011, 14.9 percent of households (17.9 million households) were food insecure.

       In 2011, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.

       In 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent.

       In 2011, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.6 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.8 percent) or single men (24.9 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).

       In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8.4% of all seniors were food insecure.[v]

       Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS.[vi]

    Anyone who can look at those numbers and not feel a sense of shame has no heart. Or is a Republican. Those same Republicans who when told that the most important thing to Americans in the last election and the election before was Jobs Jobs Jobs, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 40 times and voted to defund Planned Parenthood and NPR, and voted to take more whacks at women’s reproductive rights.

    We need Jobs Jobs Jobs … and family supporting jobs.

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