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Food Stamps


In Montgomery, Alabama, stories appeared of a nightclub advertising to those who use food stamps, sponsoring a “Food Stamp Friday” discount for club goers. The nightclub developed the theme night to get more people into the club. The manager Harman Wilson says that the idea is “novel.” However, even employees at the club are saying that it is a gimmick and hurtful. Wilson believes it is just a draw to get people into the club, which is getting a lot of national attention for the name.

Isn’t the solution simple? Use a different name for the theme. At a time when millions are on food stamps, it’s insensitive for the club promoter to use this campaign to bring in new business, especially when the stigma upon food stamp recipients is that they are not working to receive benefits. There are even stigmas because of the limitations placed on what you can and cannot buy with food stamps, alcohol being one of the prohibited items. While Wilson notes that you won’t be able to buy alcohol with food stamps, the club is only charging those who present an EBT food stamp card to get in for a $5 cover charge.

Human Resources at the club does not agree with the new theme either. Barry Sparks is the spokesman who believes that food assistance is supposed to help families receive nourishment. But again, isn’t this suggesting something about food stamp recipients? The matter is sensitive to many Americans, who want to avoid the stigmas caused by food stamps but also want to be able to enjoy life. It’s simple to agree that “Food Stamp Friday” is inappropriate; it’s harder to judge those who want to go out who do receive public assistance benefits. Would it be any less inappropriate if there was a “Food Stamp Friday” at Chuck E. Cheese? There is another stigma at work that marks a bar as an unsuitable place to seek entertainment if you are on public assistance.

“Name this party something else,” said club employee Richard Thomas, who believes that the name is going to hurt club business.

Both individuals and families receive public assistance. In some cases, it could be considered easy to abuse the system in order to get food assistance while using your other income for entertainment, but the requirements for food stamp eligibility say nothing about what other income is supposed to be spent on. The government’s hand doesn’t reach that far. Perhaps the simple solution is for club promoters to get more creative with catchy theme nights that don’t get into the politics of food stamps, because it’s not as simple as explaining a low cover charge. Besides, aren’t people who go out to have fun looking to forget their troubles? Surely, toting your food stamp card to the club in your back pocket isn’t the best way to let go for a few hours.


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