How the poor stay poor

So I was in a parade of shops in a tatty quarter of Norwich, which, Norwich being Norwich, nevertheless has a quality butcher in it. I had no cash for the sausages I was intending to buy. I walked along the row; there’s a Tesco Express, a Somerfield and a Co-Op but none of these had a cashpoint machine. Next there’s a branch of Santander with no cashpoint machine either. Next there’s a Shell petrol station. That does have a cashpoint machine, of the type that ‘will charge you for £1.50 for this transaction.’ You only ever find these in motorway service stations, nighclubs, and in poor parts of town. They should be illegal.

I bought a few things in Somerfield in order to get a cashback. At the next til a scrawny ill-looking, blonde and made up woman of indeterminate age was after ten cigarettes. When she was asked what kind she replied, ‘The cheapest.’ These turned out to be 10 Sterling in a sliver box, £2.72.

My pork and leek bangers were £4.85 for eight. Maybe the butcher would have taken a card payment anyway, I feel embarrassed to try it on for less than a tenner, but perhaps I wouldn’t if I lived life in the parade with the bandit cashpoint.

In a further counterpoint to my Waitrose encounter of a few days back, I heard about this bestselling book that’s to be published over here soon, the Confessions of a French Checkout Girl, or, the rather sexier sounding Les Tribulations d’une Caissière in its own tongue. It introduces a great new word Beepeuse.

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8 Responses to How the poor stay poor

  1. makemeadiva says:

    My butcher won’t take less than a tenner on a card. Is that how the poor stay poor then: buying bangers @ 60.6 ish pence each…

  2. Ovookla says:

    Markelt was correct a few days ago – it’s all about social control, and rewards. When I worked as a Beepeuse some years ago, I learned to smoke, because it was so boring I wanted as many rewards as possible in my 10 minute break, i.e. a bacon roll, a milky coffee, a cigarette and a chocolate biscuit on the way down the stairs. Wish I’d never answered the question on pack years when I was asked by my GP – whilst sliding off the chair in a faint. Although as I recall I did manage to lie…. There is an excellent programme on Milgram and social control on iPlayer, programme 1, The Brain from BBC 3 or 4.

  3. markelt says:

    A report was out a couple of weeks ago that claimed it costs more to be poor exactly because of this sort of thing. Double whammy.

  4. Daftburger says:

    Some examples:

    If you can only afford to pay for your car tax for six months you end up paying a lot more.
    Pay your car insurance monthly you pay more through interest.
    Pawning items is not cost effective.
    Not having a bank account and being paid by cheque. (Costs up to 20% to cash it).

    All of the above aren’t actually true as ‘poor’ people don’t pay for car tax or insurance. The stuff they pawn is nicked and to get paid you’d have to have a job!

    Were you talking about the working poor?

  5. markelt says:

    Or writers as we usually call them

  6. Stephen Foster says:

    Quite; two of them sausages were for Dylan of course, six bangers is enuff for me & I was simply buying organic pedigree bangers because I can only afford fillet mignon at the weekends now.

  7. markelt says:

    At least you can easily get hold of foie de veau in Norwich.

  8. Rory says:

    I grew up working in my parent’s small grociery store in a small town in rural America. My dad ran a produce company and drove down south to pick up the produce and personally picked out the best of the best. So we were known for our great produce, which meant I had to always carry out a 30lbs Watermelon to the trunk for the customer, then with one hand move all their Wal-Mart grociery bags out of the way and listen to them talk about how they loved our produce and supporting a little local business. Yep, thank’s for your $3.00 in purchases that I can just squeeze in the trunk next to your $120 of grocieries from the big, heartless bastards that are killing off Mom and Pop stores and turning America into one big strip-mall.

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