18 responses to “Dear Lazyweb: WIC and nutrition stores”

  1. anaisdjuna

    That would suck if it was predatory instead of an honest business providing items which WIC EBT card holders could shop items they can get without having to sort through the rest.

    To much in this world is predatory.

  2. Anonymous

    Not a professional, but I’m pretty sure those stores are known to be overpriced compared to regular grocery stores.

    1. kafkateer

      this

      on the other hand, there aren’t a whole lot of supermarkets near the pj’s, at least in my city

      1. Anonymous

        Re: this

        Yeah, I know that sometimes it’s hard to find *any* grocery stores in poor neighborhoods. :-\

  3. eris_devotee

    WIC used to be coupons, not through EBT… coupons for specific amounts of specific food categories (formula, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, beans, juice) and it was up to individual stores to determine which brands/etc they were willing to trade for a specific WIC coupon. Because what could be purchased was limited to very specific items of very specific quantities, many mainstream grocers didn’t want to be bothered and that created the WIC Only stores. I have no idea if the transfer to EBT cards creates a dollar amount instead of accounting for categories/specific items.

    The problem with WIC Only stores is the quality for what the government is paying – velveeta-like processed cheese product, peanut butter that has lots of sugar and added oils, oil-and-corn-syrup infant formula.

  4. miss_geek

    I’m no professional, but many of my friends use WIC, and a lot of the times those specific checks for very specific items cause so much embarassment in a regular grocery store that some feel it’s not worth it & end up at the WIC store. Not only because of the embarassment, but because it’s just easier, especially with a baby, to just be able to grab anything and not worry about how many ounces it is or what brand (my roommate does this because the WIC store is right there and her 3 yr old is insane.) Since WIC isn’t based on a dollar amount (at least not that I’m aware of,) but rather amounts of very particular kinds of foods per month, it works completely different than the EBT card.

    As an aside, some of the local farmer’s markets around here take EBT and WIC – one of the many priviledges of being poor in an upper class neighborhood.

    I’m going to look into that… I always just assumed the WIC only stores were there to help.

    1. handstil

      Our farmer’s market has a WIC grocer, I just noticed them and got very happy.

      1. miss_geek

        I think I recall you posting about it on facebook recently maybe? That’s what led to me finding out about it here :)

  5. purejuice

    what a good reporter you are, what interesting comments.

  6. jpallan

    As someone who was a lactation counsellor with a WIC program for a couple of years, I’ve never seen a WIC-only shop, although many stores here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts let it be known that they take WIC vouchers — perhaps the stickers are old.

    As a practical matter, I don’t see how WIC vouchers could be transferred meaningfully to a card — they are for fixed amounts of dairy items, vegetables, cereals, infant formula, and such and therefore do not actually transition well to cards. Each store would presumably be working with a variety of scanning systems, although I suppose UPC codes could be approved on an individual basis.

    I also agree with other commenters as a former WIC voucher recipient that the amounts called for are maddeningly exacting, e.g. exactly 6 cans of tuna, or so many ounces of infant cereal. They are, however, common enough — and usual practice at grocery stores as far as I used it and other voucher holders used it was to separate out the WIC-approved items, in multiple groups, if needed, and simply place the voucher with them.

    I can say that Whole Foods here makes a point of accepting WIC vouchers, which must be a far more flagrant fulfilment of a voucher coupon than any predatory bodega.

    1. Anonymous

      The WIC-only stores seem to be all over the place in California, and yes, many states use a smartcard system instead of vouchers:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIC#Check.2FVoucher_.26_EBT_Card

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