One of the favorite retorts against the working class is that they fail to make the proper eating choices. One vivid memory I have was one person smirking at the idea of eating in a fast food establishment, claiming that she only made “healthy” eating decisions. In fact, one of the main reasons people believe the working class live poorly is because of how they eat, and the consequences that “their” choices have on their health. My question to all those people is this: what if being able to snack as one chose was literally the only choice that person had in their lives?
So many people fail to realize that the working class is under constant scrutiny, and everyone feels entitled to judge them based on scrutiny that is entirely out of context. If they live in cheap to low-income housing, people constantly state that if they wanted to, they could start businesses and earn their way into the good life. Private school attendees are grateful not to be lumped in with the lazy, worthless public school attendees. Most heinously, if the working class receives food assistance, people are thrilled to discover that there are limitations to what can be bought. Anyone who has worked in a grocery store aches having witnessed the embarrassment parents feel when the one snack that they let their kids buy is not covered by food assistance. Imagine a pathology that cackles with glee that someone with little to nothing gets denied something else.
After being despicable enough to judge the working poor, people conveniently forget how the system has been set up to constantly fail them. Housing has become so expensive that few people are afforded the choice to live alone, no matter how small or frugally they are willing to live, and they can forget about saving up to build any business. Test score funding has driven so much of the creativity out of education that few children feel inspired the learn, only perform, and even fewer than that have consistently expressed hobbies. So much money has been earmarked for the ever-growing list of must-haves for survival, including housing, communication (and they better not be doing anything other than looking for better jobs and educating themselves to get better jobs), food, and commuting. However, the “real” problem to most people is that the working poor might enjoy a bag of chips.
Snacking allows people who have nothing, are given nothing for all of their efforts, and who might be feeling like nothing most of the time–to feel like they have one moment of autonomy. That one soda, that candy bar that disappears all too soon, or that coffee “they could have made at home”? All of that can make them feel for those brief, brief moments that they, too, are human and worthy of choice. No one can take that from them, nor should they want to remove such minor choices. After all, who took all the choices away from the working poor anyway?