Nevermind that I was at Walmart, that's not the point.
I was in a hurry to get through the express lane with some new shirts for my son who seems to have outgrown all his, like, all at once and second hand stores just don't have good selections for 9 year olds....they're rough on clothes. I know, I know..."Walmart" and "Sweatshops". But again, that's not the point. They were the shirts I could afford, man. Let me get to the point.
...in a hurry because I had to pick my boys up from school in twenty minutes and in front of me was a young couple with about a dozen items and a little baby. The baby wasn't one of the items. He was cute, though.
Anyway. I stood there in this express lane for about 10 minutes trying to be subtle about glancing at my watch (these days known as a "phone") before I realized the young couple ahead of me was using a Bridge card (food stamps) to buy their goods and they didn't have enough on their card, apparently. So they were deliberating about what to leave behind. Frozen carrots...gone. Frozen broccoli...gone. Bag of nuts...also set aside. Cans of, I think, spinach. Gone.
Maybe if I was a richer man or a man in less of a rush to pick his kids up from school I'd have offered to pay for those items. But the biggest thing going through my mind at the time was this as the time ticked by and I had to leave the store: how bad will they feel if I move to a new checkout lane? They looked back at me apologetic, apologized all over themselves to the cashier.
Finally, I broke down and gathered my stuff up and moved to another lane. I kind of felt like an asshole. Like I twisted the knife a little bit on this young couple's embarrassment. I did pick up my kids in time, though. And with new shirts.
This stuff is happening every day. All over America.