Street Cred

Last week I received an email that was efficiently sorted into the promotions tab in Gmail. I check that now and again in the hope that I have won a Book Riot giveaway (get at me, Book Riot), and found the small email from Shipt. It announced that an annual membership for their grocery shopping and delivery service was only $49 this weekend only! $50 off! Unlimited deliveries of $35 or more! No fee! Tipping optional!

Every time I see this kind of thing I think two things:

(1) This has to be a scam.

(2) I can get my own fucking groceries, thank you very much.

But I kept thinking about it. What if I could just look up a recipe and ask for the ingredients to be brought to me? We could eat fresh every night. I could waste less food, especially produce. I talked to the husband about it and we decided to pull the trigger. Just in time too, because he came down with a serious cold this weekend and we needed stuff. It was super easy, we just selected the things we needed, paid through the app, and I got texts as the person shopped for us, even when something we selected wasn’t in stock to ask me if I wanted something else.

I have found myself in a conundrum though. With every new thing I do that seemed impossible five years ago, I ask myself whether I still have the right to talk about poverty issues. How often do I need to trick the self-checkout at a large grocery/department store to be able to talk about the angst of affording enough groceries to eat? How many trips to Europe mean that I need to shut the fuck up?

Even two years ago the $50 I paid for a one year membership to Shipt was my grocery budget every two weeks for two people and four pets. Someone brought my groceries to my house this past Saturday, does that mean my actions and struggles in the past are somehow null and void now? “Oh, Amanda gets grocery delivery, she couldn’t possibly understand ‘the struggle.'” I worry that my life will become “oh, she’s been to London so who is she to talk to me about making a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza last for a week’s worth of dinners?”

Money is such a taboo subject, yet despite this the effects of poverty and being poor are being explored in very interesting ways right now. What I don’t see enough of is how we are supposed to transition from struggling with getting to work and staying fed to “just okay.” Because don’t get me wrong, the husband and I are one Betsy DeVos student loan decision away from financial ruin, one new health care law away from disaster – there are a lot of things keeping us balanced on the edge. But until that happens, what am I supposed to do with all these skills that I have that would be of no use anymore should we become *gasp* financially okay? 34 years learning how to successfully balance bills between three credit cards, how to get a full tank of gas even when you only have $10 available credit left, how to stretch canned, frozen, and packaged food so you can eat for weeks on as little as $35, and more…who am I when that all becomes obsolete? Who am I when I’m financially comfortable?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I get the sense that finding them will be very important to becoming who I can be in my late thirties and all of my forties. A forced redefining, I guess I can handle it. Especially if they keep bringing my groceries to my house.