Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Food Stamps And Chicago's 'One Stop' Supermarket

Believe it or not, someone from CBS News was checking out Uptown Update and emailed us wanting to alert our readers of this upcoming story, on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 5:30pm Wednesday on CBS2:

The "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" is keeping an eye on the American economy and how it affects all Americans. In this week's installment of the ongoing series "Other America" we are looking at Chicago's "One Stop" supermarket, which sees little business the last week of each month but is jam packed on the first of the month.

So crowded that you can barely get through the aisles when they open their doors at midnight. By one A.M., the checkout lines are thirty people deep - and a good lot of the people with overflowing shopping carts are here in the middle of the night because the state of Illinois automatically adds their monthly food-stamp benefit at midnight-oh-one on the first......and those accounts have been empty for days or weeks by now.

CBS News Correspondent Seth Doane discovers that because of rising prices, people's food stamps are running out MUCH more quickly than they used to - and these monthly midnight sprees allow them to stock up just as their larders have dwindled.

This Wednesday at 6:30 PM EST on the "CBS Evening News" we will meet some midnight shoppers who tell us how the rising prices are affecting them, why they come out for food when they should be home sleeping, and why it's especially important with the July 4th holiday just around the corner.


  1. Here's the wind up before the pitch.

    Let's see if CBS will do a good investigative story about how a better balance of incomes in Uptown has brought more opportunity, lower overall food prices because of competition, lower crime, school improvements, etc.

    Or, will they take the easy way out like Chicago media and say that the poor must be suffering at the hands of those evil condo owners moving into the area who are "trying to rid the area of every last poor person," not mentioning that there is an Alderman desperate to trap another generation in this same cycle of poverty just so she can manipulate a few more votes to save her political life.

  2. Zesty, did you even read the original post? The story's about increasing FOOD prices - something which is happening to the entire country - and how this is affecting people on food stamps.

    I seriously doubt they're going to explore the issues of gentrification and urban planning in this piece.

  3. What happened to that government cheese and peanut butter from my days of youth?

    Food prices are high. Good thing Cook County raised that sales tax the other day so we have even less money to spend on it. Makes sense, less money in pocket means less buying of expensive food items. Wow solved the problem right there!

  4. Where can you shop around Uptown at 12:01AM on the first of the month?

    The Jewel at Sheridan and Montrose is only open from 6am to 11pm. Aldi has shorter hours than that.

  5. uptown_dad - The increase in the Cook county sales tax does not apply to groceries, only to restaurant food. Restaurant or grocery store the prices are still high, though.

    From the Tribune -

    "The Cook County portion of the sales tax —which is now 1.75 percent, up from 0.75—applies to clothes, furniture, alcohol and restaurant food. It does not apply to cars, boats, groceries or medicine."

  6. read my post madhungarian, i never said the tax was on food.

  7. Oops, you're right. I sentence myself to five pounds of government cheese.

  8. to funny madhungarian. My post was worded poorly though. My bad. Wording jokes is tough business.

    All hail gubment cheeeeeeese.

  9. Watched the report. Wow.

    The short short version. They interviewed a woman inside the grocery store after 12:01AM with a full shopping cart talking about how food stamps do not go far enough. The woman was wearing a horizontal striped shirt with the word ARMANI across it.

    I'd put that on the cover of the NY Times.

  10. "The story's about increasing FOOD prices - something which is happening to the entire country - and how this is affecting people on food stamps."

    way smart, that's my point exactly. Will Uptown get used again as another "stock video footage of a sterotypical Chicago slum?"

    Why is it that an area that is becoming more diverse with regard to incomes and is solving many social ills because of this diversity gets lumped in with all of the slums that aren't finding a way to make it work?

    Helen uses this "Uptown is and will always be a slum" stereotype all the time to pit groups against each other in order to stay in power. "Poor vs. rich, the age old struggle. You've seen it before and here it is again. Rich are trying to kick out the poor." Personally, I'm sick of it. Uptown is anything but typical. Wilson Yard would be a much different project if Helen were the least bit honest about the Uptown reality. (unless she really believes that condo owners are all racist and classist)

    Hopefully the investigative reporting will be more than "food prices are going up all over the country and here's our stock video footage of poor people at a Link grocery to help prove our point.

    Furthermore, food prices in Uptown, differing from other areas of the country, are probably falling because of increased competition. Some South Side areas are lucky to have anything more than a quickie mart because grocery stores have closed or are closing. Uptown is on the reverse side of this trend.

    There really is a story here, if a good reporter wants to look into it and look past/question the "they're all racist and can't be trusted" type comments from Alderman Shiller and courage. Diversity works.

    Invite development and work with those who take that chance to live in a developing neighborhood and you will have less crime, better schools, more opportunity, better access to stores and cheaper food prices.

    Sadly, that's probably not the angle the reporters were going for, way smart. Your doubts about them exploring the issues of gentrification and urban planning are probably correct.

  11. It is very hard to be sympathetic. After interviewing the last couple on the news piece, they were shown loading their groceries into a fancy SUV! Guess I could afford that kind of vehicle if someone was subsidizing my food bill!

  12. I missed the report (because I am a moron). Was Uptown mentioned specifically?

  13. Uptown wasn't covered. The grocery store as Klandis something on the Southside.

    I hope the editors of Uptown Update share the full contents of the email they received. This blog is probably being pushed by some local PR outfit into the national media cloud cover.