comment describing maladaptive behavior of poor May 27, 2015 8:49 AM   Subscribe

There was a comment or maybe a series of comments, that described pretty eloquently why the poor and disenfranchised spend money on small, wasteful things rather than saving. Or maybe it was on smoking? I can't find it or remember the context.

Apologies for being vague. I might even be combining more than one comment. But I think it was one really good one about how when every day is a grind and there is no hope of escaping poverty, that spending money on something that makes them feel good for a short while is the only way to cope. I think it was on things, but it may have been on food i.e. unhealthy snack food because who gives a fuck when you're broker than broke. Even cigarettes are coming to mind. Does anyone have any idea what comment I'm thinking of?

I feel like it was from someone who grew up poor and were describing their experiences, but again, I could be comment-mashing in my head. I don't have a sense of time in my head, but maybe the past 5 years? Not extremely recent, so I would guess not in the past year.
posted by [insert clever name here] to MetaFilter-Related at 8:49 AM (26 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Your description is ringing bells for an link I have somewhere in my bookmarks. If I recall correctly there were some challenges to the author's legitimacy, though I don't remember the specifics. I'll go through my bookmarks and see what I can find.

preview edit: Is this it?
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:53 AM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


That sounds like the great MetaFilter discussion on John Cheese's Cracked article about poverty. There's a couple of fantastic comments in there but the whole thing is worth a re-read.
posted by librarylis at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sounds like a divined by radio comment. Maybe this one.
posted by desjardins at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


i feel like we've done this a bit around here, and i'm always glad to see it. the one i'm thinking of specifically was a post focused on the uk and had people in the thread mocking people for big tvs and take out - then some awesome comments like the ones you describe happened. but my search is coming up empty.
posted by nadawi at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2015


Yeah, it could be a number of things, but for some reason I'm rembering this around some comments discussing the perceived extravagance of supermarket cake.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:40 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would look for discussions about food stamps.
posted by bleep at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2015


I think it was exactly the divined by radio post, desjardins. Either that, or an amalgam of that and a few others melding in my head, including that Cracked article Sternmeyer.

Thanks, that was quick!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:03 AM on May 27, 2015


Yeah, it could be a number of things, but for some reason I'm rembering this around some comments discussing the perceived extravagance of supermarket cake.

Here's another amazing divined by radio comment, in a thread that discusses cake.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm always reminded of The Road To Wigan Pier:
Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 AM on May 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


Is it this one? ("Poor people don't plan long term.")
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2015


There are also a number of good comments along those lines in this post.
posted by fings at 11:11 AM on May 27, 2015


Also worth repeating: from MeFi's Own jscalzi.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just a quick note, I regret using maladaptive in the title. :(
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:07 PM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh, wow, the same jscalzi who now has the multimillion-dollar book deal, it seems. I hadn't made the connection until just now.
posted by amtho at 5:35 PM on May 27, 2015


codacarolla (sp?) knocked it out of the park with a comment about the pressure on poor people using the library, iirc. Maybe a couple of years ago?
posted by Sebmojo at 5:38 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was also addressed in the recent book "Hand To Mouth:Living In Bootstrap America" by Linda Tirado.
posted by bookmammal at 5:45 PM on May 27, 2015


The sociology classic The Uses of Literacy by Richard Hoggarth talks a lot lot lot about this point and I was originally directed to it by a metafilter comment.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:17 PM on May 27, 2015


There was also this whole thread, about an article titled Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts.
posted by axiom at 8:57 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is the comment by Divined By Radio, in the same thread just linked by axiom, that immediately came to my mind.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:08 AM on May 28, 2015

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

Herman Melville
posted by y2karl at 7:47 AM on May 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


This thread on rented tires covered this a fair bit, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:32 PM on May 28, 2015


Your question rings a bell, but I can't quite place it. This comment probably isn't the one that you're looking for, but it's worth reading and kind of related.
posted by rjs at 3:35 PM on May 28, 2015


I'm sure it's not what you're looking for, but I just wanted to link the codacorolla library comment referenced above, which is indeed excellent, with well over 1000 (!) favorites.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:47 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


This article from today's Guardian is also concerned with 8 reasons why the poor make bad financial decisions and seems likely to be directly relevant to your question.
posted by biffa at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2015


I can't find it in the first few pages of her most favourited comments, but the cigarette thing reminds me of something jb once wrote.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:13 PM on June 1, 2015


I'm betting it's the thread about it costing money to be poor.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:24 AM on June 2, 2015


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