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Old 01-30-2016, 12:26 PM   #41
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Worse than her spending $21 on a meal is that she is quoted as doing it to take the edge off her hunger before going to the grocery store. There are far far cheaper ways to accomplish that. And that the cost of thd meal had an impact on her ability to make an insurance payment. I wonder if some of the quotes are out of context, but still. Again, I do feel bad for her situation and not being able to make better choices, but how can her decisions have been prevented by anyone else?
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:31 PM   #42
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"prime rib special and an iced tea — expensive at $21.36,"

I guess most people think this is normal and eveyy one is entitled to this.
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$21.36 is about 10% of what I spend in a month on food...and I don't skimp. She spent it on one meal.
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I agree. I can't think of a single time in my life that I spent $21.36 or more on one meal. Even if there are leftovers, that's a ridiculous amount to spend on a meal for anyone who has $50K in CC debt.
I agree that it is a lot even though it provided 3 separate meals.

Growing up we never ate out and since we married at college and had children within a couple years of graduation we went many years hardly ever eating out, it's an easy way to cut down on expenses.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:31 PM   #43
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I do wonder if the prime rib was an impulse control issue or a lack of knowledge on how to shop smarter for groceries.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:39 PM   #44
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Guess you are not going to any of a number of New Orleans' finest. Would've thought one of the things worth splurging on in NO is the eating establishments. ��
New Orleans finest are not the expensive French Quarter eateries. Biggest disappointment was my hubs 60th birthday at Commanders Palace. Now a burger at port of call or a Johnny's poor boy, or breakfast at cake or oysters at harbor seafood, and I'm not a local, so I'm sure W2R knows a lot more.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:45 PM   #45
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Guess you are not going to any of a number of New Orleans' finest. Would've thought one of the things worth splurging on in NO is the eating establishments. ��
Oh my... quite the opposite. Like most locals we just don't normally go to the expensive tourist traps down in the Quarter. Plus, we always split a meal because the portion sizes are too big. Granted, the places where we eat do not have white tablecloths, silver, and crystal, but we do not compromise on the food.


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Guess you are not going to any of a number of New Orleans' finest. Would've thought one of the things worth splurging on in NO is the eating establishments. ��
New Orleans finest are not the expensive French Quarter eateries. Biggest disappointment was my hubs 60th birthday at Commanders Palace. Now a burger at port of call or a Johnny's poor boy, or breakfast at cake or oysters at harbor seafood, and I'm not a local, so I'm sure W2R knows a lot more.
Didn't see your post when I posted the above - -- - I totally agree, GMTA
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:47 PM   #46
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Oh my... quite the opposite. Like most locals we just don't normally go to the expensive tourist traps down in the Quarter. Plus, we always split a meal because the portion sizes are too big. Granted, the places where we eat do not have white tablecloths, silver, and crystal, but we do not compromise on the food.

Well then next time we visit your fair city hopefully you'll share the wealth so to speak!


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Old 01-30-2016, 12:55 PM   #47
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Well then next time we visit your fair city hopefully you'll share the wealth so to speak!


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Sorry! I'm not leading tours of the eating establishments that are our personal favorites, to strangers on the internet. You need to spend a year or two down here exploring the less expensive restaurants on your own. Then you'll figure it out and find a huge number of great places that you like a lot. (Hint: avoid chain restaurants or restaurants that haven't been in business for at least 5 years, like the plague). You'll get to know the chefs and wait staff, and they will treat you like family. Chefs are our local celebrities and have more sway in what goes on down here than do politicians or wealthy businessmen.

One way to tell a tourist for sure, is that he/she will say something like "Where is the best place in New Orleans to eat (fill in the blank)?" Or, they eat at one place because some clueless person told them to, and declare it has the best roast beef po'boys or shrimp etouffee or whatever, in town. The big secret is that New Orleans is FULL of great restaurants and there really isn't any cool secret restaurant at which everyone should eat.

For about 5 years F and I went to different restaurants every week, always ordering seafood gumbo, to find the best. What a great quest, though quite impossible to complete. We ought to continue it; I'll remind him.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:03 PM   #48
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Sorry! I'm not leading tours of the eating establishments that are our personal favorites, to strangers on the internet. You need to spend a year or two down here exploring the less expensive restaurants on your own. Then you'll figure it out and find a huge number of great places that you like a lot. (Hint: avoid chain restaurants or restaurants that haven't been in business for at least 5 years, like the plague). You'll get to know the chefs and wait staff, and they will treat you like family.

One way to tell a tourist for sure, is that he/she will say something like "Where is the best place in New Orleans to eat (fill in the blank)?" Or, they eat at one place because some clueless person told them to, and declare it has the best roast beef po'boys or shrimp etouffee or whatever, in town. The big secret is that New Orleans is FULL of great restaurants and there really isn't any cool secret restaurant at which everyone should eat.

So much for Southern hospitality I guess... 🤔


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Old 01-30-2016, 01:06 PM   #49
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So much for Southern hospitality I guess... 🤔


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If I were heading to NO, I'd check out Yelp.


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Old 01-30-2016, 01:11 PM   #50
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If I were heading to NO, I'd check out Yelp.
If I were headed to NO, I'd just allot longer than a couple of days so that I had time to familiarize myself with the restaurants, if that was my goal. Hint: There Are No Shortcuts, when it comes to food. You can try www.nomenu.com if you want, which is New Orleans' most well known food critic, but like most local food critics, some think he is not immune to bribes.

I SURE wouldn't ask a local single woman from the internet that I didn't even know where she eats all the time, unless I was a stalker. The reason I wouldn't do that, is that I would be likely to find just as good places on my own and it's just a little weird, KWIM? Unlike other destinations, in New Orleans there is not just One Good Restaurant - - the whole place is full of 'em.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:50 PM   #51
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Sorry! I'm not leading tours of the eating establishments that are our personal favorites, to strangers on the internet. You need to spend a year or two down here exploring the less expensive restaurants on your own. Then you'll figure it out and find a huge number of great places that you like a lot. (Hint: avoid chain restaurants or restaurants that haven't been in business for at least 5 years, like the plague). You'll get to know the chefs and wait staff, and they will treat you like family. Chefs are our local celebrities and have more sway in what goes on down here than do politicians or wealthy businessmen.
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So much for Southern hospitality I guess... 🤔
I don't think her post was meant the way you took it.

A funny story. We recently attended a wedding. During the reception dinner I was tablemates who has lived 30 years at the same address, near our current home, and pronounced himself a "foodie". I was excited to hear his experiences and recommendations until he told me his two ethnic favorites. I know one, took my grandchildren a year ago and vowed never to return.

W2R makes an important point, the only real way to find a great meal is with first hand experience. Other people's tastes and reviews can help but only when you are certain there is some compatibility.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:54 PM   #52
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Back on topic, the article in OP reminded me of the book "Nickle and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. Some people are in a bad way despite working hard and appearing to have the ingredients needed to improve their lot. It is not always clear why, nor how to help those that have a hard time making more effective choices.
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Old 01-30-2016, 02:28 PM   #53
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I remember when I was young, poor and hungry, and how a good meal loomed large in my thoughts. If you are truly poor, after a while you start to feel so beaten down by life that you want to have just one thing that will make you happy, a least for a short time. It might be a prime rib dinner, an expensive pair of sneakers, a family picture from a picture studio or what have you. If you could just have that one thing, your life would not be so unrelentingly bad. The expected joy from your purchase might well prove illusory, but the desire for it is real. (I recommend the Italian movie "The Bicycle Thief" for an exploration of this phenomenon as it applies to food).

Objectively, I know that she'll be better off financially by foregoing the prime rib dinner, and I'll bet that if you ask her, she would agree. It's easy to say that she should always eat as cheaply as possible given her financial situation, but that would take an iron will and self discipline that I certainly don't possess.

And, for context, when the young wife and I eat at a restaurant with table service, the bill is almost never under $21.36 a person.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:07 PM   #54
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Back on topic, the article in OP reminded me of the book "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. Some people are in a bad way despite working hard and appearing to have the ingredients needed to improve their lot. It is not always clear why, nor how to help those that have a hard time making more effective choices.
Great book- I read it years ago. (Summary: she goes undercover and tries to live in minimum-wage jobs.)

I was reminded of how, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, very poor families who had been displaced by the hurricane were given Wal-Mart gift cards. The expectation had been that they'd buy food and toiletries. Instead, they spent them on junk food. It may have been a survival-instinct thing: you've lost everything, you get a gift card and the first thing you want to do is buy food- particularly the kind you find comforting.

If you never lived that way (and I haven't, for which I'm thankful), it's hard to understand those decisions.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:11 PM   #55
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In my poor days, I used the cover of a pan to cook potatoes. I removed the knob, covered the hole with foil and that was my frying pan.

Being from a middle class background, I lacked the skills for basic survival. Even was ashamed to attend a class because I had no clean clothes.

Now with places like $.99 store I'd be hardly concerned about where my next meal would come from. Also, I've since fasted many times (water only) and one time for 14 days. Going without food for days would not scare me.

We're all so rich now, many living in poverty today would be middle class in 1950. And to compare 1950 to 1900, one's life would be unimaginably good.

Where I live now the avg home is ~$1MM. Mostly first/second generation immigrants. They thrive, just wanting a chance.

Not trying to be insensitive to those as in this article. If one doesn't have basic life skills, one is up ****'s creek. Common sense and rationality we see is often not that common.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:13 PM   #56
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This article reminds me why I don't get the LATimes, I mean who pays to read these things anyways.


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Old 01-30-2016, 03:33 PM   #57
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I highly recommend the recent book by Linda Tirado if this sort of thing interests you. It is called Hand to Mouth, and went a long way in helping me understand more about the mindset of those living in poverty.
+1 on the book Hand to Mouth. I bought it last year and then donated it to the library. A bit of an eye-opener about how even having a stable address means so much in finding and keeping a job. The author makes it much more clear why poor people make decisions that on the surface seem so unwise.

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I agree. I can't think of a single time in my life that I spent $21.36 or more on one meal. Even if there are leftovers, that's a ridiculous amount to spend on a meal for anyone who has $50K in CC debt.
Yes, with the $50k in cc debt that doesn't make much sense to most of us - but see Gumby's post above. I'm a guy who didn't see the inside of a restaurant until high school and it was a very long time before I'd be willing to spend the money on a restaurant meal at all, let alone one where they have wine glasses on the table. Once in a great while like for a wedding anniversary or similar occasion we'll spring for a $100+ meal for two but we certainly don't make a habit of it.

But I'd never do that if I had outstanding cc debt.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:47 PM   #58
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I agree. I can't think of a single time in my life that I spent $21.36 or more on one meal. Even if there are leftovers, that's a ridiculous amount to spend on a meal for anyone who has $50K in CC debt.
OK, I have spent more than that for a meal, but I wouldn't if I had $50K of CC debt. I don't know how their mind works, really.

Sometimes people who have a whole less money than I do shock me by the way they they spend their money. Priorities are definitely different.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:50 PM   #59
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A funny story. We recently attended a wedding. During the reception dinner I was tablemates who has lived 30 years at the same address, near our current home, and pronounced himself a "foodie". I was excited to hear his experiences and recommendations until he told me his two ethnic favorites. I know one, took my grandchildren a year ago and vowed never to return.
I used to have coworkers who raved about a certain Mexican restaurant in town. I ate there once. Nothing we were served could not be duplicated with boxed this, canned that and bagged the-other-thing purchased at most general purpose grocer stores like a Safeway or Kroger. Yet, this was the 'finest' Mexican food in the county.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:53 PM   #60
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I have been to restaurants where a side dish of mashed potatoes or steamed broccoli is $10. So, the $21.36 meal for a prime rib is not bad, even for this woman. But in addition to the $100 to see a Frank Lloyd tour, I wonder what other things that she spent money on that she should not.

As I said earlier, I have read blogs of destitute people who spend $5 on a fancy-schmancy toothpaste tube, or buy grocery at Whole Foods. How do we help these people?
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