While food stamp programs may vary from state to state, it would seem logical to restrict usage of those stamps to actual food items. Not so in the case of Starbucks located inside grocery stores in Oregon, where you can use stamps to purchase cold beverages like a Frappuccino.
Local Fox 12 affiliate KPTV in Oregon teamed up with Jackie, who has an Oregon Trail card, that state’s food stamp card. She used it to buy a tall Frappuccino and a slice of pumpkin bread at a Starbucks located inside of a Safeway grocery store.
Federal guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) state that people can’t use food stamps to buy food that is eaten inside a store or hot food. Certain luxury items are an exception, including soft drinks, candy, cookies and ice cream.
Oregon Trail cards can’t be used at stand-alone Starbucks locations, but in-store registers mark cold beverages as a grocery item.
A spokesman with the State Department of Human Services told FOX 12 he wasn’t aware this practice was happening.
“We’ll contact these grocery stores to get more information and make sure they’re operating within the SNAP guidelines,” said DHS communications director Gene Evans.
Don’t try to add any additional syrup to that Frappuccino, however, as it is not covered under the food stamp rules.
*Thanks to Consumerist reader Harper G. for the tip!