Food Stamp Trafficking: Why Small Groceries Need Judicial Protection from the Department of Agriculture (And from Their Own Employees)

A neon sign in the window of 7-Van Drugs reads “Food Stamps,” but the contradictory truth is posted inside on a handwritten sign taped to a thick pane of bulletproof plastic. 7-Van Drugs sits at the intersection of Seven Mile Road and Van Dyke in northern Detroit, where it has “serv[ ed] the community since 1948 at the same corner.” Inside 7-Van is an array of staple foods and basic household cleaning items, and there is a small pharmacy in the back. Customers must use a turnstile to pass their purchases through the bulletproof plastic to the cashier. There are no open windows, which could afford a clean shot. There is, however, a small slot to pass money back and forth, and above it is taped a pink piece of paper that says in black magic marker “We don’t accept food stamps.”