Money

Store Clerk Jackie Whiton Fired for Refusing to Sell Cigarettes to Welfare Recipients

| by Michael Allen

In Peterborough, New Hampshire, 65-year-old Jackie Whiton was fired from her job, as a cashier at the Big Apple convenience store, for refusing to allow welfare recipients to use their EBT cards to buy cigarettes.

Whiton told the Boston Herald about the first unnamed welfare recipient, whom she turned away: “I said to him, ‘Do you think that the man in line behind you and the lady behind him want to buy you your cigarettes?’ And he said ‘Yes.’ Then he said, ‘Give me back my card.’ And I said, ‘Give me back my cigarettes.’ ”

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Whiton’s manager, later, told her that she could not refuse to sell cigarettes or beer to welfare recipients, per New Hampshire law. So Whiton gave her notice to the manager, but was still working behind the counter when a second welfare recipient came in the store with an EBT card to buy cigarettes.

Whiton recalled: “He was very capable of working, so I told him to get a J-O-B.”

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A few minutes later, she was fired.

A spokesman for the Big Apple chain said yesterday: “Company policy is to follow rules and regulations, and the sale of cigarettes to EBT card-holders is legal. She didn’t wish to follow company policy, so she was let go after four years.”