The U.S. has several benefits programs available to residents intended to help them through hard times, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
These benefits, often referred to with the term “food stamps” are provided using electronic benefits transfer cards, also known as EBT cards. There are fairly strict regulations for items eligible for purchase using EBT benefits, as outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Chiefly among these restrictions is the requirement that EBT funds be used to purchase food items for people, and exclude hot meals, pet food, supplements, and alcohol. Generally, they cannot be used for any non-food items.
Several beneficiaries of the SNAP program have taken to TikTok to share their experiences using them to purchase—or attempt to purchase—different food items. These experiences have ranged from shopping at luxury grocery stores like Erewhon to having their order for a cold sandwich declined based on their form of payment.
One nail salon technician, who mainly creates content based on his interactions with customers, shared in a video that he accepted customer’s offer to pay for their nails using their EBT benefits. In the video posted by @thethailyfe that captures a conversation between himself and the customer, he agrees to let her pay using the benefits for the promise of an additional $50 over his original price.
“I know everyone is trying to look good for the holiday, but please do not get your nails done if your bills are not pay and kids is not fed,” a text overlay on the video reads.
It is unclear whether the interaction is genuine, and many viewers suggested that the exchange is actually a skit, as the use of EBT funds for this service would likely be illegal. In 2022, a woman was arrested for trying to use food stamps to pay for her manicure.
“These are skits I’m pretty sure lol but I’m sure this stuff really happens,” one commenter wrote.
“It looks like a skit, if not, it’s an expensive lesson on not making idiotic choices and getting our priorities straight,” another commenter wrote.
“when are y’all gonna learn he stages his tiktoks her voice is in several,” a commenter wrote.
Others criticized the idea of getting one’s nails done when matters like bills and food for children are not already settled. Some even pointed out that missing benefits in this manner can result in permanent loss of benefits.
@thethailyfe EBT for Nails. #nails #nailsoftheday #559fresno #nailtech #tutorial #fyp #foryoupage #trendingnails #vietnamesesalon #nailtok #nail #fresnonails ♬ original sound – The Thai Lyfe
“she very obviously doesn’t have her priorities straight got bills to pay and groceries but you decide to get your nails done,” one commenter wrote.
“You shouldn’t be getting expensive nails if you can’t afford food for your kids in the first place,” another commenter wrote.
“Why get your nails done if you have bills and kids to feed,” a commenter wrote. “Then offer to sell your food stamps for nails!”
The Daily Dot has reached out to @thethailyfe via TikTok direct message regarding the video.