October 5, 2009
There IS Such a Thing as a FREE LUNCH
"Did you have a good day at school today?" I asked my daughter as she hopped off the school bus last Thursday.
Camber nodded her head and rubbed her belly. "I had popcorn chicken and chocolate milk today for lunch!" she chirped.
"Huh?" I asked, confused. I was fairly certain that the peanut butter sandwich that I had put in her lunchbox that morning wasn't capable of such an extreme makeover.
"How did you buy lunch?" I asked. "I didn't give you any money."
My daughter looked at me like I was missing a few marbles. "You don't need any money to buy lunch," she explained. "You just give the lunch lady your student ID number, and she gives you a tray."
This was how I learned about the elementary school's credit program. Instead of sending your children to school with wads of cash each day, parents are encouraged to deposit money into a special cafeteria account. For unexplained reasons, the school allows children without accounts to buy lunches on credit as well.
I was scared to ask the next question, but I did anyway.
"How many free lunches have you received since school started?" I asked.
My daughter shrugged her shoulders. "Like a million," she replied.
I smiled through gritted teeth.
The next day, I received a bill in the mail for $41.60, the cost of 16 school lunches.
This morning, I solidified my claim to the title of the Meanest Mom in America by firing off a cease-and-desist letter to the school cafeteria.