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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 11/24/2010

Does having less mean having to expect less?

By Annys Shin

For many families who have fallen on hard economic times, this may be the first Thanksgiving they pick up their turkey not at the supermarket, but at a food pantry.

The experience can be humbling and heartbreaking. So is having to apply for unemployment extension after unemployment extension, and for food stamps. One result of the hard times is the increasing pressure this has placed on the people who provide these services.

Navigating the bureaucracies that manages these programs can be insanely frustrating. For the formerly middle class folks who have come to expect a certain level of efficiency in the private sector and in customer service, their fall into the struggling class can be eye-opening.

Do you have a story about diving into the bureaucracy of public support for the first time? I'd like to talk to folks about their experiences and learn whether their expectations about the way they are treated by service providers have changed. I can be reached at shina@washpost.com or come ahead with your observations and experiences on the comment board below.

By Annys Shin  | November 24, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Build-A-Story  
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