Cable's great. I love cable. TV makes me happy. Worth every penny I pay.
But seriously -- like nearly any food and drink location, how much time/money is reasonable to spend depends on if someone is waiting to take your seat. And tip well, especially if you intend to go back to the place. Spending an hour splitting a side of fries is fine, if the diner is empty.
You repay them by being a functioning, adult member of society. I speak as someone who is now 33yrs old but who lived at home rent free for the three years after undergrad while I sorted my life out and my parents paid my student loans so that I could work for peanuts ($28K/yr) at a very prestigious cancer hospital to build a resume to get into a good grad. school. If you live at home and they're still helping to support you financially, you make every effort to cook dinner so that your parents don't have to think about that. You do the dishes without ever being asked. You dust the house. You vacuum/sweep/mop the floors. You kept your personal spaces clean, including any bathrooms you use. You help with yard work if there's a yard. You do your own laundry. You ask when doing said laundry if they have anything to throw in the mix. You offer to do the grocery shopping even if you can't afford to be the one buying the groceries. You remember their favorite brands and flavor ice cream. Basically, you can repay them in ways that show they raised a decent, thoughtful, caring individual. Selfishness is not living at home. Selfishness is acting like a 10yr old when you live at home and not the grown up human being you are. If they are helping you, you do what you can to help them. Make their lives easier just as they're making your life easier.
Whoa. I had no idea people were anti-brunch! It is so perfect! Food + friends + rock solid excuse to start day drinking far too early. Maybe it's because my compadres and I always do it cheap and grimy (RIP the Lazy Catfish on Lorimer), but I find it absolutely delightful and not at all economically stressing.
I have worked with a few people who believe in all-nighters and all-weekend work marathons. I've come to realize that while sometimes those are important and useful things, they are far, far more often the result of insecurity. People think "I did all this work, it MUST be better work!" But exhaustion is not your friend. More work often means a lot of mediocre work, done at the cost of your personal life.
@jfruh Haven't you ever read a 19th century novel where the protagonist pawns his shirt collar to buy a crust of bread? Food stamp recipients should be allowed to own nothing more than a loincloth they've fashioned for themselves from squirrel pelts, and a rock for hunting said squirrels. Each day a government morals inspector will weigh the amount of squirrel meat they are able to catch, and if it falls below the USDA minimum they receive a "deserving poor" ticket redeemable for bulk livestock-grade surplus grains and expired Army rations. I believe this is the sort of system most people would prefer?
Also, incidentally, food stamps are one of the few public benefits in the US that are automatic, i.e. it is not first come, first serve from a limited pool of funds, so you're not preventing anyone else from getting benefits by claiming them (as opposed to, say, Section 8).
If you qualify for food stamps, you deserve food stamps. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not fit to be a citizen of a civilized country.
People say that a lot, but the truth is in terms of access to employment NYC is probably better than most places. I've never been unemployed here, even if it meant waitressing in between 'Office' jobs. I can be bored and broke anywhere. Why should I move?
This is interesting! However: I want to have it on record that you cannot buy beer or toilet paper with food stamps. Any place that lets you do that is gaming the rules. AND: The overall SNAP fraud rate is less than 1%, which is, you know, very very low, compared with things like military contracts and the like. I mean, you can't even buy food that heat has been applied to, like those rotisserie chickens that are often on sale, or a warm sandwich at a deli counter. You can't buy diapers or soap or anything but food, seeds to grow food, and spices. ALSO: This kind of stigma is not AT ALL limited to people with backgrounds of privilege! In fact, SNAP is really under-subscribed in part because of myths about it (that you have to pay it back, or you must be unemployed). I don't know how often I interview or run into someone who says they're so ashamed to use them, it's a last resort, they're so upset, they never thought .... People: homeowners are not ashamed about the mortgage interest deduction. Seniors using Medicare aren't thinking of it as a last resort. SNAP exists as part of our social contract! It's called an entitlement program because we long ago decided that nobody, nobody, nobody in America should go hungry. (And the other point I hate trotting out but that might sway some is that SNAP is a really direct and local type of stimulus -- people aren't going to sit on massive reserves of SNAP payments! They're going to spend it ASAP at a local grocery store, corner store, whatever. Demand for goods and services supports and creates jobs. kthxbye.)