Food Stamp Glitch Prompts Weekend Spending Splurge at Walmart

Daniel Doherty

10/14/2013 11:30:00 AM - Daniel Doherty

Over the weekend, some EBT card recipients in Louisiana took advantage of a major and temporary glitch in the system which allowed them, for a span of several hours, to purchase limitless goods and services from a number of local Walmarts.

In a sane world, we would call this type of behavior by its rightful name -- “stealing” -- although no arrests have yet been made:

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system allows recipients of government food stamps to purchase goods using a digital card with a set spending limit, but for a few hours over the weekend, that limit disappeared for many users visiting Walmart stores in Louisiana.

Walmart and local police in Springhill and Mansfield confirmed to CBS affiliate KSLA that officers were called into the stores to help maintain order Saturday as shoppers swept through the aisles at two stores and bought as much as they could carry.

Xerox, which hosts some of the infrastructure used by the EBT card system, told KSLA that a power outage during a routine maintenance test caused the temporary glitch.

Walmart workers phoned their corporate headquarters to ask how they should handle all the shoppers with unlimited, government-funded spending limits, and were told to keep the registers ringing.

Walmart, the corporation often maligned and negatively impacted by Leftist do-gooders, kept its registers open and its customers happy during the outage by continuing to sell its products, even though food stamp recipients were almost certainly (and knowingly) stealing from them:

"We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families," Walmart representative Kayla Whaling told KSLA. She added that Walmart was, "fully engaged and monitoring the situation and transactions during the outage."

Amateur video taken on shoppers' cell phones shows dozens of shopping carts, piled high with merchandise, abandoned in the aisles of one Walmart after the announcement was made that EBT cards were once again showing accurate spending limits.

By all accounts, Walmart handled the situation pretty well. Truth be told corporate could have closed the stores immediately, thus preventing needy and low-income families from purchasing the food they needed when they needed it. But they didn’t. Instead, they kept their doors open to the public -- despite some EBT card recipients’ willingness to steal and pillage from them.

To their credit, Walmart put the welfare of Louisiana's communities ahead of their own desire to turn a profit. Shameful more shoppers didn’t honor this unselfish act of goodwill.

UPDATE: It's also worth noting that Walmart's corporate policy states that any refrigerated or frozen foods, if left unrefrigerated or unfrozen for longer than 15 minutes, can no longer be sold in stores. Thus, many items left behind by shoppers last weekend were thrown away, resulting in another financial hit for local Walmart stores in the area.