Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA made the mistake of allowing food stamp purchases on EBT cards Saturday during a 7pm-9pm computer system glitch which prevented merchants from even checking the amount of funds on those cards. Local retailers were completely disconnected from the federal food stamp database and a 2 hour food-free-for-all quickly turned into a disaster.
Upon hearing the news of the food-free-for-all EBT card holders immediately began ransacking their local Wal-Mart stores, stuffing their shopping carts full of groceries and paying for them with near-empty EBT cards that essentially had unlimited account balances because all accounting was offline.
The chaos ultimately required intervention from local police as the news spread like wildfire. After the system came back online and things settled down the store was completely ransacked, with much of the merchandise either off the shelves and gone completely or abandoned in shopping carts by those who weren’t quick enough to cash in on the freebie-vittles.
One person was allegedly detained for attempting to purchase $700 worth of groceries with only .49 cents on their card.
Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said his department was called in to assist Walmart employees during the event and told local news “It was worse than any black Friday I’ve ever seen.”
[box] Lynd explained the cards weren’t showing limits and they called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food.[/box]
Lynd says contrary to rumors, nobody was unruly or arrested and they were mainly there to help prevent shoplifting and theft. : )
“Just about everything is gone, I’ve never seen it in that condition,” said Mansfield Walmart customer Anthony Fuller.
Walmart spokesperson Kayla Whaling confirmed the incident: “We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards (and purchases on WIC and SNAP) during the outage so that they could get food for their families.”
Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system, experienced a power outage while conducting a routine backup test in one of the company’s locations. While the system was back up Saturday night, it appears that it was not functioning entirely properly in some areas.