Food stamp cards let shoppers go crazy

Shelves in a Louisiana Wal-Mart were emptied after computer glitch removed limits from EBT cards.

Shelves in a Louisiana Wal-Mart were picked clean when a computer glitch removed limits from EBT cards.


Updated: Wal-Mart says: No regrets

While food stamp recipients in 17  states, including Pa., couldn’t use their Electronic Benefits Transfer cards on Saturday, some in Louisiana found that the sky was the limit,  CBS affiliate KSLA reports.

When shoppers at Wal-Marts in Springhill, not far from the Arkansas border, and Mansfield, about 40 miles south of Shreveport, realized their cards had no spending limits, it caused a frenzy.

Store managers called headquarters to find out what to do. And local police arrived to help keep order.

The same glitch — a power outage — that caused the debit-like cards not to work here led to the shopping sprees in Louisiana, said Xerox, which runs the EBT servers.

“We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families,” says Kayla Whaling, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

Xerox fixed the glitch by late Saturday. The Louisiana shopping spree lasted about two hours.

Cellphone video shows shopping carts filled to the brim with goodies left in the aisles of one Wal-Mart after an  announcement over the public address system told customers that the EBT cards were showing the correct spending limits, according to CBS News.

The taxpayers, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says, won’t be stuck with the bill. Wal-Mart will, department spokesman Trey Williams tells ABC News. Retailers who did not follow emergency procedures that limit sales up to $50 per cardholder would be responsible for any amount over eligible benefits, Williams says. The department vows to take allegations of fraudulent use of the cards by recipients seriously, KSLA reports.

Updated 10-15: “We know we made the right choice,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg tells today.

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