Walmart food stamps has turned into a showdown on who is going to pay for all those free groceries EBT cardholders got their hands on Saturday. For a few hours on Saturday afternoon folks in two Louisiana Walmart stores found that their EBT cards offered no limits on spending.
According the Christian Science Monitor on Oct. 15, while the error was on the part of Xerox, stores are given procedures to use when there’s a glitch with the EBT food stamp system. Walmart didn’t follow that procedure, so the bill for the massive amount of groceries that left their two stores with empty shelves, is on them.
Xerox is the company that runs the system for the food stamp EBT program, it was their glitch that put this shopping frenzy into motion. So far there's been no mention that they should be held accountable. It seems the blame is leaning towards Walmart.
"Fox and Friends" live on Tuesday morning described the frenzy in the stores and then the aftermath of carriages. The food that Walmart had to throw out after being left in the carriages amounted to a pretty penny on top of this free food bill it looks as if they are stuck with.
Walmart must eat all those free groceries they allowed people to purchase. When word got out that the food stamp EBT cards were registering no limits for spending, EBT cardholders flocked to the two stores. Shelves were emptied as chaos ensued. Some folks had as many as 10 carts full of food, report witnesses.
This frenzy went on for a couple of hours until the announcement on the store’s intercom put a halt to the freebies. Walmart announced that the food stamp EBT cards were now registering the correct balances. It was like a plug was pulled and people drained out of the store.
As quick as the frenzy started, it went away, with hundreds of full shopping carts abandoned in the wake. Because many of the items were perishables, Walmart needed to throw away quite a bit of food, leaving them with an even bigger bill for this freebie shopping spree.
Now that the dust has settled, the war of press releases begins. Louisiana officials said “they have no intention of being left holding the bag” for the expense of the unlimited shopping Walmart let go on.
The statement left it unclear on who is footing the bill, but referred all further questions on freebie Saturday to Walmart, in what appeared as a nice way of handing off the bill to the retail giant.
Trey Williams, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, the agency that issues the food stamp EBT card, said that emergency procedures are in place for incidents such as this, but Walmart did not follow those procedures. Williams said:
"Some retailers chose not to follow the process," he said. "Those businesses are only being reimbursed for the (maximum) amounts on individual cards."
Williams also said that the amount of the transactions that went above the balances on the individual card are being sent back as “insufficient.” Meaning Walmart is left holding the bag for letting these transactions go through.
The emergency EBT card procedure calls for no more than $50 per card is allowed to go through when a problem occurs such as the one Saturday. The two Louisiana Walmart stores involved in this free-for-all shopping on Saturday said they called Walmart headquarters and they were told to let the cash registers keep ringing up the groceries, and this is what they did.
Several other grocery stores in the area stopped taking the EBT food stamp cards when they realized there were no limits on the cards, but not Walmart.
Shoppers are free and clear of any wrong doing in the eyes of the law. They broke no laws of the land, but what about knowing that they weren’t entitled to all that food they took out of Walmart? That’s a personal situation that folks will need to deal with if they have any guilt about this at all.
It sounds like Walmart doesn’t have a leg to stand on, after all they are up against a government program, what do you think?