This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Food Stamp Card Failure Incites Shopper Frenzy at Walmart Stores

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) ¿ A flash mob of shoppers raided stores impacted by a technical glitch in the federal food stamp program this past weekend, but taxpayers will not have to foot the bill.

Shelves were cleared at two Louisiana Walmart stores Saturday as a system failure for electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards incited a shopping frenzy. EBT cards are much like debit cards, allowing purchases tied to benefits issued through the federal food stamps program, which offers low-income families assistance in purchasing groceries.

Xerox implements the federal card program and reported a service outage Saturday, October 12, that prevented the reporting of benefit limits on EBT cards in 17 states. Shoppers in most affected states were turned away, but two Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana allowed unlimited purchases during the outage.

Must Read: Where Are Mutual Fund Investors Putting Their Money?

Due to overwhelming crowds, police were ultimately called in to assist store employees. When the technical issue was resolved at 9 p.m. and a store announcement was made saying the cards were back online, shoppers abandoned their packed shopping carts and left. No arrests were reported.

Springhill, La. police chief Will Lynd told Shreveport television station KSLA that when the EBT system was restored, one woman was detained, because she had attempted to purchase $700 of groceries with only a 49 cent credit on her card. She was held by police until Walmart authorities said they wouldn't press charges if she left the food.

According to a notice posted on The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services website, all transactions are recorded.

"While transactional systems maintained by DCFS contractors may have been impacted by today's outage, the systems that DCFS uses to track EBT card usage and identify fraud were still in place," the notice says. "DCFS vigorously investigates all fraud claims. Anyone suspected of fraudulently using public assistance benefits are investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Trey Williams, a spokesman for DCFS, told the Baton Rouge Advocate that taxpayers would not be responsible for any false benefits claimed.

"No funds from our standpoint were utilized," Williams said. "The safeguards the state had in place worked. Any recoupment would be from a retailer standpoint."

Kayla Whaling, a spokesperson for Walmart, told KSLA that the company was "fully engaged and monitoring the situation and transactions during the outage."

"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," Whaling said.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.99 0.00%
FB $102.01 0.00%
GOOG $682.40 0.00%
TSLA $151.04 0.00%
YHOO $27.04 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,973.84 +313.66 2.00%
S&P 500 1,864.78 +35.70 1.95%
NASDAQ 4,337.5120 +70.6750 1.66%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs