The glitch, caused by a power outage during routine maintenance at Xerox, affected millions of households across 17 states and took many hours to fix.
Employees at the stores in Springhill and Mansfield, Louisiana started noticing that the EBT cards weren’t registering spending limits at around 7 p.m. Saturday and called the corporate office for guidance. They were given the green light to continue use of the cards despite the glitch. Once this was realized, customers began clearing out entire shelves and buying hundreds of dollars worth of food. Police were brought in to assist with crowd control, although law enforcement in both towns note that customers were calm.
“I saw people drag out eight to ten grocery carts,” Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd told local CBS affiliate KSLA. “It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town.”
An employee at the Mansfield Walmart noted that they had to stop selling food at around 9 p.m. because there was nothing left to sell. In Springhill, many overflowing shopping carts were left abandoned in the aisles once the limits were restored, causing employees to spend nearly an entire day returning the items to their proper places.
Walmart is reportedly responsible for any amount spent over the limit. According to a representative for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, Walmart chose not to adhere to the emergency policy which limits all cards to $50 during an outage, which makes them responsible.
So a bunch of families got a ridiculous amount of free food from Walmart — best sale ever? Hopefully, this will bring some much needed relief to families in need, even if it is technically fraudulent spending on Walmart’s dime.