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Wal-Mart on food-stamp looting spree: ‘We made the right choice’

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wal-Mart is standing behind a decision to let people walk with hundreds of dollars in free food at two Louisiana stores Saturday night when an electronic glitch briefly lifted the spending caps on the cards of food stamp recipients.

"We know we made the right choice," Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg told ABC News.

The Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services said Wal-Mart should have limited purchases to $50 each during the emergency, and the chain will have to cover its own losses — an amount Wal-Mart did not specify, ABC News reported.

"Our focus was to continue serving our customers," said another Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling, ABC News reported.

Word quickly spread in the Louisiana towns of Springhill and Mansfield that a food stamp glitch was giving recipients an unlimited balance on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, causing two Wal-Marts in the area to be completely ransacked.

Local police officers were called in for crowd control, though no one was arrested, the report said.

"It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town,. There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Wal-Mart was totally decimated," Springhill Police Chief Will Lyn told KSLA-TV.

Over the course of two hours, frenzied shoppers filled their carts with everything they could get their hands on, but when the cards came back online at 9 p.m., people abandoned their carts and left, the Daily Mail reported.

Wal-Mart employees could still be seen cleaning up the mess as late as Sunday afternoon.

"I was just thinking, I'm so glad my mom doesn't work here anymore," said O.J. Evans, who took a video of the overflowing shopping carts at the Mansfield Wal-Mart, according to KSLA. "That's the only thing I could think about, those employees working, that would have to re-stock all that stuff."

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