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 local Wal-Marts to be completely ransacked on Saturday night.
When Wal-Mart employees noticed that EBT cards weren’t showing limits, they called the corporate office and were advised to allow shoppers to use the cards anyway.
“We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families,” Wal-Mart representative Kayla Whaling told KSLA-TV.
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,” said Springhill Police Chief Will Lyn.
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.”
Miss Whaling did not say whether the company would somehow be refunded for the loss of food, but that they were “fully engaged and monitoring the situation and transactions during the outage.”