Food stamps glitch is a glimpse into pandemonium to come

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnder the POS’s presidency, the number of Americans receiving food stamps (now called Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT) exploded.

Today, one in five U.S. households are on food stamps. Worse still, we are taking two steps back for every step forward: For every new job that’s been created, two new recipients (let’s call them food-stampers) are added to the food stamps dole.

Given our exploding national debt and the impending bankruptcy of, first, Social Security Disability (in 2016!), then Social Security itself, followed by Medicare, anyone with half a brain whose head isn’t plunged deep in the River of Denial, knows that the morbidly obese Welfare State cannot be sustained.

Here’s a glimpse into the social pandemonium and mayhem when that day comes and the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.

Last Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, the EBT computer system went down in several states, including Louisiana. Reportedly, Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system, experienced a power outage while conducting a routine backup test in one of the company’s locations. While the system was back up Saturday night, it still was not functioning entirely properly in some areas.

Many stores turned away EBT shoppers, but not Wal-Mart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, Louisiana. Those stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though, since the EBT system was down, the cards were not showing limits. The store managers called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman said to let the food-stampers use the cards anyway.

In other words: FREE STUFF!

What happened was not pretty.

The food-stampers went into a buying frenzy, stripping the stores’ shelves by the end of the day.

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EBT run

October 14, 2013 Carolyn Roy reports for KSLA, Oct. 13, 2013, that food stamps recipients literally cleared the Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield. “Just about everything is gone, I’ve never seen it in that condition,” said Mansfield Walmart customer Anthony Fuller.

From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had 49 cents on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food.

The chaos ultimately required intervention from local police in Springhill and Mansfield who were brought in for crowd control. Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, “It was worse than any black Friday” that he’s ever seen.

There were no arrests.

Lynd says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts filled to overflowing in the aisles and left.

EBT run2

Walmart employees could still be seen putting food from the carts away as late as Sunday afternoon. “I was just thinking, I’m so glad my mom doesn’t work here [Walmart] anymore, that’s the only thing I could think about, those employees working, that would have to restock all that stuff,” said O.J Evans who took cell phone video of the overflowing shopping carts at the Mansfield Walmart.

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Walmart shoppers Stan and Judy Garcia said, ”That’s plain theft, that’s stealing that’s all I got to say about it.”

Kayla Whaling, a spokesperson for Walmart, tells KSLA News 12 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.”

A spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (LA DSFS) says they take all allegations of potential fraud seriously, they are aware of the reports and they will be investigating. According to a notice posted on the LA DSFS website on Saturday:

“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. 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. The public is encouraged to report cases of suspected SNAP fraud by calling the DCFS toll-free hotline at 1-888-LAHELP-U and selecting option 7 from the main menu or by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportFraud.”

~Eowyn

Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds.

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