It wasn’t their low prices that were drawing in large crowds at the Springhill, Louisiana Walmart this past Saturday. A power outage due to the failure of a back-up generator at the Electronic Benefits transfer system caused a pretty monumental glitch this weekend in the program that temporarily lifted the spending limits on all cards.
“It was definitely worse than Black Friday,” says Police Chief Will Lynd of the incident. He reports that people were dragging out eight to ten grocery carts to take advantage of this narrow window of mistake. One customer even got out with having made a $700 food purchase.
The glitch in the system left the store with absolutely no food on their shelves.
The mayhem went on for hours until an employee announced over the intercom that the issue had been resolved. At that point, shoppers left abandoned full carts of groceries throughout the store and left.
Walmart stores in surrounding areas temporarily closed their doors until the issue was fixed due to fire hazard concerns because of the amount of shoppers.
A representative from the EBT program stated that this should never have been an issue. There is a daily limit per spending limit of $50 on the card that is to be enforced by retailers at all costs, whether the system is down or not. When the Springhill Walmart was questioned about recognizing the limit, they did not respond.
Overall, there was a way to handle the situation that was not put into motion that would have made this a less severe mishap. I am interested to hear what is being done to make sure this does not happen again.