Saturday, October 12th was like a dream in the small Louisiana towns of Springhill and Mansfield, a dream come true for EBT recipients and a nightmare for Wal-Mart and Xerox. For a few hours this past weekend, there seemed to be a computer glitch whenever EBT debit cards were swiped; apparently all EBT cards had no limit. This resulted in throngs of food stamp recipients flooded the grocery aisles of the local Wal-Mart. Customers were seen with eight to ten full carts of groceries, shelves were cleaned empty, as if it were Black Friday.
When questioned about whose fault the glitch is, both companies pointed the finger at each other. Wal-Mart claims that Xerox is the reason for the glitch, it was their machines that malfunctioned, and therefore they should have full financial responsibility. Xerox, on the other hand, claims that there is a “documented process for retailers like Wal-Mart to follow in response to EBT outages.” Yet neither have officially said who’s is going to pay the total amount, but Louisiana officials have covered the only the amount spent above the allowance on the EBT cards. The rest is to be sorted between Wal-Mart and Xerox.
Xerox also has emergency procedures set for this very situation, if the cards are not being processed properly then retailers have the option to call a phone number and receive authorization to approve the transaction. Wal-Mart chose not to do this, while other local grocery store refused service to customers whose EBT cards weren’t working properly. The fingers are pointed, but who is at fault has yet to be disclosed.