Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Oct 15, 2013 09:20 AM

Interesting Article regarding "glitch" in food stamp system which allowed unlimited funds to recipients

So who is responsible for this? Should Walmart "cut" people off who obviously went above their spending limit, even though their debt/food stamp card was still approving items?

Should the people be charged with some form of theft of taking advantage of the system while it was down?

Is it the state's problem since they were the source of the "glitch"?

What do my fellow Chow's say?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMO, they were nothing more than looters. Hopefully there will be a mechanism to credit what they stole against future entitlements. But somehow I doubt it will happen.

    1. Some years ago, my bank erroneously credited my account with about $10,000. I didn't go on a spending spree. And I knew they'd demand the money back even if I'd spent it. I think this is an analogous situation. The customers who knowingly went way over the value on their cards were knowingly stealing.

      As far as the stores are concerned, it looks like those with wiser management stopped using the EBT system when it became apparent that it was broken. But others didn't -- and I'm sure they'll have to swallow the losses (they could try to recoup from the customers, but I don't think they'll get very far).

      EDIT: I looked at some of the pictures from the Walmart stores that were "wiped out" and I have little sympathy for them. It would have been completely clear that many people were buying far more than the limits on the cards. A Walmart spokesperson said “We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families." -- which would have been commendable if they had put in place some kind of reasonable limit.

      1. How did news spread fast enough for multiple stores to be completely wiped out?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Kontxesi

          Pretty much all food stamp recipients have texting devices.

          1. re: Veggo

            Well, yeah. But... I guess what I mean is how did they even discover it was happening to spread the word. It's not like someone loaded down with $500 of stuff and thought "I wonder if I can get away with all of this.... Oh wow, it worked!" Unless people do that....

            I guess maybe cashiers were calling their managers over about it and then talking about it in front of customers?

            I don't know. I guess I was really thinking out loud. There's a few ways it could have happened, I suppose.

            1. re: linguafood

              Folks, the 'are SNAP recipients living it up while receiving benefits' argument has very little to do with the specifics of this situation and it's a far reaching argument that's fairly far outside the scope of Chowhound. We'd ask that people not continue this conversation down this path, please. If you are going to participate in this thread, please focus on the actual situation described, and do not turn it into a referendum on whether SNAP or government assistance is a good or bad idea in general.

            2. re: Kontxesi

              Good news travels fast, FREE FOOD !!!!

            3. It isn't the state's problem. Wal-Mart will not be reimbursed for expenditures above the limits, as the article reports. That is proper. Whether the company seeks restitution from any of their customers for civil fraud is a business decision. I doubt any cases will be prosecuted as criminal fraud by the state.

              1. The original comment has been removed