A Glitch Let Walmart Customers Buy Unlimited Food — But Don't Blame Them

This takes Walmart's low price guarantee to a whole new level.

After an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system went down in several states, a Louisiana Walmart was forced to give away the vast majority of its grocery inventory because of a system malfunction that hid limits on the customers' cards.

The glitch started at about 7 pm Saturday night. After receiving permission from their corporate office, Walmart continued to allow customers to buy food.

Local police Chief Will Lynd told a local TV station, "It was worse than any black Friday." If you've ever been shopping on black Friday, that is saying something.


One customer tried to purchase close to $700 worth of goods. However, when the system came back online at 9 pm, her card showed only 49 cents. The woman eventually left and agreed to leave the food behind.


Upon investigation, several departments have indicated that the issue might have been rooted in fraud committed by some involved in the shopping frenzy. 

I can already see the right wing headlines: "Greedy EBT recipients attack local Walmart." Those who have planned to take funds away from food stamp recipients will use this as fuel to their political fire. One customer had called it "plain theft."

But the matter is much more complicated than that. We all go crazy for a good deal.

As far as we know, those customers went into that store to buy the food necessary for their families to survive. Can we fault them for wanting a little more? To not have to worry about food for a few days?

Can we say we've never taken advantage of a sale, or a glitch? This incident requires much more investigation before anyone debates the ethical implications of a man "stealing" a loaf of bread to feed his family

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Anthony O'Reilly

is an aspiring journalist living in NYC. He graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Print Journalism. He served as the news editor of the independent student newspaper, the Torch. At the Torch, he covered a variety of stories including: the federal trial of Cecilia Chang, the emergence of a Gay-Straight Alliance on campus and allegations of fraud in the University's administration. He also served as an editorial/web intern at the Queens Courier.

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