Wal-Mart shelves in Louisiana cleared during EBT outage

Font Size:

A glitch in the Electronic Benefits Transfer system resulted in chaos and the need for police assistance at a couple Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana Saturday, according to local reports.

A snafu during a routine system update by vendor Xerox over the weekend left EBT card — the vehicle for government benefits like food stamps — users in 17 states unable to use their benefits cards.

The system was back in service within a day, but not before Wal-Mart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA saw the shelves cleared when the stores began allowing people to use their EBT cards without limits.


Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd told KSLA News 12 that the police were called in to assist because people were taking so much off of the shelves.

“It was worse than any black Friday,” he told the local station.

According to the police chief, people piled their carts with as much as they could hold for over two hours.

KSLA reports that when the glitch was fixed and limits showed back up on the EBT cards, people rushed out of the store, leaving a huge mess for employees to clean up.

Lynd added that nobody was arrested.

Kayla Whaling, a Walmart spokeswoman, told KSLA 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 during the outage so that they could get food for their families,” Whaling said.

Follow Caroline on Twitter