Walmart Store Picked Clean After Computer Malfunctions In Louisiana

walmart15n-3-webOccasionally, something will happen that shows a latent tendency of dishonesty in people regardless of class or station. Once the lights go off or security is suspended, there is an explosion of thefts or some riot. I remember one Christmas seeing what looked like lawyers or businessmen trying to use umbrellas to unhook fur decorations on the Christmas tree in the Daley Plaza that were part of a Canadian holiday display. One was actually on the other one’s shoulders. I am not sure why I am always surprised. However, this weekend, the food stamp computer system in Louisiana experienced a glitch where it would not show the limit on cards. Most stores stopped purchases with the EBT cards. However, Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, Louisiana decided to continue to make sales. The word quickly spread and the stores were mobbed with shoppers who took virtually every item off the shelves. Then the EBT cards came back online with the limits on the cards . . .

Suddenly, hundreds of people fled the store after it was announced that the card were showing the limits again. Dozens of over-stuffed carts were left in lines and all of the shelves were stripped clean.  Given the low level of food support on such cards, it raises a moral dilemma in the interpretation of laws on theft.  Should such laws include a Jean Val Jean exception in the prosecution of people overcharging food stamp cards?  Are such act justified on a relative scale given poverty issues?  After posting this blog early this morning, many have insisted that it is and even objected to taking note of the story. Yet it raises an interesting question of the relativity of crime. ABC News reported the story as a “shopping spree” as opposed to theft.

Police were called before the system came back on line because people were fighting to get their hands on any item.

220px-Supplemental_Nutrition_Assistance_Program_logo.svgOne woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card when the system came back. However, she was released when Walmart decided not to prosecute. Walmart said it did not want to prosecute anyone.

What is left is another breakdown of basic notions of honesty and responsibility. It is particularly disturbing to hear of children being enlisted to strip the shelves and then fleeing with their parents when the system came back online. I do feel there is the mitigating circumstance due to the fact that these are poor individuals and the level of support is low. I am less troubled by such scenes as I am more affluent forms of theft like banking fraud and government perjury that goes unpunished. However, this still constitutes a form of theft.

What is interesting about the single woman being detained is that she committed theft. Those in line had not committed any crime if they abandoned their carts before using their cards.  She was not prosecuted. Many others succeeded in the effort to circumvent limits.

There is also the question of liability. Xerox is being blamed for the glitch in 14 states. Yet, Walmart made the decision to honor cards without limits. That would seem a superseding intervening act.

We have had a number of people say that such actions are justified due to the poverty of the individuals.  What do you think?

Source: KSLA

75 thoughts on “Walmart Store Picked Clean After Computer Malfunctions In Louisiana”

  1. Professor Turley’s blogs are primarily political and I do not agree with his politics. This is just another one. Please understand. I know it is his blog and he should write whatever he damn well pleases. And I value the blog, just not for Turley’s political positions. The GBloggers are superb. I think that most readers agree. Just look at the lengthy and interesting discussions generated by the GBloggers (and I guess not read by Turley since this was well covered last weekend)

    The daily stuff is a little more light weight. I respectfully submit that the sexual crimes, and their goverment sanctioned punishments, committed in SA and India are indeed horrible. That subject has been covered thoroughly. We get it. Additional postings seem to me to lean toward some other objective. Whatever that it, it sure isn’t to promote “brotherhood”.

  2. Having been on SNAP for a few months before my SSDI decision was reached after my injury, I can assure you that even though the limits may have been turned off they still kept track of every thing that was bought and all of those poor people who mistakenly thought they were getting the proverbial “free lunch” will either have to pay back everything that they charged or have it deducted from their future benefits.
    How very sad for them – they are going to be woefully unprepared for what is about to befall them and their families. They were just trying to get a little ahead in their battle to feed their families – now they better make they good last because they are in for a time of famine.

  3. When the government comes back on line, so to speak, it needs to sue Walmart for every purchase on a card which is over the top limit that anyone would have been issued. Then they need to think about going back to Food Stamps, and issue ones with the integrity in printing of dollars so they cant be counterfeited. Then they have the names of every thief who bought more than their card allowed. Prosecute.

  4. The reality is that this society has been and is being plundered by a tiny percentage swimming in ill-gotten wealth. That people in need would act like this doesn’t surprise me because for them their families come first in a world that has impoverished them. Ever shop at Wal-Mart? It is a depressing and demeaning experience. I have shopped there, but I no longer will because of their draconian personnel policies. Then again I have the wherewithal to avoid them. Many people do not have that wherewithal and must. The blame here is on Wal-Mart for continuing to accept EBT despite the computer glitch. Knowing the political proclivities of the Walton Family, I could even see their oversight as intentional.

  5. davidbluefish, you’re welcome. I used to go to the ‘day after Christmas sale’ at a coupl of department stores and holiday stores and I gotta’ say I saw ‘trashed’: utter chaos and significant breakage and other forms of destruction. I enjoyed the bargains but I gave it up in disgust. I didn’t want to be associated with it, it was embarrassing just to be there.

  6. This is the most disgusting post I have read on JT’s blog, and I’ve been a reader for several years. Total contempt for the poor. Even all of JT’s military brown nosing doesn’t sink to this level of filth.

  7. lottakatz, thank you for the heads up, I went back and watched both videos. The words used to describe the situation are much more inflammatory than the video shows. There is a point to be made here about personal responsibility, or wishful thinking on the part of the shoppers, but the only damage is the need to restock the shelves and perhaps some wasted perishables.

  8. Reblogged this on Dan's World and commented:
    This is symptomatic of the moral values of our population in general. Several very wealthy people also feel entitled to lie, cheat and steal. The question is why do so many people feel the need to do this? I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I wonder if it’s an example of what happens when people are not required to work for what they have be it rich or poor. What are your thoughts?

  9. Elaine, Right. Taxpayers subsidize with the social safety net these greed-head corporations and allow them to get away with wage slavery. I posted in another thread that WalMart had as part of its employee orientation information on how to use the safety net programs to supplement their wages and lack of benefits but stopped because the optics were bad. Corporate profits for the big box retail industry and fast food industry are being subsidized by tax payers so many ways that it should be criminal. People grousing about food stamps ought to be demanding from their representatives that the minimum wage be $15.00 and a jobs bill…. oh wait the House is too busy trying to repeal/defund the ACA 42 times and push the country into economic collapse. Never mind

  10. For the Walton’s and the other 1%ers this was a gift from heaven, which is why no doubt the store didn’t put a store limit on the cards. BTW the decision to honor the cards was a “corporate” decision. Politics much?

    The headline is disingenuous at best. This was not a food riot. The place was not ‘trashed’. There were empty shelves and a lot of carts but there was nothing chaotic, no drifts of packaged food or cartons on the floor. The floor was clean, surfaces were clean. That wasn’t trashed by any stretch of the imagination. “The store looked like it was hit by a hurricane.” No it didn’t Professor. It looked like it needed to be completely restocked but had an otherwise ordered appearance.

    Also, the police were called but the spokesperson said that there was no rowdiness, the crowd was not unruly.

    “However, this was not food but any and every item in the store, according to officials.”, That’s not how the carts looked to me Professor. They had food and TP and the like. There weren’t carts overflowing with clothing or electronics or, or, or. Not that I could see and I watched the video pausing it here and there several times.

    Srsly, I think you fell for the flashy headline Professor.

    Red meat for the masses and boy oh boy did the sharks and other lowlife come out to make their positions known, from a position of moral superiority. One screen of the most recent comments on the linked blawg in the Professors article, when I grabbed the screen the oldest comment was 36 minutes old:

    @Elio Garcia – You’re wrong. It’s already been reported that there is no way that WalMart will be able to identify and therefore hold responsible all of the thieving animals who took advantage of the “glitch”. As usual, the hard working American Tax Payer will have to foot the bill. Sound familiar?.

    al capone
    It’s interesting that the government can sequester the American Indian on a reservation but won’t allow segregation from the African-American savage …… some equality.

    Elio Garcia
    Calm down, anytime there is a glitch in the system, or you were given more food stamps than your family was allowed in any given month, you have to pay it back. Either by paying it back in cash or by having your benefits reduced until the balance has been corrected. No one is getting away with anything. The customers will be held accountable for their foolish behavior.

    al capone
    The perverted BLACK subculture with its disgusting, insidious lifestyle is like an intrusion of cockroaches infesting one neighborhood after another …… perhaps YOUR neighborhood is next! A savage is what a savage does …. and it’s BLACK ….. not maybe, not almost …… B-L-A-C-K! The jungle people rise again …..

    Wild animals/ thieves/scum/punks. They should be caged and all benefits taken away.

    I work and go to church with many hard working people of this same skin color. They can’t understand why their friends and family do things like this while they themselves have to work for what they get. Yet they continue to vote Democrat. I think this video should be shown to every bleeding heart liberal living in their ivory tower looking down on us southerners as “uneducated bigots”. Walk a mile in our shoes!

    Stephen Paul
    This is a very sad story of where Obama has taken our country . instead of JOBS and signs of strengthening our economy Obama has turned a record number of people towards Government dependency.

    Ellis Kaye
    Simply put: Animals.

    time machinist
    What is EBT?

    Hate leeches
    We should be shooting these pieces of trash in the head.

  11. We have had a number of people say that such actions are justified due to the poverty of the individuals. What do you think?

    They should receive the same horrible, excruciating, life threatening, swift and sure punishment that the Treasury plundering banksters get.

  12. How the “Wal-Mart Syndrome” Pushes Millions More Onto Food Stamps
    By David Zeiler, Associate Editor, Money Morning
    June 13, 2013


    Call it the “Wal-Mart Syndrome”.

    Entire industries — such as low-end retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and fast food chains like McDonald’s Inc. (NYSE: MCD) – pump up their profits by paying employees extremely low wages.

    But thousands of Americans who need to support a household on such low wages – either the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 or just a bit above it – can only do so with public assistance.

    In other words, with the help of welfare.

    “When low wages leave Wal-Mart workers unable to afford the necessities of life, taxpayers pick up the tab,” said a report released last month by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

    That report estimated that a single 300-employee Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Wisconsin cost taxpayers at least $904,542 a year in public assistance payments.

    And Wal-Mart employs 1.4 million people nationwide.

    And according to a study by the National Employment Project last year, 26% of the private sector jobs in the U.S. – 29.6 million jobs — pay less than $10 per hour.

    A few back-of-the-napkin calculations put the national taxpayer cost of the Wal-Mart Syndrome well into the tens of billions of dollars.

  13. Who’s dependent on food stamps? Cheapskate corporations
    Timothy Noah

    The House of Representatives passed a farm bill on July 11 that, for the first time in 40 years, excludes authorization for food stamps. Although this omission doesn’t eliminate spending on what’s known formally as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which can still receive congressional appropriations, it will likely result in substantial cuts. That’s because SNAP’s expansion has become a source of growing complaint among Republicans—most famously during the 2012 Republican primaries, when Newt Gingrich labeled Barack Obama “the food stamp president.”

    The GOP’s objection to food stamps is that they create welfare dependency among recipients (even though they can’t be used for anything except food). As Rep. Paul Ryan put it in his 2013 budget document, “State governments have little incentive to make sure that able-bodied adults on SNAP are working, looking for work, or enrolled in job training programs.”

    But this gets the problem exactly backwards. A majority of food-stamp families with an able-bodied adult do work, and more than 60% of such families work when they have children. They just don’t get paid enough to feed their families. SNAP is therefore principally a program to subsidize cheapskate employers like Walmart that don’t give employees enough salary to live on. It’s actually been called “the Walmart Syndrome.”

  14. How ironic. Walmart pays its workers so little that they often depend on public safety nets like SNAP to help them survive. We the taxpayers have to provide those services while the wealthy Walton family lives in luxury.


    You Pay Walmart’s Workers as Company Keeps Its Money
    Monday, 10 June 2013
    By Piper Hoffman, Care2 | News Analysis

    You are paying Wal-Mart employees’ wages. Yep, you.

    The notoriously stingy company cuts every corner to keep prices low, and one of those corners is the payroll. It pays employees peanuts (and then cheats them of their overtime peanuts, but that is another story). By “peanuts” I mean an average of $8.81 per hour.

    Many of these workers need welfare to survive. Thus you, the taxpayer, are paying part of Wal-Mart employees’ incomes, to the tune of between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store, and about $5,815 per employee. The welfare programs Wal-Mart workers rely on include Medicaid, subsidized housing and SNAP (aka food stamps — contrary to popular belief, over 40 percent of SNAP recipients live in a household with a wage-earner). Mother Jones breaks down the dollar figures each welfare benefit pays Wal-Mart employees in just the state of Wisconsin, concluding that taxpayers pay up to $67.5 million every year to support the company’s Wisconsin workers. And there are 49 more states full of Wal-Marts to pay for.

    Meanwhile the company is setting records for corporate profits. It could raise pay rates and remain well in the black, but instead actively resists paying anything like living wages.


    New Report Shows How Walmart Forces Its Employees to Live on the Dole
    —By Thomas Stackpole
    | Thu Jun. 6, 2013

    Walmart’s wages and benefits are so low that many of its employees are forced to turn to the government for aid, costing taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store, according to a report released last week by congressional Democrats.

    Walmart’s history of suppressing local wages and busting fledgling union efforts is common knowledge. But the Democrats’ new report used data from Wisconsin’s Medicaid program to quantify Walmart’s cost to taxpayers. The report cites a confluence of trends that have forced more workers to rely on safety-net programs: the depressed bargaining power of labor in a still struggling economy; a 97 year low in union enrollment; and the fact that the middle-wage jobs lost during the recession have been replaced by low-wage jobs. The problem of minimum-wage work isn’t confined to Walmart. But as the country’s largest low-wage employer, with about 1.4 million employees in the US—roughly 10 percent of the American retail workforce—Walmart’s policies are a driving force in keeping wages low. The company also happens to elegantly epitomize the divide between the top and bottom in America: the collective wealth of the six Waltons equals the combined wealth of 48.8 million families on the other end of the economic spectrum. The average Walmart worker making $8.81 per hour would have to work for 7 million years to acquire the Walton family’s current wealth.

    Using data from Wisconsin, which has the most complete and recent state-level Medicaid data available, the Democrats’ report finds that 3,216 of Wisconsin’s 29,457 Walmart workers are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. That figure that balloons to 9,207 when Walmart employees’ children and adult dependents are taken into account. The study also looked at the costs of other taxpayer-funded programs that Walmart employees on state Medicaid could also use. Here’s the tab:

    At least $251,706 for state Medicaid
    Between $25,461 and $58,228 for reduced-price school lunches
    Between $12,938 and $29,588 for reduced-price school breakfasts
    Between $155,406 and $355,350 for subsidized Section 8 housing
    Between $72,160 and $165,000 for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which gives money to low-income workers
    Between $11,414 and $26,100 for assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps poor families pay for heating costs
    Between $96,007 and $219,528 for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (food stamps)
    Between $279,450 an $639,090 for Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program benefits, which helps low-income workers pay for child care

    At a minimum, Walmart workers in Wisconsin known to be enrolled in Medicaid rely on at least $9.5 million a year in taxpayer funds. If the study’s low-end estimate of $900,000 per store in taxpayer-funded benefits is right, Walmart’s 300 Wisconsin stores could be forcing the state to provide as much as $67.5 million per year in benefits that employees of Walmart’s higher-wage competitors, such as Costco, don’t need.

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