Two Walmart stores in Louisiana will be stuck with most of the bill after food stamp recipients went on a huge shopping spree this past weekend after a power outage temporarily lifted spending limits, resulting in cleared store shelves.
Police were called to the Walmart stores in Mansfield, La., and Springhill, La., on Saturday as shoppers were aggressively piling food in their shopping carts. Some customers were seen pushing 8-10 grocery carts out of the store.
According to a Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services’ spokesman, retailers who chose not to use the emergency procedures that limit sales up to $50 per EBT cardholder during an emergency would be responsible for any amount spent over limits during the outage.
The shopping frenzy was triggered after the Electronics Benefits Transfer system went down after a back-up generator failed at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday.
According to eyewitnesses, while the scene was chaotic, the customers were not unruly. No fights were reported and no arrests were made. Many customers described the scene as similar to Black Friday.
Around 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, a Walmart employee made an announcement that the computer system had been restored and all card limits had returned. At that time, many customers left shopping carts full of food inside the store.
No arrests were made.