Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Have practice runs for Wal-Mart food riots begun?
Wal-Mart has gone wild thanks to a computer glitch in Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. In some cases they haven't worked at all and some of the customers were outraged and walked out without paying for food they may have taken but the bigger problems seems to be that many of them have removed the limit and allowed unlimited spending, which apparently they weren't supposed to do. According to some stories there are emergency procedures for this and Wal-Mart is supposed to cut them off over fifty dollars.
They didn't do that.
Now it appears as if they will be stuck with the tab and the bickering may last for a while while they point the finger at each other and try to decide whether or not they should prosecute the people that bought more than they were supposed to.
You know how it is; it is always much easier to prosecute people without political power even if they didn't cause the problem.
But the glitch is so obviously not the fault of the poor and even the police don't even seem to be taking that option seriously.
This problem seems to have come up in at least 17 states; one of the stories on it says the incident was "isolated." The voice of Andre the Giant, from the Princess Bride came to my head when I read that, saying, "I don't think that word means what you think that word means."
It will be interesting to see how they sort this mess out. But in the mean time a lot of people got food; and a lot of us are laughing at how foolish this is.
It was a matter of time before Wal-Mart started falling apart and this is almost certainly part of it.
The following are a few of the stories being stirred up; although many of the details haven't been sorted out and they will almost certainly change.
The messages on these articles seem to be full of people that are ready to blame all these people that took advantage of the situation; however this would be much more credible if corporations haven't been outsourcing jobs and crushing wages so that a shocking number of people in this country are no longer able to support themselves since they have to compete against workers that have few if any rights in sweat shops half way around the world and the corporations have consolidated so that they don't face real competition.
Is this as bad as many of the stories that many of us used to hear about what happened in the USSR?
Or is it worse?
Most of these stories seem to relatively that it was relatively civil despite the large crowds and abandoned, or perhaps stolen groceries.
This is supposedly unrelated to the government shut down; but it is another indication that the system is breaking down and when possible they at least consider blaming those that are easiest to blame. But I don't think they'll be able to.
EBT outage prompts disturbance, theft at Philadelphia Walmart 10/13/2013
Walmart shelves in Springhill, Mansfield, Louisiana cleared in EBT glitch 10/13/2013
EBT benefit card glitch sparks Walmart shopping sprees in Louisiana 10/13/2013
EBT Card Glitch Sparks Walmart Shopping Sprees In Louisiana 10/14/2013
Walmart shoppers fill carts to overflowing when EBT card system fails 10/14/2013
UPDATE: EBT System Running Again, 17 States Still Having Connection Issues 10/13/2013
Not all EBT card users joined in on "limitless" Walmart shopping spree 10/15/2013
Louisiana taxpayers not on hook for EBT spending spree at Walmart, official says 10/15/2013