On Saturday, tens of millions of Americans across 17 states found themselves in an unfamiliar situation: they couldn't rely on the US government for their daily foodstamp-funded bread. The result was anger, confusion and sometimes, outright panic, as shoppers left their full shopping carts in stores, and departed their favorite general retailer in a daze. However, while most outlets that accepted EBT were experiencing a one-day, non-recurring hit to their EPS, several Walmart stores in Louisiana decided to brave through the Xerox-induced blackout for several hours by eliminating the spending caps on EBT cards, leading to nothing short of shopping stampedes. The result, as CBS reports, is that "Walmart and local police in Springhill and Mansfield ... were called into the stores to help maintain order Saturday as shoppers swept through the aisles at two stores and bought as much as they could carry."
Walmart workers phoned their corporate headquarters to ask how they should handle all the shoppers with unlimited, government-funded spending limits, and were told to keep the registers ringing.
"We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families," Walmart representative Kayla Whaling told KSLA. She added that Walmart was, "fully engaged and monitoring the situation and transactions during the outage."
Shoppers gave mixed reactions to the incident, with one man in the Springhill store told KSLA it was simply "human reaction" to stock-up when given the opportunity. Shopper Stan Garcia was more critical of the unscrupulous shoppers, however, saying that taking advantage of the brief glitch in the benefits system amounted to "plain theft. That's stealing, that's all I got to say about it."
The police disagreed:
Police spokesmen in both locations told KSLA that no arrests were made during the spending sprees.
After all, why arrest when all the public is doing is taking advantage of government generosity taken to its logical extreme: unlimited spending cards funding by either other taxpayers or America's creditors, the largest of which is now the Federal Reserve. Isn't that what the Fed enables Congress to do on a daily basis anyway?
Naturally, once the glitch was fixed, the stampede quickly ended:
Amateur video taken on shoppers' cell phones shows dozens of shopping carts, piled high with merchandise, abandoned in the aisles of one Walmart after the announcement was made that EBT cards were once again showing accurate spending limits.
There's that. Or perhaps it was all just a test run for what will happen when the Fed finally waves a white flag, and gives every American an unlimited-spending debt card in a desperate last-ditch effort to finally enact Bernanke's monetary helicopter paradrop wet dream.