Sunday, October 13, 2013

Xerox Snafu Shuts Down Food Stamp EBT Cards In 17 States, Including Indiana

A computer snafu caused by Xerox made EBT cards used by food stamp recipients in 17 states, including Indiana, inoperable. Food stamp beneficiaries visiting grocery stores over the weekend in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio were among those turned away due to the system-wide failure caused when the private vendor was conducting a routine check of the system. Initially, some thought the system's failure related to the government shutdown brought about by the inability of President Obama and Congress to agree on a budget outline for providing continued spending authority by many federal agencies. Officials for Xerox say they had the system restored by late yesterday evening. Xerox acquired ACS, the company that has been a part of the badly-botched welfare privatization effort in Indiana that has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and years of costly litigation.

UPDATE: Here is more information about the EBT glitch the mainstream media isn't talking about. According to a local news report out of Louisiana, EBT cards were showing no balance when the users swiped them. Rather than turn customers away, a local Walmart store allowed EBT users to go ahead and make purchase. As word spread, people started grabbing everything on the shelves, overfilling their shopping carts. When the system came back online, people abandoned shopping carts filled with groceries. KSLA has more about what happened in Mansfield and Springhill in Louisiana, which describes the scene of people stealing food as "natural, human reaction":
The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.
Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, "It was worse than any black Friday" that he's ever seen.
Lynd explained the cards weren't showing limits and they called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman  said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn't press charges if she left the food.
Lynd says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts full of food in the aisles and left.
"Just about everything is gone, I've never seen it in that condition," said Mansfield Walmart customer Anthony Fuller.
Walmart employees could still be seen putting food from the carts away as late as Sunday afternoon. "I was just thinking, I'm so glad my mom doesn't work here [Walmart] anymore, that's the only thing I could think about, those employees working, that would have to restock all that stuff," said O.J Evans who took cell phone video of the overflowing shopping carts at the Mansfield Walmart.
Evans believes it was natural human reaction that led people to fill up their carts during the glitch, but Walmart shoppers Stan and Judy Garcia feel very differently. "That's plain theft, that's stealing that's all I got to say about it," said Garcia.


bjb said...

Snafu or war games?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the grid shutdown in November will go even better: