Credit Where Credit is Due

Walmart catches a lot of heat,  much of it probably justified, for its treatment of employees, low wages, sourcing practices, etc. but it rarely seems to get credit when it does something right. That's why I found this story from Louisiana so interesting.

Two Walmart stores in Louisiana will be stuck with most of the bill after food stamp recipients went on a huge shopping spree after a power outage temporarily lifted their spending limits, resulting in cleared store shelves and mass chaos…

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 cardholder during an emergency would be responsible for any additional amount spent during the power outage…

The shopping frenzy was triggered after the Electronics Benefits Transfer system went down because a back-up generator failed at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday…

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.

The focus of the story is on the food stamp recipients taking advantage of a computer glitch to go on a shopping spree, but what caught my attention was the fact that the Walmart stores continued to allow the customers to use their EBT cards even though they knew there was an issue. They could just as easily have said they wouldn't process the cards until the system came back online, but the store managers chose to continue processing. Maybe they thought they'd eventually get their money, or maybe they were compelled to by law – I have no idea – but the fact of the matter is they did a generous thing by not denying the EBT payments.

And those folks who took advantage of the situation? That's a perfect example of why the backlash against government aid programs is gaining traction.

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