- The Electronic Benefits Transfer system connected to cards for the U.S. food stamp program went down on Saturday, resulting in problems across 17 states, including Walmart stores in Mansfield, La., and Springhill, La., where customers made off with cart-loads of grocery items.
- Limits were not showing up for food stamp users' cards, and while other grocery stores quit accepting the cards during the outage, Walmart allowed customers to continue checking out with them, resulting in individual purchases at least as high as $700.
- The government shutdown has limited staffing at the Department of Agriculture, where the system is administered with Xerox as a vendor.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services was expected to meet Monday to figure out how to handle the issue, but so far it doesn't look like any charges are being filed. The government shutdown has already affected the FDA and craft beer, but this may be the first report of near-riot conditions resulting from these problems, assuming the problems can be traced back to the Department of Agriculture.
Also, the ABC News report cites a witness who saw people dragging out "eight to ten grocery carts" apiece. That also seems unprecedented. How does one carry that many carts?