MANSFIELD, LA (KSLA) - When a wild shopping spree fueled by what appeared to be "limitless" Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards ensued at two Louisiana Walmarts, not everyone who receive food stamp benefits joined in.
In cell phone video that is circulating the Internet, several hundred people can be seen filling their shopping carts at Springhill and Mansfield Walmarts, when the stores apparently continued accepting EBT cards even though they weren't showing limits.
However, what can't be seen in those videos are the people who get food stamp assistance and chose not to abuse the system. One Ark-La-Tex man, who asked not to be identified, was one of them, though he admits the thought did cross his mind. "The first thing I thought of was, rib eye steak tonight instead of ramen noodles, but if we would have done that, I would have felt too guilty," he said.
Another EBT card user emailed KSLA News 12 and described her situation. She explained that the cashier at the Mansfield Walmart told her about the glitch Saturday night, while she was checking out, "I could have easily walked back and went slap crazy and got all sorts of stuff, but I am conscious of the fact that this isn't my money," she wrote and adds she now fears all EBT card users are being judged, and the man who wishes to remain anonymous agrees.
"Honestly, I do believe in our system, I do think it's a privilege to get the EBT money, to abuse it would mean that one apple spoils the bunch and if that system goes down, that's money I don't get a month to help pay for groceries, I don't want to see that happen because that would just put me in a bigger bind than I'm already in." He explained that he receives $150.00 a month and is careful to make that money stretch to feed his family four. He believes there are more people like him using the system correctly than the types of people who took advantage of the glitch Saturday night. "It just seems like the ones we pay attention to are the ones who abuse the system," he said.
But who will pay for the food the EBT card users apparently got away with and the food left to spoil in the carts? The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, the agency who oversees these benefits explained to KSLA News 12, not a dime of taxpayer money was used.
Any overages would be picked up by the retailer, in this case that would be Wal-mart, "If someone only had $50.00 left on their SNAP/EBT card, but came into a store and purchased $150.00 worth of merchandise, then that retailer will only be reimbursed for that $50.00 on their card," said Trey Williams with DCFS. You can read more of what Williams said here.
KSLA News 12 reached out to Walmart for a statement, but didn't get a response.