Monday, October 14, 2013

Everything Wrong With The System In One Story...

EBT benefit card glitch sparks Walmart shopping sprees in Louisiana
The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system allows recipients of government food stamps to purchase goods using a digital card with a set spending limit, but for a few hours over the weekend, that limit disappeared for many users visiting Walmart stores in Louisiana.

Walmart and local police in Springhill and Mansfield confirmed to CBS affiliate KSLA that officers 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.
These are cards designed to help folks that need assistance, through disability or unfortunate circumstances. Yet there's a sizable percentage that hears "no limit" and just *has* to push to the limits. Here's something that's given to them as a handout, and yet they can't help but take all they can get in a moment's error.

It'd be interesting to see what happens to the people that filled their carts. I'd wager that precisely nothing will happen, though, which is the single biggest problem I can see. Sure, folks took advantage of the system - but they're going to take advantage; that's human nature. When nothing happens for the lawbreakers, what do they expect will happen?

That which you put up with you validate, that which you validate you deserve - that's a line from a friend of mine locally, and there's a lot of truth in it...

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

9 comments:

doubletrouble said...

"...that's human nature."
I disagree, brother. It may human nature for some, but anyone who has an ounce of integrity would not act in that manner.
'Course, they probably wouldn't have an EBT card then either...
Hmmmm.

Dave H said...

It'll be interesting to see who ends up paying for the loss. My guess is Walmart will have to eat it.

notDilbert said...

What should happen is that the next time they go to use the card it simply shows the negative balance and that gets reduced each time the card is refilled, and when they go into the office to complain, they get a lecture on basic economics and a lesson in accounting.

But, of course, what will happen is they will get the card refilled as usual because it's "an emergency situation a little fat kids will starve". Walmart will get paid because no one will be able to separate the fraud from the legit purchases, someone will get an award for handling the situation ....... and the deficit will get larger.

Sigivald said...

Yet there's a sizable percentage that hears "no limit" and just *has* to push to the limits. Here's something that's given to them as a handout, and yet they can't help but take all they can get in a moment's error.

Wouldn't be surprised if their benefits got cut (not to zero, but cut) until it balanced out.

I know people who get various EBT benefits, and the people running them don't seem to take a lot of crap... Especially in a case like this, where the usual complaints about Hurting The Needy are unlikely to gain much traction, since everyone involved knew damn well they had no right it.

(And to some extent, there'll be a correlation between "sort of person more likely to end up on the dole" and "sort of person who, despite knowing that The Man will immediately find out, buys every possible thing anyway".

Poor impulse control and present-time orientation keep a person poor.

Plus, if any of the things bought have resale value, well, that's more cash for spending on what you want, isn't it?)

Peripatetic Engineer said...

These are the same folks that loot stores during a disaster chanting "It's my time now!" If there is any justice, their cards will have to cover their overage before they can use them again, but that won't happen. An act of simple charity by Wal Mart gets abused. Want to bet that the store will allow this to happen a second time?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Saturday saw EBT card holders in Illinois and some other surrounding states fail to accept ANY transaction.

There are ample pictures of abandoned shopping carts with product in them due to the shutdown.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9284950&rss=rss-wls-article-9284950

Joseph in IL

Daniel in Brookline said...

"That which you put up with you validate, that which you validate you deserve".

Sounds like the mantra of someone with kids...

Paul, Dammit! said...

I propose a simple, fair solution; the same one that anyone on disability or Social Security knows intimately- the letter goes like this: "Dear Peasant, as a result of an accounting error, you have recently received benefits in excess of your calculated normal monthly distribution of $XXXX.xx . To rectify this error, we are reducing your next x benefits payments by x dollars to bring your account into balance. We apologize for any errors. You can expect the reduced benefit to start with next month's benefit payment.

Geodkyt said...

Why not, Paul -- that's what the Army did to me after an accounting error on their part.