Walmart is standing by its decision Saturday night to allow shoppers in Louisiana to continue making purchases during the Electronic Benefit Transfer card system outage, which prevented card limits and balances from showing up.
“We know we made the right choice,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told ABCNews.com Tuesday.
The gluttonous shopping spree occurred at two stores, one in Mansfield and the other in Springhill, as word traveled that Walmart was still allowing EBT cardholders to make purchases despite the outage.
“Some customers were buying eight to 10 grocery carts full of food,” Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd told ABC News, and Mansfield Police Chief Gary Hobbs said “some shoppers left with up to eight carts of food and then went back for more.”
But the “jig was up,” Lynd said, when around 9 p.m., the stores announced the system was restored and EBT cards were reflecting balances again.
Shelves were emptied, grocery carts full of perishables were simply abandoned in the aisles, and one woman rang up a bill of $700 on a card that only had a 49-cent balance, KSLA News 12 reported Monday.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has criticized the discount store chain, saying it failed to follow emergency procedures that would have limited purchases to $50 per EBT cardholder.
“Lundberg declined to comment about how much the company may have lost or why it did not follow the emergency $50 limit,” ABC reported.
But Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling told ABCNews.com, “Our focus was to continue serving customers.”
Lynd described the frenetic shopping spree as “worse than Black Friday,” according to ABC News, adding, “The grocery part of Walmart was totally decimated.”
Watch an ABC report with raw footage from the chaotic shopping spree here: