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EBT glitch sparks further shutdown fears, Walmart chaos

On Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, Electronic Benefits Transfer (or EBT, formerly known as CalFresh or, more generally, food stamps) cards stopped working. With the government shutdown and its impact very much in the news, it wasn't a huge leap to think the two might be connected. (They were not.)


  1. According to CBS and the Associated Press:

    "At about 9 a.m. (EST) Saturday, reports from across the country began pouring in that customers’ EBT cards were not working in stores."
  2. For others in the country, the glitch actually gave them unlimited funds, prompting runs on many stores.
  3. Even though the EBT problem turned out to be a glitch, it didn't stop people from point fingers directly at the government and tying it to the government shutdown.
  4. The EBT malfunction put Walmart in the spotlight, with word of abandoned carts full of food littering store checkout areas where cards were being rejected; in other parts of the country, reports of Walmarts being completely cleaned out.
  5. And the system in general...
  6. Others seemed entirely unfazed — or at least unsympathetic.