It apparently had nothing at all to do with the shutdown, but thousands of people across seventeen states were left temporarily unable to pay for food with SNAP benefit cards on Saturday after a “routine test of backup systems” resulted in a crash that took the program’s internal system offline. Xerox, the vendor responsible for operations and maintenance, was able to restore operations within a few hours, but not before shoppers abandoned shopping carts full of food at grocery stores across the country.
The same glitch worked in the favor of customers at two Louisiana Walmart locations, who went on an all-out shopping spree when their EBT cards registered no dollar-amount limits. A Black Friday-esque free-for-all ensued: Shelves were cleared and police were called. Local station KSLA reports one shopper made it to the register with hundreds of dollars’ worth of food just as the systems came back on, showing she had only 45 cents, which is just about the saddest news of the day. [AP, KSLA]