October 16th, 2013

Attention, Walmart shoppers

You’ve probably already heard about the EBT card breakdown during a power outage in which shoppers at a couple of Louisiana Walmarts purposely took advantage of the situation by “buying” a huge number of groceries for amounts that greatly exceeded their EBT limits in normal times.

You might say the Walmart managers were stupid not to ban the cards or limit the amount that could be charged on them for the duration of the problem, and perhaps you’d be right. But perhaps they thought that if they did that they would face a riot, or at least very bad PR, and so they decided to let people continue to use their cards freely (pun intended) and hope for the best.

As for the lawbreakers, we don’t know what percentage of the EBT-carrying population they represent. But it seems that quite a few cheaters happened to be in Walmart that day. They stole from Walmart (if Walmart is left holding the bag) or from the taxpayers, or perhaps from both. Why did they feel they could and should do it?

I don’t profess to know all the reasons. Some of it is mob mentality, some greed. But some of it is that the welfare system itself, and especially its more recent political manifestations (let’s soak the rich; they owe it to the rest of us to help us) engenders the idea that it’s your right to get free stuff if you’re poor or even just somewhat poor. So, why not get more free stuff when you can?

For some people, it’s a very slippery slope from one idea to the other. The payor is unseen and unknown in each case. The people who might be hurt by it are unseen and unknown as well. The mechanism is the same for each transaction: a card. And the venue is the same: Walmart.

23 Responses to “Attention, Walmart shoppers”

  1. Roman Says:

    When there is no price equated with something, it looses its value. It’s “free” food. Also there is too much of an entitlement attitude in this country. If I can get away with it, what I did is not really wrong?

    Something like that happened with health care, everyone had a Blue Cross card, and health care was “free”. The costs involved with medicine went through the roof. It is the best in the world, but very costly. When there is no cost to the consumer involved, the idea of being frugal has no use.

  2. Lurch Says:

    It’s worse than you describe, Neo. I have seen this even in my own family, which is solidly middle to upper middle class. They see all of society’s “ticks” feeding off the taxpayer and feel they are being fools for working hard and paying ever higher taxes and fees. The government is now building fences for them to keep the cows out of the streams on the farm. They are looking into a new program that pays them to grow grass rather than corn when they actually have no intention of growing corn. seems like everyone is now picking over the bones of our once great Republic.

  3. Mac Says:

    It strikes me that this is a more blatant and serious example of a much more widespread “why not get more free stuff when you can?” mentality that affects a lot of very non-poor people. It seems morally similar to taking a day off and calling it sick leave when there’s nothing wrong with you. Or like the woman I heard in a hospital, many years ago, saying that although the doctors had told her she could go home she was going to stay for several more days because her insurance was paying for it. Surely that mentality is a factor in what’s happened to health care over the years. I doubt anybody much has that particular kind of option anymore, but at how many points in the health care chain is someone taking a bigger cut of something because it’s “free”–i.e. someone else is paying for it, preferably some big anonymous entity like an insurance company or the government.

  4. Mac Says:

    Hmm, two other people saying similar things while I was composing mine. Appears there’s some agreement about this.

  5. Beverly Says:

    This is part of how the Left rots the soul. They tempt people to abandon any principles of honor and fair dealing, and people who dishonor themselves find it much harder to resist the thugs on principle.

    Demoralization in both senses of the word.

  6. James Says:

    This will in all probability end in great battles, and I do not mean metaphorical.

  7. John T Says:

    This “something-for-nothing” and “it’s-not-my-problem-if-the-computer-screwed-up” mentality that says you’re a fool if you don’t take what you can grab is prevalent beyond Walmart:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57602742-93/error-on-united-airlines-web-site-results-in-free-fares/

    How many of those people booking flights for $0 had to have realized there was a problem but went ahead anyway? And even when United decided to honor the flights booked at the erroneously low fares, did anyone step up and say “no thanks I won’t hold you to the free fare, it doesn’t seem right”? If someone mistakenly hands you change for a $20 when you paid with a $10, do you keep it?

    I abhor the entitlement society, but the rot goes beyond that.

  8. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    When there were problems with EBTs a day or so ago, there were reports about all those threats on social media about riots if people didn’t get their government cheese.

    The Left needs these parasites voting for them and their policies to stay in power, and creates evermore of these freeloaders–now approaching 50 million strong–further alienating them from society and its values by playing the “us vs. them” game, by telling them that all this “free stuff” is rightfully theirs, because it was somehow “stolen” from them by “the man,” and many of them believe this.

    Eventually, though—and it looks like that day is fast approaching—“the mob” they have created becomes a real threat, an ungovernable force, able to limit the options/actions of those in power and able, as well, to threaten leaders’ power and position, and the very foundations/survival of the state–see the history of Imperial Rome.

  9. Richard Aubrey Says:

    In part, it’s the distance, which promotes a disconnect, between the source of the money and the recipient.
    It’s obama’s stash.
    And if you do mention taxpayers, they’re pre-demonized, so there’s no point in that line of discussion.

  10. Doom Says:

    Only a government issued “card” would default to “no limit”. You need look no further for the problem.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Glitch or hack? Intentional or unintentional?

    First search for the truth behind the illusion, then worry about the consequences. Because it might not be what they claim it is.

  12. Lizzy Says:

    The entitlement and learned-helplessness is upsetting. While we’ve seen the ugly side of entitlement before, there’s also the behavior of the Walmart checkers.

    Similar to how “zero tolerance” policies are used to ensure that no person of authority actually has to make a tough decision, so do the creeping growth of federal policies intruding into our lives. Apparently no one at Walmart wanted to halt EBT charges to investigate despite knowing that something wasn’t right. Just look at things like Core Curriculum, where course design that used to be made by teachers based on their school district’s standard are now made by some group cozy with some bureaucrats in DC. So who, then, is ultimately responsible when you child is not adequately educated before graduating? The teachers and school were just following someone else’s rules. Woohoo, no one is responsible anymore!

    Sorry to rant – I was just having a conversation with my son about how just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should (that includes accepting the wrong change from a cashier). Sorry no one involved in the Walmart raid learned that one.

  13. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    P.S.—The 50 million on food stamps include many new enrollees what have recently been forced to enroll after losing their jobs due to the almost flat lined economy, people who I do not believe are in the “freeloader” category. Luckily, I’ve never been in the position where I had to apply for food stamps, but very early in my working career I did have the experience of losing a job and having to sign up for unemployment to make ends meet, but I got out there, kept looking, and found another job.

    When I am referring to “freeloaders,” I have in mind the individuals and families–often multi-generational families—for whom receiving food stamps, welfare, and the whole, ever increasing panoply of government “assistance” is a way of life, people who have no intention of getting an education, getting a job, and getting off the rolls, people for whom the “Protestant work ethic” has lost any real meaning. And if the reported 47% of our population–up from around 37% a few years ago–who now don’t pay any Federal or State taxes is an accurate percentage, that group seems to be growing, deliberately helped to grow by government policy.

  14. Lizzy Says:

    Wollo Dalbo – You mean someone like Vivencia Bellegarde? She’s a Haitian immigrant who, despite multiple DUI’s & having has her driver’s license suspended 10 (!) times, crashed into a Boston Globe truck in August while driving under the influence. An excerpt from the police report:

    “I questioned her as to why she had other peoples (sic) EBT cards and she 
began screaming that I was a ‘dumb (expletive)’ for paying for food when she gets it for free,” trooper William Koko­cinski wrote of 
Bellegarde, 25, of Everett, noting she had her own electronic benefits transfer card and also the cards of two other people.

    “She repeatedly called me a racist and told me she was from Haiti and she was gonna ‘put voodoo on my white (expletive).”

    Wonder what percentage of the EBT money goes to people like this?

  15. ConceptJunkie Says:

    “No society is more than 3 meals away from revolution.” is the quote. Nowadays, it will be something much less.

    When the government freebies start to fail, all hell will break loose, and we will have complete anarchy in a country that at the time probably won’t be anywhere nearly as bad off as during the Great Depression.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    I also heard that many families of military enlisted live on foot stamps, partially or entirely.

  17. Mac Says:

    “I abhor the entitlement society, but the rot goes beyond that.”

    Indeed it does. I wonder how many of the financial predators who brought about our recent financial disaster are ethically on about the same level as that WalMart crowd.

  18. rickl Says:

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    ~ John Adams

    By contrast, a society made up of ignorant, feral beasts who insist on instant gratification of all their urges is a society that needs to be ruled and controlled, or else it will descend into violence and chaos.

    (And I’m not talking about race here. There are plenty of whites who fall under that description.)

    Congratulations, Gramscians. You have nearly achieved your objective.

    These are the shock troops of the Revolution. The Left regards them as cannon fodder, of course. They couldn’t care less how many worthless parasites die in the coming conflagration.

    The purpose of this is to frighten normal people into demanding that the government “do something” to protect them, such as declaring martial law. Glenn Beck predicted it several years ago.

    I am not at all convinced that this incident was a glitch or an accident. It may well have been a “shot across the bow” designed to cow congressional Republicans into submission.

    Obama could have told them, “You better knuckle under unless you want to see this happen on a nationwide scale. I could snap my fingers and cut off EBT payments, blame it on the shutdown, and the media would say it was all the fault of the intransigent Republicans.”

  19. Jim Nicholas Says:

    Persons who have received too large Social Securty payments, even by mistake, have had the excess deducted from future SS reimbursements. Does anyone know if those fraudulent EBT uses can and will be handled in the same way?

  20. Don Carlos Says:

    The “shoppers” at the Louisiana Wal-Marts were like the “youths” torching cars in the banlieus outside Paris. The “youths” were Muslim; the videos I’ve seen posted online showed the “shoppers” to be Black.

    Accuracy suffers when euphemisms are used. If the shoppers were in fact nearly all Black, it would have been accurate (we know this from multiple polls) for the media to report the “shoppers’ were all “Obama voters”.

    Such accuracy in reportage would have made most of the comments here superfluous. But so it goes.

  21. rickl Says:

    I swear that I had not yet read this post at Francis W. Porretto’s Liberty’s Torch when I made my earlier comment.

  22. JuliB Says:

    Ymarsakar Says:
    “I also heard that many families of military enlisted live on food stamps, partially or entirely.”

    I don’t think this is quite the case anymore, at least at a general level. For over 3 years I have been clipping and sending coupons through http://www.ocpnet.org to assist military families overseas. The person who created this said that the pay rate has been increased so that these families are not eligible for food stamps but has continued the efforts to be a supplement.

    As of last month, I’ve donated over 65K worth of coupons (my parents and my sister give me their coupons). I figure that if only 10% of my coupons are ever used, I’ve put a lot of money into the pockets of military families.

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    JuliB,

    Thanks for keeping up the effort. Even if future society frowns upon individual charity and initiative, there are those of us who see it for what is in the human scale.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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