We have all seen the aftermath of a computer glitch. In some cases it causes something strange to happen in a videogame, while in others it leads to the freezing or crashing of a computer or mobile device. While it is frustrating for the user, in most cases it does not lead to a country-wide spending spree that is described as being worse than Black Friday.
This is what happened over the weekend when a glitch in the national welfare systems credit card processing software allowed some Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card users to have either an unlimited limit or they were not allowed to purchase anything at all.
A recent Fox News article examined the issue that lead to shopping mayhem across at least 17 states.
A Police Chief in Springhill, Louisiana said the local Walmart had shelves picked clean and it looked "worse than any Black Friday." At these locations, cards were registering no spending limits so customers packed carts with goods. One woman, whose card only had 49 cents, told the news source that she had $700 worth of merchandise in her carriage.
Stores that faced these problems either continued to ring up goods out of fear of consumer backlash or closed the doors to prevent rioting. Other areas experienced the opposite effect as customers were denied the ability to use their cards at all.
All of this was triggered by a problem with the systems failure at Xerox, which processes these card payments. This highlights why organizations need to have a proper payment solution software system.