Access Card Outage Causes Problems at Stores

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WILKES-BARRE -- A glitch in a computer system is blamed for shutting down access card purchases for several hours on Friday.

Folks across Pennsylvania and several other states couldn't buy groceries with the cards that most know as food stamps.

At one store in Wilkes-Barre many people left empty-handed.

The computer system that handles access cards for Pennsylvania and several other states was down for about six hours from most of the morning into the early afternoon.

Even though the outage lasted only a few hours, it had a big effect on the folks trying to shop at the Save-A-Lot in Wilkes-Barre.

Natasha Perry usually helps people check out their groceries at the Save-A-Lot on South Main Street in the city, but for the six hours she put groceries back on the shelves.

“People are coming here to shop, and they`re not seeing the sign, and then we have to put back their groceries and say sorry you can`t get your purchase because the machine is down,” explained Perry.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, a system-wide computer glitch made it impossible for access card users in Pennsylvania and several other states to use their cards. People including Robert Griffin of Wilkes-Barre depend on the access cards to buy food.

“We`re in a situation where we need to cook for the kids today and whatever,” said Griffin.

Griffin left the store empty handed. 

“I`m just gonna try and make something. You know what I mean? Do what you gotta do, you know? Oodles of noodles. You know what I mean,” said Griffin.

“I was really expecting to get some groceries today to prepare myself for the weekend. That`s not possible now,” said Tyrone Prater of Wilkes-Barre.

“I know my manager of the store told me that we turned away probably about 200 people already this morning and it`s only about 12:30,” said Neal Fasula, Save-A-Lot owner.

The problem with the access cards was fixed around 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare said this problem hit about 30 states across the country.