People Getting Cash Back by Using Food Stamp/EBT Cards With Minimum Purchase at Gainesville Publix Store- Fiction!

People Getting Cash Back by Using Food Stamp/EBT Cards With Minimum Purchase at Gainesville Publix Store- Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded email of an alleged eyewitness account of a transaction by a customer using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card at a Publix Store on Main Street in Gainesville, Florida.  The email said that the eyewitness was standing in line at the check out counter and saw a customer buy a single grape for 2 cents with an EBT card.  The customer then asked for $24 in change back from the customer service representative and got it.

The Truth:

Transactions like this happen every day at this Gainesville Publix store, according to a company spokesperson, but the cards being used are not EBT or any sort of government issued assistance for food.

The spokesperson told us that these cards are pre-loaded ATM cards handed out by a nearby plasma center who compensates donors for their time.   He also told us that the donors are easy to spot as they shop for low cost sodas or chips to cash out their ATM cards.   Their arms are bandaged near the elbow.

updated 10/16/12

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:


At approximately 2:30 pm, September 6, 2012, I entered the Publix store on Main St. in Gainesville , FL to pick up a few items. I gathered my items and went to the 14 and under register to check-out. The person in front of me (a white female, approximate age 35-43, fake nails, big braided hair do, clean clothes, carrying a purse and a plastic drinking cup) put her purchase on the check out surface ONE GRAPE.

Yes, that is correct ONE GRAPE. The cashier asked if that was all, she replied yes. The cashier then weighted the GRAPE and told the women the cost was $.02 (TWO CENTS), the women then pulled out her Food Stamp EBT card and swiped it through the credit card machine, requesting $24.00 in cash back. The cashier asked if she wanted the GRAPE, the woman replied no and the GRAPE was put in the garbage can. The register recorded the sale as .02, cash back $24.00. The cashier then asked if two fives would be okay because was out of tens, the woman agreed and took the $24.00 folded it up and put it in her pocket and left the store.

As the next person in line I asked the cashier as a tax payer what in the hell just happened here she said she was on the clock and could not comment. I then asked if I had actually seen this person purchase and discard a GRAPE, then get cash back on her Food Stamp EBT card. The cashier responded that it happens all day every day in their store. She also said that if the person buying the GRAPE has it ring up over .02 they get mad and make her reweigh it.

My next comment was to ask the cashier if she planned to vote in November and she said she could hardly wait for 11/6/12 to get here as one tax payer to another. I paid for my groceries, in cash, and left the store madder than 10 wet hens.

Unbelievable – this is true!!!

Recipients with cash benefits can use their EBT Card like cash for purchases and cash-back with purchases at grocery stores and at most ATMs (automated teller machines).