202-483-8600. smithcenter.org . DIWALI MELA: A celebration with food, vendors, music and dancing. Noon-6 p.m. $21.95; $12.95 children ages 4-10. Indique Heights, 2 Wisconsin Circle , Chevy Chase. 301-656-4822. www.indiqueheights.com . EQUINE WINE FESTIVAL: Featuring the Winery at Olney, with food for sale, wagon rides and other activities. A portion of the proceeds goes the Potomac Valley Dressage Association Ride for Life in support of Johns Hopkins breast cancer activities. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $25 ($20 in advance); $15 designated drivers and ages 18-20; younger than 18 free. Timberleigh Springs, 3268 Route 94, Woodbine. 202-744-4676. equinewinefestival.com .
The shopping frenzy was triggered when the Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down because a back-up generator failed at 11 a.m. EST Saturday during a regularly-scheduled test, according to Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system and based in Norwalk, Conn. The bill could be a sizeable one for Walmart. Lynd said customers were “not unruly.” There were no fights or arrests made, but the scene was still chaotic, he said. “It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town,” Lynd said of Springhill, which is near the border with Arkansas. “There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Walmart was totally decimated.” Lynd said that around 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, a Walmart employee made an announcement on the intercom saying that the computer system had been restored and card limits had returned. At that time, customers left shopping carts full of food in store aisles, he said. “At that point in time, they knew the jig was up and they couldn’t purchase what they wanted to,” Lynd said. In the Walmart store in Mansfield, about 80 miles south of Springhill, staff temporarily closed the store to new customers to prevent a fire hazard with the existing number of shoppers. Mansfield’s Chief of Police Gary Hobbs said no arrests were made and there were no incidents besides customers “pushing and shoving.” Hobbs said there were reports that customers were checking out with six to eight shopping carts, then returning later in the day to purchase more. Unlike Walmart, other grocery stores in town told customers they would not accept EBT cards until the card limits were evident again, Hobbs said. The EBT system was affected in 17 states, where individuals and households access programs like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other programs.
Walmart to Get Stuck With Most of Food Stamp Shopping Spree
According to a University of California Berkeley Labor Center and University of Illinois study out Tuesday, 52% of families of fast food workers receive assistance from a public program like Medicaid, food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. That’s compared to 25% of families in the workforce as a whole. The report estimated that this public aid carries a $7 billion price tag for taxpayers each year. The numbers are based on publicly available data on public assistance programs from 2007-2011. “Because pay is low and weekly work hours are limited, the families of more than half of the workers in the fast-food industry are unable to make ends meet,” the report said. Related: The real budgets of McDonald’s workers The data supports the claims that hundreds of fast food workers have been making across the country over the last year. Protests from New York City to Los Angeles, Memphis to Detroit have cropped up since last November , with workers calling for a minimum of $15 an hour and the right to organize without retaliation. The common narrative among fast food workers is that their pay is too low , they don’t get scheduled for enough hours and they get no benefits. The new report fuels their fire, finding that only 13% of fast food workers get health benefits from their employers, compared to 59% of the workforce on the whole. It also said that the median worker only works 30 hours per week, compared to 40 for the rest of the workforce. How I live on fast-food wages A separate report out Tuesday slammed fast food giants for pushing their workers onto the public safety net. The National Employment Law Project said that the 10 largest fast food companies in the U.S. were responsible for more than half the total cost to taxpayers — about $3.8 billion a year alone. The report calls out McDonald’s ( MCD , Fortune 500 ), Yum!
Musicians Play up Nashville Food Scene
You might want to watch the city’s bustling food scene. Nashville has long lured musicians looking for a break, but lately the city has seen a rush of top notch chefs and restaurateurs, too. And it’s largely thanks to those same musicians. “Not only did the music (industry) bring money, stable money, into this town, it also brought people, people from all over the country and the world, to live in Nashville,” says Roderick Bailey, who recently was named the Southeast’s best new chef by Food & Wine magazine. Those people brought worldly palates. And an expectation that those palates could be catered to. The Kings of Leon, for example. Band bassist Matthew Followill says the band’s constant touring exposed its members to all manner of great food. And they wanted it when they came home to Nashville. “A lot of the people in the food industry are also big music fans,” Followill said at the band’s Nashville studio. “We kind of felt like Nashville didn’t have a really good food scene going on. And it has changed for sure, in the past three, four, five years and there have been a lot of great restaurants that have come in. But for a while it was kind of lacking in that area compared to some of the other cities on the same scale.” That’s changing.