Wal-Mart Computer Glitch Spoils Montgomery Family's Gift Card Buys

What looked like the easiest way to give someone just the right sized Christmas gift in the perfect color and shape turned into a real problem for a Montgomery family.

While shopping at a local Wal-mart yesterday, they found themselves in the same boat as other customers nationwide.

That is, holding a Wal-mart gift card the store couldn't accept.

Sandra Vick has three kids, four, nine and eleven and like most their age, Christmas is a big deal.

It grew even bigger when they got 50 dollars each in Wal-Mart gift cards from their grandfather.

"Jessica said...is he trying to cause me to faint?" said Mrs. Vick.

So Wednesday, one day after Santa delivered the goods, the family cruised the aisles at the local store

"We were afraid of how long it was going to take us to shop at Wal-Mart to get 50 dollars worth for each child," Mrs. Vick said.

Each of the Vick kids spent nearly two hours picking out exactly what they wanted.

"We made a few parental choices," Vick said.

All was well on the not so silent shopping day until they hit the already crowded cashout line.

That's when one of the three cards came back with a big zero.

"I never thought there would be a problem," said Mrs. Vick.  "So when it was having a problem and the line was building up, you're already tense because you're holding everybody up."

Vick and her husband both talked with managers and they even called the toll free line on the back of the card, to no avail.

They say 45 minutes after they first stood in line, they realized their eleven year old daughter would have to wait one more day to get her gift.

"A video journal," said the young girl.

Wal-Mart has had a couple of other problems with its gift cards throughout the nation.

In at least two unrelated incidents, shoppers in the West bought cards and when their loved ones tried to use them discovered the balances were depleted.

The company acknowldges several people were victimized in a scam but won't say how, saying law enforcement is working on that problem.

Thursday, Wal-mart issued a statement on its website saying it first learned late yesterday afternoon of the data processing glitch that affected the Vicks and many other people.

The company says a third party processor was at fault, and that it affected "a small percentage of our gift card transactions, and the issue was resolved yesterday afternoon."

The company also apologized for the problem.