Massive lines and an inability to make purchases were reported across the country at Target stores after the retailer’s cash registers malfunctioned due to a “systems issue,” though hours later Target announced it had resolved the issue.
According to CNN, “employees at three different locations in Georgia” said that registers had been down for 45 minutes as of 3:00 p.m. ET. Clerks were instead forced to use cell phones to process transactions, according to BuzzFeed News, with customers reporting hour-long waits to check out and in some cases abandoning their carts to go elsewhere. Staff in some locations apparently handed out free drinks and snacks to affected customers. Photos show at least some stores were closed, while a customer in Richmond told SFGate that stopgap checkout methods took up to 15 to 20 minutes per customer.
“They handled the situation like pros,” Mississippi resident and D’Iberville location customer Jeff Clark told BuzzFeed. “They kept bringing out Starbucks shooters for everyone because what better way to calm an intense crowd than by giving them caffeine shots!”
“The crowd didn’t get unruly,” Clark told the site. “Just a little whinging here and there.”
“It was just a sea of very frustrated people,” Edmond, Oklahoma customer Brodie Butler told the Washington Post. “People were throwing their things on the ground or just pushing their carts down the aisle and walking away.”
In 2013, Target’s national credit card database was breached, compromising the security of roughly 40 million accounts’ debit and credit card data, as well as separate data including names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and email addresses on tens of millions of others. In 2017, Target agreed to pay out $18.5 million in a settlement (estimating the total damage at $202 million).
This does not appear to be a similar situation. Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann said that after an “initial but thorough review,” it had determined it the outages were not a “data breach or security-related issue” and no data was compromised, BuzzFeed wrote. Staff resolved the problem after two hours.