A glitch stalled checkout lines at Target stores in Colorado Springs and across the world Saturday, exasperating shoppers and potentially eating into sales at a prime time for retailers, the day before Father’s Day.
The roughly two-hour outage periodically prevented Target’s cashiers from scanning merchandise or processing transactions as long lines formed in some stores. Self-checkout registers, usually the speediest of options, also weren’t working at times.
The problem started around noon, said a Target employee in south Colorado Springs. The store manager received a phone call saying locations around the city were experiencing the same issue.
During the outage, Target staff warned shoppers of the issue at the front doors.
Some stores reportedly handed out snacks to disgruntled customers during the long waits in line at the registers. Target also temporarily closed some of its stores, including one in San Francisco, rather than risk aggravating shoppers.
By 4:00 p.m., a guest services employee at the Target in Cheyenne Mountain Shopping Center reported "spotty" resolution and that a few customers were able to check out at the registers. By 6 p.m. registers were reported to be back up and running.
During the outage, Target customers were able to leave items from their carts with the store until the system was back up, said a Colorado Springs Target store employee.
All of the registers are down at Target. They’re passing out rations to appease the crowd pic.twitter.com/FmlbHG7iii— Wesley Boutilier (@WesleyBout) June 15, 2019
Shoppers posted to social media about long waits at the checkout line and then leaving stores empty-handed Saturday afternoon.
The meltdown hit Target at the worst time for a mass-market merchant, given Saturdays are typically one of the busiest shopping days of the week.
Target has been vexed by technology before, most notably in 2013 when malware installed in its checkout system resulted in a data heist that exposed personal information in more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts. That debacle triggered lawsuits and eventually led to the departure of its CEO, Gregg Steinhafel.
The Minneapolis company said customers caught in up the checkout slowdown have no reason to worry.
“After an initial but thorough review, we can confirm that this was not a data breach or security-related issue, and no guest information was compromised at any time,” Target said.