Target down (then back up) as cash registers fail and leave long lines

Surprise: Twitter notices. Target says all's well now though.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Edward Moyer
2 min read
Target shopping carts

Cart after cart after cart...

Getty Images

Target's payment systems appeared to be missing the mark the day before Father's Day, as terminals went AWOL for a couple of hours in a number of the company's US retail outlets. The outage caused long lines but prompted an encouraging show of sympathy for Target employees from people on Twitter. And there were some jokes too, of course.

"We're aware that guests are currently unable to make purchases at Target stores," the company said in its own tweet Saturday morning. "Our teams are troubleshooting now and we apologize for the inconvenience. We will provide an update as soon as possible."

Then on Saturday afternoon, a Target spokeswoman said registers were "fully back online" and that the outage was caused by an "internal technology issue."

"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," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "We appreciate all of our store team members who worked quickly to assist guests and thank everyone involved for their patience."

It's not clear how many outlets were affected, though various reports said stores across the US were caught up in the chaos.

The hashtag #targetdown was trending on Twitter, as users of the social network expressed sympathy for Target's in-store workers.

"Anyone who has ever worked in retail feels for Target employees today," read one tweet. "It's not the local employees' fault, so please, be patient and kind," said another. "Just left target after patiently waiting for an hour or so," another tweet said. "Every single person working there is amazing & I honestly feel for them."

Not surprisingly, Twitter users had some fun as well, as the usual parade of cheeky remarks and animated GIFs took aim at Target's unfortunate situation:

Originally published June 15, 2:43 p.m. PT.
Update, 2:58 p.m.: Adds Target statement that systems are back up and tweaks story to reflect the new development.