Chaos descended upon checkout lines in Target stores across the country when what the company said was a technical glitch triggered register outages for hours on Saturday.
The widespread register failure snarled weekend shopping for thousands of customers.
Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann said the outage was caused by an “internal technology issue” and assured HuffPost that it was not caused by a data or security breach.
The outage lasted for about two hours, according to the spokeswoman, but shoppers on social media compared the inconvenience to an end-of-the-world event.
People used #Targetgeddon and #TargetApocalypse to show what the outage looked like from their local stores. Most photos and videos revealed long-winding lines filled with packed shopping carts pushed by annoyed people.
The register shutdown appeared to have affected stores in New Jersey, Florida, California and elsewhere.
One Texas news producer witnessed Target and Starbucks employees handing out chips and drinks to try to assuage customers stuck in long queues.
Employees at a Target in Dallas tried to manually enter product barcodes in order to remedy the retail clog, The Dallas Morning News reported.
A Target loyalist in Baltimore told the Baltimore Sun that the outage spurred her to shop for more goods as an alternative to waiting in line for the registers to work.
“I was just roaming around the store buying things,” Erica Lefkoe, a 26-year-old customer, told the newspaper.
Some shoppers apparently couldn’t handle the waits and did the unthinkable: They abandoned their product-filled shopping carts and took off.
The outage also inspired colorful ― and fictional ― backstories that shed light on what customers may have endured that day.
The Target outage recalled memories of another major fail the company’s customers endured.
In 2013, hackers stole sensitive information, including credit card, debit card and PIN numbers, from an estimated 70 million Target customers. As a result, the retail giant had to pay $18.7 million in a settlement involving 47 states and Washington D.C.
Schumann told HuffPost that Target completed an initial review of Saturday’s outages and determined that it was “not a data breach or security-related issue, and no guest information was compromised at any time.”
The company said that Target registers were “fully back online” as of Saturday evening.
“Our technology team worked quickly to identify and fix the issue, and we apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this caused for our guests,” Schumann said.
At the end of the Target crash of 2019, at least some shoppers paid their respect to the people who needed it the most on Saturday: The heroes in red shirts and khaki pants.