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Target Cash Registers Back Online After Chaotic Nationwide Tech Failure

Customers abandoned their carts after the cash registers failed at a Target location in Washington, D.C.
Alina Selyukh
Customers abandoned their carts after the cash registers failed at a Target location in Washington, D.C.

Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET

Target's cash registers are functioning again after stores nationwide were hobbled by a computer crash.

"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 announced. "We appreciate all of our store team members who worked quickly to assist guests and thank everyone involved for their patience."

Earlier Saturday, red carts full of merchandise piled up at Target stores nationwide as customers abandoned their shopping trips when a computer failure hit the cash registers.

NPR's Alina Selyukh reported that staff at Target's store in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., sent all shoppers out and said the problem had affected all locations and all stores.

"Sorry for all the inconveniences, but all of the registers are down," a worker announced via a loudspeaker.

Customers in other states wrote of similar experiences. Target has about 1,850 stores in the U.S.

In Blaine, Minn., one Twitter user posted a video of customers waiting in line, writing, "Registers are down...#targetfail."

A shopper in Tennessee posted, "#targetdown - Collierville TN -Help!"

Shopper Meaghan Mooney wrote on Twitter that she filled her cart but couldn't pay for anything because of the systems failure. " I just filled my l cart w/ hundreds of $ of merch I need TODAY, but REGISTERS ARE DOWN GLOBALLY???" she wrote.

And anchor Hunter Sowards of KTRE in Texas found staff handing customers chips.

In some stores, Target employees got around the problem by keying in bar codes on their personal mobile phones. The checkout process was lengthy and trying, and a customer in Las Vegas offered her thanks to a worker who went through the trouble for her.

"It took me almost an hour to check out just now. Honestly the only reason you still got my money was because of employee Kevarian at the Blue Diamond Las Vegas location. He manually entered in every one of my items and was patient," wrote the Twitter user.

There could be an up side to the shuttered Targets, according to a Minnesota news site. "This is the one time you can go to Target and not come home with 20 things you didn't plan on buying," Bring Me The Newswrote.

Other customers took the shortage as a crisis, sort of. One woman in Illinois noted, "Tensions are high and the ice cream is melting. They have provided us popcorn and green tea, but rations are fast diminishing. How I wish we had gone to Walmart. Pray for us."

Target is a financial sponsor of NPR.

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Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.