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Black Friday Panic at Macy's: People Report Credit Card System Outage (fastcompany.com) 119

An anonymous reader shares a report: Macy's might have celebrated an increase in share price on Black Friday, but it seems like the retailer will end the day with a lot of lost sales. Many of its customers recently took to Twitter to complain that its credit card machines are down, and that they can only pay with cash.
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Black Friday Panic at Macy's: People Report Credit Card System Outage

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  • O. M. G! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday November 24, 2017 @03:42PM (#55616497)

    I wonder how many murder / suicides this will result in?

    But seriously, do they not load test in the run-up to these extravaganzas?

    • Businesses should always be prepared for a system failure or power outage. I was in a local shop recently when the power failed. It took them less than a minute to get a box of paper based "kerchunkers" from the manager's office and put one at each register. Sales lost: $0.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Businesses should always be prepared for a system failure or power outage. I was in a local shop recently when the power failed. It took them less than a minute to get a box of paper based "kerchunkers" from the manager's office and put one at each register. Sales lost: $0.

        That works for the mom and pop shops, but for bigger chains, the registers do a lot of the cash tracking because otherwise you'd have to train teenagers how to handle cash and cash tracking. It's also a lot easier when most of them can do

        • ...you'd have to train teenagers how to handle cash and cash tracking.

          Wasn't school supposed to prepare teenagers for society and teach them to handle and track cash?

        • You are forgetting inventory and the customer tracking...the most important parts other than getting paid.

      • Raised/embossed numbers are no longer a requirement (and flat cards are much easier on the wallet too) for card issuers. Most of my cards are completely flat now.

        A few people who know what's accepted where they're going may only have their phone with them for Android Pay / Apple Pay.

        • Wouldn't a business card scanner work to collect an image of a CC and driving license?
          • Sure - but it's far more likely to be in violation of PCI compliance. Either way, declined cards are probably a bigger risk than lost sales for a bigger chain store.

      • Customers should also be prepared.
        Solution: don't use CC, use cash.
        Cash is king.
        A cash-less society is an un-free society.
      • Re:O. M. G! (Score:4, Informative)

        by myid ( 3783581 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @07:58PM (#55617659)

        Businesses should always be prepared for a system failure or power outage. I was in a local shop recently when the power failed. It took them less than a minute to get a box of paper based "kerchunkers" from the manager's office and put one at each register. Sales lost: $0.

        Last summer on a hot day, I was in a Target store when the power failed. Backup lights went on immediately. People who looked like managers went quickly from one checkout station to another, doing something. Everything at the checkout stations worked except the conveyer belts; you had to move the stuff towards the checker by hand.

        When I drove away, the signal lights in the area weren't working, so the power loss wasn't the store's fault.

        When the managers were going from one checkout station to the next, I don't know if they were enabling an override or what. But whatever they were doing, it looked like they knew what to do, and that they had practiced getting the checkout stations back online; they were prepared.

      • Cool...they recorded your card number and expiration date on a piece of paper....hooray. They can always write down all the card info and batch it later. Just costs them more. All of which is not an approved practice....though not illegal.

    • But seriously, do they not load test in the run-up to these extravaganzas?

      No. Last time I was there for a one-day sale (unplanned, so I didn't have my Macy's card with me), their system for looking up Macy's accounts was down. There was an additional 20% off that day if you used your Macy's card so, while I was able to still make my purchase, I didn't save as much as I could have.

      Their website seems to be broken and unable to display Macy's card account info more often than not, as well.

      It's almost like they've forgotten they're not some mom and pop operation.

    • Don't know but I'm loving me some new Firefox.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I wonder how many murder / suicides this will result in?

      But seriously, do they not load test in the run-up to these extravaganzas?

      Have you never worked in retail?

      Of course no-one tested it, no-one thought of testing it. Staff on the floor are too busy dealing with stock movement, relentless hagglers and Karen with her 17 kids and a wheelbarrow demanding to speak to the manager. Store managers are too busy dealing with the Karens, over-working the floor staff and dodgy accounting to think of this and senior management are too busy trying to find out why their latest round of staff cuts haven't made them more profitable whilst planni

  • Old adage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boudie2 ( 1134233 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @03:49PM (#55616535)
    Never borrow money unless it's for something you can make money with.
    • Re:Old adage (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Friday November 24, 2017 @04:17PM (#55616701) Journal

      Why would you assume that a credit card purchase is for the loan?

      I get 2% cash back, and price protection for 60 days.

      That means if they do better sales in January (likely), I get the discount, and it's easier than dealing with various stores.

      Between the two, I save about $300-400/year, and 200 of it is zero effort.

      • You, my friend, are in the minority. Visa isn't making money off you. My point applies more to those who make the minimum payment and end up paying the highest interest. Many years ago, actually my first job was in sales. The company would finance the purchase at about 30% interest. People would always say "Thirty-percent? I don't know about that." And the answer would be, yes but you're going to pay it off the first chance you get, like when you get your income tax back. Although very few of them did. Are
        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          I am.

          My only debt is a personal loan I took out for home renovations, and the few grand I'm paying in interest was worth it to have the work done three years earlier.

        • Visa isn't making money off you.

          Yes they are. Visa makes more money off of people like that. They only collect transaction fees. It's the issuing banks that make money on interest.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Why would you assume that a credit card purchase is for the loan?

        I get 2% cash back, and price protection for 60 days.

        Meanwhile you're paying 5-10% more than you should.

        Do you think banks are giving you money out of the goodness of their hearts... hell no. They're charging the merchant 5-10% for accepting payment by card, they give a pittance back to you to keep you using the card and pocket the rest.

        Meanwhile, people using cash or debit are finding retailers who'll give them discounts.

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          Meanwhile you're paying 5-10% more than you should.

          Versus 7-12% more than he "should" if he did not, generously assuming that 5-10% is accurate (it's not, transaction fees are ~2%) and you have any authority to declare what things "should" cost.

          Do you think banks are giving you money out of the goodness of their hearts... hell no. They're charging the merchant 5-10% for accepting payment by card, they give a pittance back to you to keep you using the card and pocket the rest.

          Citation needed. You're grossly

    • Never borrow money unless it's for something you can make money with.

      Since my credit card company pays me to use the card, I make money with it.

    • Never borrow money unless it's for something you can make money with.

      Like a credit card? Seriously are you not using a credit card? You're leaving all sorts of benefits on the table, especially when it costs you literally nothing to own and use one.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Never borrow money unless it's for something you can make money with.

      When people are offering money for free, do you not use the opportunity? That's what short term interest-free loans are all about.

      There is no secret to money. There is only discipline. If you're smart, you'd invest the money you spent on a credit card in something guaranteed, then use it pay off the card when it's due and pocket the few bucks you earned, for free, by doing absolutely nothing.

  • They WANT cash to disappear...what better way of seeing how many people still use cash, than have CC machines go down on black Friday? Once they are convinced the majority of people use cards instead of cash, they will outlaw the use of cash because the cards are "safer"...and they will also use an anti criminal element to get rid of cash, since a lot of illegal transactions are in cash. It's for your "safety". Once cash is gone, and everything is an electronic blip, the government can see ANYTHING you
    • Watch out!

      I hear they're monitoring Aluminium sales. Once you cross the secret threshold, black helicopters will be outside foil-mart waiting to intercept you on your next shopping trip. For safety, distribute your transactions amongst the shell corporations you control.

    • I agree that a cashless society would be terrible, but I also think this was a genuine error -- Macy's wouldn't give up a significant % of their sales on a busy shopping day nationwide just to run a test.
  • This is as serious as a natural disaster.

  • Who wouldn't take cash with them when they expect to shop on massively busy/overcrowded events? If you didn't take cash, you have nothing to complain about, learn from this and move on.
  • ....I don't do Black Fridays.
  • ...and in a quiet, computer-filled room at Nordstroms' headquarters, a shadowy group sits back and breathes a collective sigh of relief at successfully sabotaging a competitor. "Good job, lads," says the Strike Team leader, "those fuckers at Macy's will never know what hit them."

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain

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