Kroger Experiences Brief Credit Card System Outage
A brief credit-card system outage – lasting about an hour – at stores operated by The Kroger Co. under various banners across the company on Dec. 24 set off a panic on social media among harried last-minute Christmas shoppers, with one shopper tweeting that the ensuing chaos was akin to “World War Z,” with fellow customers apparently reduced to ravening zombies.
Another described the situation as "5 minutes away from 'Lord of the Flies,'" referencing the famous novel in which schoolboys stranded on an island must fend for themselves, with disastrous results.
At around 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, the grocer issued a nationwide statement reassuring customers that its credit card machines were back up and running, according to the company’s hometown paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Our stores are open – and accepting all forms of payment, including credit and debit cards – for customers, whether they are completing their lists or putting final touches on their holiday meals.”
According to customers on social media, the registers couldn’t accept card payments, all purchases had to be in cash, and shoppers were unable to buy gift cards, even with cash, until the system was restored.
Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.