Holiday shoppers were in forgiving spirits Saturday as they packed Twin Cities Target stores, largely undeterred by the company’s giant data breach and praising a 10 percent discount the company offered to appease customers.
“It seems like they’re handling it well,” said Kymm Pollack of Minneapolis as she and her daughter stocked up on holiday gifts and supplies at the Target in St. Louis Park.
On the last Saturday before Christmas, that kind of goodwill was a holiday blessing for Minneapolis-based Target Corp., after the data theft was revealed Wednesday.
Since then, the nation’s No. 2 retailer was blasted by irritated customers on social media for the lack of information or response to concerns, and threatened with lawsuits after hackers got 40 million customers’ credit or debit card information — one of the largest known U.S. data breaches. The breach, which is under investigation by the Secret Service and Target’s own technical staff, affected customers who shopped at Target from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.
But on Saturday, it looked like business as usual at local stores, with one west metro Target scrambling to restock an empty line of shopping carts in the afternoon. Many customers said they wouldn’t alter their shopping habits and even spent more at Target because of the discount.
“That’s a nice bonus,” Pollack said after buying items she had been holding off on, such as an iPad keyboard thanks to the $30 she said she saved from the discount.
The discount will be available at stores across the country through Sunday. Target reiterated Saturday that cardholders won’t be held financially responsible for fraud in their accounts.
The estimated 2 million JPMorgan Chase & Co. customers who used debit cards at Target stores during the recent security breach, however, will be limited in their use of their cards, the bank said Saturday. According to Reuters, the bank will limit card use to cash withdrawals of $100 a day and purchases totaling $300 a day as a precaution.
‘If it happens, it happens’
Target’s customer call centers continued to be overwhelmed Saturday, spokeswoman Katie Boylan said, as they dealt with unprecedented, “extraordinary high call volume” related to the breach.
And while she couldn’t say Saturday if stores were impacted negatively by the data breach or positively by the discount, she said that, anecdotally, “we’ve seen a really positive response” to the promotion.
CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced the discount Friday. He also apologized, saying in a statement that “we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season.” The company also is offering one year of free credit monitoring to those whose credit or debit card information was exposed.
“I probably should be more concerned than I am. But I trust Target,” said Pollack, who shopped during the time of the data breach with her Target REDcard, which always gives shoppers 5 percent off their purchases. She has not been notified of any unusual charges made using the card.
Added Andrew Holmes, another St. Louis Park customer: “It’s just the way it goes [with credit cards]. If it happens, it happens.”
At Roseville’s Target store, Kiki Koralesky had shopped at Target on Friday, but after hearing about the discount, she returned again Saturday to buy wrapping paper and gifts such as stocking stuffers and slippers.
“I’ve been here too many times … probably for the 20th time this week,” she said.
She signed up for a REDcard just before the data breach and shopped during the days shoppers’ information was hacked, but she said she also hasn’t been notified about her accounts being impacted.
“I guess my thinking is, ‘what are the odds it’s going to be me?’ ” she said. “It’s probably not going to stop me [from shopping].”
In northeast Minneapolis, one Target shopper who declined to give his name loaded up his car with cat litter and cat food, which he said he purposely used cash to pay for because of Target’s data breach, adding: “They said they fixed it but how do we know they did? They’re worse than the government.”
Shoppers Gary and Connie Morgan of St. Anthony were unfazed, carrying out a TV they bought Saturday because of Target’s discount.
“It won’t affect our shopping at Target,” she said. “Target is a local company so it’s good to support them.”
Added her husband about the data breach: “It can happen anywhere.”