WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Harris Teeter shoppers get free groceries after cash register crash

Posted March 6, 2015

— When cash registers at the Cameron Village Harris Teeter failed Friday afternoon, everyone in line got their grocery order for free.

A manager said his team tried for about 15 minutes to reboot the system that runs their checkout lines, but after that time felt it was unfair to ask people to wait any longer.

He let anyone already in line leave with their carts full.

The manager said he did not have any estimate of how many customers got their groceries for free or the total value of the gesture.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Mar 7, 2015

    "Peter", welcome to the Smart Shopper blog. This HT article was featured on the home page of yesterday, but is posted on the blog. You can see the home page of the blog here for more information:

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Mar 7, 2015

    Here's a comment sent via e-mail by a reader who was in line at the Harris Teeter when the outage happened:

    "I was in line during the register outage. I got in line (literally) just as the outage happened. Three folks in front of me. I waited a bit and realized all the registers were out. By that time, I was stuck between the magazines and candy with around 5 folks in line behind me. (the lines quickly grew...extending down the aisles). The staff made an announcement that they were trying to re-boot the registers. It seemed over the next 20 minutes they tried to re-boot a couple of times with no success. At that point, I don't think management had much of a choice. Make everyone leave without their groceries after waiting a good amount of time (terrible PR) or let everyone bag it up and go (great PR). "

    Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks to all for your comments here on the blog! I think the manager did the right thing and represented HT very well. Excellent customer service!

  • sammy Macloud Mar 7, 2015

    View quoted thread

    she KNOWS that and she has a blog here on

  • sammy Macloud Mar 7, 2015

    View quoted thread

    and glad I never worked for YOU with that attitude. The manager did the proper thing and instead of losing customers he has gained customer loyalty.....

  • pcbdouglas Mar 6, 2015

    Wow, nicely handled HT! I'm sorry I wasn't on line with a cartful of meat!

  • wral suks bauls Mar 6, 2015

    Just another reason I love supporting harris teeter. This would NEVER happen at a walmart... you'd be waiting 2 hours to checkout. Good looking out by that manager

  • SouthernChick Mar 6, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Elizabeth, You are certainly doing your homework to keep up with the details of this story. My logistical nightmare comment stemmed from considering inventory control, shrinkage statistics, revenue totals/losses, etc. After further consideration, the event was short lasted and while there are still logistics to figure out, it would not be nightmarish.
    Please don't miss understand- I think what the manager did was admirable and it will not only result in continual loyalty and good press; it will also be remembered as a best practice in how to manage this sort of situation.

  • pamelayelverton Mar 6, 2015

    It was my challenge and PLEASURE to be a part of this moment at Harris Teeter. I entered just moments before the techical issue began and entered the line to wait to be checked out (in the self check line). The management team let all know of the issue over the speaker we understood why we were waiting. I was intrugued by the understanding and FUN people waiting with me. When Tim - the Management representative - approached and invited us to just place our items in a bag and feel free to leave there was a simple question : "What did you say??" He confirmed our patience had been rewarded in a way we never could have anticapted and did not imagine. We truly appreciate this display of "paying is FORWARD" and I sincerely hope we will find a way to let others know that patience and true appreciation is truly amazing.

  • RoyzDaMan Mar 6, 2015

    It just stinks for the vendors that get paid by scan. If the item doesn't get scanned, then "the store never had it". Never mind, grocery stores treat vendors like junk anyway.

  • rhinkley919 Mar 6, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Very well put.

    It'll end up as a slight blip in additoinal shrinkage, but the good will generated could very well make up for it on the sales side.