Patrick Gill Petco – Where the Credit Cards Didn’t Go

August 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the weekend, Petco – “a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents” – suffered what I was told, was a retail-chain-wide credit card processing outage. I arrived around 10am EST and processing had already been down for at least an hour. Needless to say, there were more than a few sales lost during that time, myself included.

Actually, Petco was in the news recently when for a data breach they suffered back in May. Hundreds of employees from Massachusetts had their personal data exposed due to the theft of several computers.

I did a quick Bing search -just kidding- a Google search to see if I could find the source of the problem they had over the weekend, but there was no news story about as of yet. So I called the local store and spoke to customer service. The lady I spoke with said Petco stores nation-wide were down until 8pm EST! Almost an entire day of accepting cash or check only. In this day-and-age that simply doesn’t work. I haven’t carried cash for years and most of the people I know carry only a very small amount, if any.

Not Patrick’s actual pet. Also, not life size.

Petco has yet to release an official post mortem, according to my customer service source, but when they do, I will be most interested in seeing what it was that actually took down the system. I want to know exactly where the break in the chain was, and how it can be avoided in the future.

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance that electronic transactions play in our everyday lives. That’s why it’s important to think about where the bulk of your data is and who is making sure it’s always available. Data centers live and die by their uptime and if their outage has to do with companies losing millions of dollars of transactions in a day, you best believe that losing a billion dollar customer will hurt a bit more.

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