Macy's Website Asks You To "Wait Here A Few Moments While Other Shoppers Finish Up"

Reader Mike says:

Thought you guys would like this screenshot of a page I’ve been receiving from for about the last half hour. Makes it pretty hard to see what their final One Day Sale before the holidays has to offer. Keep up the good work Consumerist!


We like the “wait in line” style of the message. It’s a good way to remind people who shop online to avoid crowds that they’ve managed to fail in that regard.


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  1. RottNDude says:

    It probably cost them more in developer manpower to implement the fancy “wait in line” page than it would have to just throw a few more servers in the farm.

  2. darkened says:

    I think thats their generic error message for the site, or generic server overloaded message.

  3. selectman says:

    @RottNDude: Maybe, but it’s better PR to have a human-readable “server busy” page than just a 503 Service Unavailable page or something. It’s also better to assume that user demand will one day outpace capacity and plan for that eventuality.

  4. clocker says:

    The least they could do is serve coffee and show some porn while you wait.

  5. Buran says:

    Send ’em a letter telling ’em you went to the competition that has a website that actually works.

  6. savvy999 says:

    Don’t know how others may feel, but “finish up” grates on my grammar detector somehow. I think it may be technically correct, but it still seems provincial. Like the Pittsburgh-ese “redd up”, or the southern “fixin’ to”. Why not “please wait until other shoppers finish”?

    In any case, it’s just a high-fallutin’ 503.

  7. rmz says:

    As a developer, it makes me cry to see that someone actually thought this was a good idea.

  8. Bladefist says:

    I am guessing this is a generic error everyone is getting. To shut down the site for some, and allow the other shoppers to continue would be a good sum of code.

  9. Shadowman615 says:

    That *is* kinda odd. I think it’s just there instead of a “down for maintenance” page. Has anyone actually been able to get into the site after waiting on that page?

  10. glitterati says:

    10 mins…still waiting…

  11. bonzombiekitty says:

    On one hand, it’s bad business that they don’t have the correct hardware to handle the load.

    On the other hand, it might actually be good business in controlling the traffic flow. They might actually be able to handle an abnormally high traffic rate, but they may be under an even abnormally higher traffic rate than could have been reasonably expected. So they had, with good foresight, made a user friendly message that reports the (unlikely) eventuality that the servers have too much traffic.

    However, there is probably some other problem as you wouldn’t expect these messages to last very long for EVERYONE.

  12. Junco says:

    Wow. I’d much prefer to see a “we are experiencing technical difficulties” statement. Instead, I feel like I’m at the mall on Black Friday.

  13. STrRedWolf says:

    @bonzombiekitty: I’m with you on the other hand. Linux boxes can monitor how much traffic they’re using. A monitor program could run every 15 minutes, check, and if it’s over a certian threshold, flag the web catalog to hold new users (and not give out new session ID’s in those yummy browser cookies) until an all-clear’s given.

    On the up-side, it’s not a 5xx code from the web server, and traffic that’s already in there can still shop w/o suddenly being shoved out the door by that comically-fat lady who takes up a whole isle in the perfume area (and buys the stuff by the gallon). :)

    In the words of the Guiness guys, “BRILLIANT!”

  14. comopuedeser says:

    This makes about as much sense as a bank saying they’ve run out of space to store your money.

  15. formatc says:

    What a very Heisenbergian story. Nothing to help an overloaded server like a swarm of Consumeristians checking out the validity of the story.

  16. MFfan310 says:

    Note to Macy’s: BUY MORE SERVERS!

    In this age of cheap dual-core everything, more computing power for your server farms is always cheaper than lost customers. Didn’t Macy’s have a problem like this on Black Friday 2006, and didn’t Sears have several problems like this recently?

    Oh, and there’s no wait at websites for JCPenney… or Kohl’s… or Dillard’s… or Nordstrom… and the list goes on and on. Unless the item you’re looking for is a Macy’s house brand exclusive, chances are that you can find it elsewhere.

  17. SoFlaSnowMan says:

    If you look at the source for this page, you see the following comment:

    It has nothing to do with the server being too “crowded”.

  18. swalve says:

    @STrRedWolf: I agree- let the people who are already there with full shopping carts ready to give them money have a good service experience. NOTHING is more maddening than doing up a batch of online shopping only to run into bad server performance when I’m done.

    @savvy999: I’m not sure it is regional, but it might be “folksy” and signal a positive completion. Clean up, finish up, take up camp, sweep up, etc.

  19. SoFlaSnowMan says:

    Whoops — looks like consumerist doesn’t like embedded XML comments in the comment.

    Take 2:

    <!– APP_ERROR_CODE=0101090518#The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request. (HTTP Response Code: 500) –>

  20. swalve says:

    @MFfan310: Maybe it isn’t. Ever hear of diminishing returns?

    You don’t know what the state of their IT infrastructure is.

  21. Angiol says:

    @swalve: I’m from the Midwest, and “finish up” is perfectly legitimate here.

  22. jeff303 says:

    @MFfan310: It’s not just servers. It’s bandwidth, real estate for the servers, maintenance, etc.

  23. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    I’m getting the exact same page, and I’ve noticed that it does indeed auto-refresh every ten seconds.

    Booo Macy’s.

  24. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    To: Macy’s, a.k.a. “America’s Department Store”
    From: America
    Re: Your Shit

    Get it together, kthxbye

  25. erratapage says:

    It happened to me, too. Just as I was looking at a really cute dress! GRRRRRR…

  26. GothamGal says:

    I have gotten that page for over an hour while I was working in another tab. That’s hilarious! Lines online, I love the new concept.

  27. Rando says:

    It’s actually been doing this for months…and it doesn’t put you in line at all. It redirects you to the home page after 5 seconds, forgetting everything you were trying to do.

  28. Rando says:

    @RottNDude: nope because people just call in and order which ties up lines…prob cost more

  29. fkarayan says:

    Can anybody say: Denial of service attack?

  30. LESSTHANKIND says:

    I’ve been trying to give them my money for four straight hours. They don’t appear to want it that bad, or they would have sorted this out by now.

    I do believe I shall shop elsewhere, and my Macy’s card will keep its pretty zero balance this holiday season.

  31. RHazlett says:

    So, my buddy works in the back office of Macy’s somewhere and I told him about this error a few months ago. He go the same error today on his own. Come to find out that the site was down for about 6 hrs and was showing this message and not one person at Macy’s knew about it. Geez, I work for a non-profit and if the server goes down in the middle of the night, you better believe that about 5 blackberries are ringing off the hook that minute. Servers are cheap, new customers aren’t.

  32. mungojerry says:

    @Rhazlett – What an embarrassment that IT department is for Macy’s. During the peak shopping season of the year no less!