Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Power down at work

Yesterday was a doozy for work. Power went out at the store around 5:25PM. We soon discovered that the back wall had power, but not the rest of the store. Working quickly, we hooked up the main office computers to an extension and connected it to an outlet on the back wall. That got some of the main systems up and running and allowed us to open as a cash or check operation. Customers were pleased - for the most part - that we had made some effort to stay open. My manager left as soon as he could as he had an appointment. That left me in the store, with little power, to close the place up for the third time since I started.

Of course, things did not go right. The registers were on emergency backup batteries. At one point, those batteries began beeping quickly, so I realized that they were running low on power. There were three customers in the store. One was a woman who had a large bottle of Grey Goose vodka in her hand. She asked me a question about a particular wine, which we didn't carry but might be able to special order. Then, I announced to everyone in the store that purchases should be made quickly before I lost power completely at the registers and had to close up.

The woman with the vodka made it to the counter first...and proceeded to try and flirt with me. Normally, I enjoy a little flirting. It's just good fun, but this was really not the time for such games. As I attempted to move the sale through as quickly as possible, the next customer in line rolled her eyes and shot disgusted glares at the Grey Goose customer. Luckily, I got through the ordeal without insulting anyone's feelings and the woman making faces seemed to appreciate my dilemma.

However, due to the delay, I wasn't able to lock the doors right away and more customers flowed in. Naturally, the batteries died and 4 more people were still there. I locked the in door and announced that the registers had died - we'd have to close. People looked terribly disappointed. I thought about it and decided to sell to the people there. One person wrote a check. The next 4 came up with cash close to the correct amount (10 to 60 cents over the amount) and told me not to worry about the change. Our final customer was the man who ran the smoke shop down the strip mall. He came in for his customary 2 bottles of beer. It was 6:30 and the store was locked up.

I waited until 7 to see if the lights would come on. Despite the sign I posted on the door, people continued to approach the store and give disgusted looks when they found out that we had no power. At 7, I went ahead with plans to try and close the store down (as normal). I set aside money for the purchase at the end that were never rung through. That would have to be rung in the next day for the computers to balance properly. Then, I found out that the registers apparently had not transmitted any of the transactions from the time we got the office PCs powered up. Oy! So, my till was over. No biggie...the store balanced. Then, we lost power to the entire store for about 15 minutes. I continued working on closing things down when the power came back up. I was able to log back on to our main PCs and enter in the figures for the store balance and the bank deposit. I was also able to lock everything in the safe! It made me about 30 minutes late for leaving, but I think I got us covered and left the customers happy - for the most part. We'll see when I go in today.

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