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Get prepared, my grocery store experience

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posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 09:04 AM
Something happen to me the other day I want to share with you. I was shopping in a grocery store (major chain) when the computers went down. The supermarket has a mainframe in California that controls all the register transactions and caused the registers to lock. This meant no transactions could be processed. Credit card readers were on a different system and was up but did no good with the registers down. This brought the store and the shoppers completely to it's knees.

luckily for us for some reason the deli register worked however scanners were down so they told the customers to know the exact prices of each item they have. They soon realized there were way too many items and people to do this so without prices on items they started guessing the prices at ridiciously low cost most items for one dollar just to move the line and not make the customers mad. Took me about two hours to buy my 3 items.

That said, I knew we were a society controlled by computers but experiencing something as little as a supermarket and the lack of a backup plan is disturbing. No one had a calculator, why? Could they even use one? Everything is barcoded so no prices. I have to now look at a larger scale computer crash what would happen to us say airline computers, government, broadcast went down. Now that would be scarey!

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 09:35 AM
I've had a similair experience about a year ago... the power went down in a part of a shoppingcenter. The cashregisters didn't work anymore and what was worse that even the doors didn't work anymore.... some people who were claustrofobic really went crazy. (I'm not saying people who are claustrofobic ARE crazy).

And indeed these kind of things make you wonder about the more sensitive parts of our modern day society experiencing black outs. Of course the most important parts are equipped with a proper back up system. But if that would fail there would definetly be a problem.

I wouldn't want to be there if it happens


posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 10:49 AM
Wow, I cant imagine being trapped as well. That's scary!

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:18 AM
I worked at Lowes for years, and we had power outages and computer glitches once in a while; there is a simple solution and one we used. It is a pain in the neck, but works well. It is called paper and pen. There are forms, special forms, for just such situations. You simply fill the price in ( a Telzon unit can read prices by bar code internally within the store if a price is in doubt) , or a fast trip to the isle with the shelf label can confirm the price if in doubt, and get the tax on a calculator and take the money and make change. It takes a little longer but works well.

Most big box store have big generators that can keep the system up minimally at need to turn the lights off and run the customers off..just run half lights and keep the registers up!!

When the system is back up, all those transactions are entered into the system as a regular sale and the papers kept for the main office. We never had a time when we could not take the customers money if they wanted to buy; there is always a way and usually the simplest works the best: the old fashioned way!!

If any of you are as old as I am, you can recall when banks had to write all deposits and withdrawls out by hand and written records worked very well for a long time. Sure, computers are better and faster...when they work!! Paper and pen always works, and in a pinch there are ways that the system can keep moving. Most stores have written ( printed ) lists of all items costs and so a quick check could determine price and a fast calculation can get the tax added.

For those who are mathematically challenged, all one has to do is take the base price and multiply it by the tax rate: for example, if the state tax is 6% and the item is $ 20.00, simply multiply $ 20.00 X .06 = $ 1.20 Tax., total $ 21.20. Pen, paper and a hand held calculator can solve the issue until the system is back.

Naturally, a store like a grocery store would have bigger issues due to the sheer number of items, but if a customer really wants to shop during an outage they can darn well write down the prices on store supplied pencils and paper before they get in the checkout line; guessing and having customers set the price is stupid and wasteful. If people cooperate and work together in situations like those mentioned the system CAN work; but it takes a little more effort, and that is the thing we lose when computers make it so easy; we get lazy and want it all done for us and NOW!!

But simple and effective ways can be used to keep the money and goods flowing if only a little foresight is used; and some ingenuity.

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:46 AM
Most retail companys have their EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) Systems wired up to a internal network to include such departments as the company accounts department and also for auto replenishment with stock etc. Over here in the UK with Chip and Pin being a relatively new system then they run on a separate system so in the event of a EPOS failure the Chip and Pin can carry on running. In the event of both failing most stores have contingency tills which have a cash float, Notepad, Pencil and calculator and they revert back to the old fashioned way. The only problem with this is they can only re enter the sales later on as unscanned which causes murder for auto replenishment etc etc.

Things like this are quite normal as retail companies try to update the system from the main server with new updates for stores etc and it really is quite normal however not to good for a internal system

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 03:57 PM
I have to ask the obvious question here. You waited 2 hours to buy 3 items? Why wouldn't you just leave and go to another store or go home?

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 04:03 PM

I say that in all honesty. People are going to get a taste of what it's like to actually have to live a life that is a bit uncomfortable. One day, humanity won't have the material luxuries it currently takes for granted.

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 04:33 PM

Originally posted by Keebie
Wow, I cant imagine being trapped as well. That's scary!
Well at lest you would'nt have to worry about starving to death before rescued!

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 05:00 PM
well i suppose that if that happened on a large scale, things would be a bit rampant. especially in the theft department.

not to mention if the electricity/power went out nationwide there would be intense waves of crimes assumingly in many urban section but more than likely in the suburbs as well.

now if the back up generators went out on top of this, it would be quite frightening for more than a few people.

i wonder how the military would react to something on this scale?

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Cory and Trevor
I have to ask the obvious question here. You waited 2 hours to buy 3 items? Why wouldn't you just leave and go to another store or go home?


I wouldn't have waited-around for two minutes. They must have been three mighty important items.

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 03:17 PM

I have to ask the obvious question here. You waited 2 hours to buy 3 items? Why wouldn't you just leave and go to another store or go home?

Funny you ask. I opened a soda out of the convenient fridge at the beginning of the register isle. Not being a thief I wanted to pay for the 79 cent soda. The other item was beer and hot wings

Sure I could have left but I was more intrigued to watch the mayhem of the customers and the employees and how they solved this deli ma

On a small scale such as this and watching customers, some waited others frustrated and leaving, it was quite the entertainment of the day. With a major power outage what would they do then. I think a mass panic would happen.

Now, if the internet went down with all these stores connected to it what kind of mayhem would that be? Not just one grocery store or mall but all grocery stores and malls and government buildings etc etc.

That is what I am saying

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 03:21 PM
O and by the way, for those who think the internet is not controllable becsause it is a network of millions of computers think again! We need servers to access the internet.

One major virus could take it all down.

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 03:23 PM
I dont like to wait around long for anything. It would have to be mighty important for me to do so.

Years at the local wal mart when I got off work at midnight...they would do something with the computers and the flow thorugh the registers would be stopped for some 20 to thirty minutes. I got so mad I just left my basket complete with the perishable goods in the aisles.

I learned one thing over the years having worked the second and midnight shifts for many years. My time is valuable. I dont spent alot of time standing in line somewhere.
I feel sorry for so many of you day shift type peoples. Think of how many hours of your lives ..daily, weekly, monthly, yearly that you spend standing or sitting in line somewhere....stores, movies, traffic...etc etc. I refuse to do this if I can help it at all.

When I go to the stores it is to replenish stockpiles of goods I have already bought in bulk. This gives me the option to say..."no way am I standing in this line for this nonsense." In otherwords I am not down to the absolute last one of a necessary item.

One poster is quite correct...why would one stand in line at any one store when there are so many competing stores? I suspect that so many are programmed by a lifetime career of standing in line so many places they think this is the normal course of commerce. It is not.

I have even been in stores where the cashier are so stupid...I looked at them and just walked out. Left all my goods on the belt at the register. I dont believe these cashiers are accustomed to people who can think outside the "stand in line in desperation ..Im so hard up and I am a unthinking robot syndrome."

YOu dont have to put up with lousy service or dumb cashiers. Your time is valuable.
This includes the cash register system..including the is there to serve you ..not you serve it. Dont put the cart before the horse.

Also keep inventory and stock up so that you are not absolutely hard up since you have used the last item and not replaced it because you live in the fast food lane.

Another poster is quite correct too. THere is a thing or concept called a "manual overide." Doing it the olde fashioned way. What ...surely you jest??? NO not at all..we have become to dependent on these machines to do our thinking for us. It becomes like being breast fed by a machine. Eventually the machine runs us not the other way around.

Learn to use a calculator or pen and paper. It is not a monumental exercise. Good did our parents ,grandparents and great grandparents survive without calculators or computers. Wow!! That must have been back before evoultion was happening!! LOL LOL LOL!!

Stand in thanks I will leave my basket right there and go home and put my feet up to a cold drink and some relaxation or work I need to do at home..not standing in line for something that doesnt make good nonsense.


posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 11:22 PM
We had an episode like that, at our Super WalMart 2 days ago.
I went there with my current g/f, and one of my best friends.
We each had our own items, but they were all in the cart together, and I had decided to purchase a laptop computer from them. The strange thing was, the employee could not find a price for it, so he said just take it up front, have them scan it, and your good to go.

Well we used a self scanner.
Halfway through, I scanned the laptop, and it said we needed assistance.
Some woman came over, swiped a plastic card across the scanner, and walked off, and my laptop showed up as being "scanned" but there was NO price beside it.
So, I said wth and put it in the bag, finished, and walked out, expecting the alarm to go off, and it NEVER did.

I just got an Acer laptop absolutely free.
I will ALWAYS use the self scanners.

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