posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 09:30 AM
A severe storm came through my town last night and it knocked out power in my local grocery store for a bit. This was no big deal, as it has happened
before. There was, however, a bigger problem we discovered very quickly: The credit and debit no longer worked, and checks couldn't be used.
Foodstamps and WIC did not work either.
Coincidentally, there was a rush of people in the store at this same time, and the lines began to clog very fast. People in line joked about how
anyone ever did this 100 years ago, things like that. Everyone figured the glitch would be ironed out momentarily. Since nothing else worked, those
people who were stuck were forced to use the store ATM that would charge them to withdraw money. They weren't happy but they got in line and started
to get the cash they needed.
Until the ATM froze up.
Now the fake smiles and annoyed chatter had disappeared and reality struck for a lot of people, they had no way to access their money, they had no way
to pay for their food. Those who unloaded their carts were completely stuck and the ones waiting in line didn't want to give up their spot to go to
the bank. People became vocal very quickly.
"There's no way the whole system can go at once!"
"What the Hell do I do now?"
"I'm not leaving without this food."
People started pointing fingers at the cashiers, THEY must have done something. When the manager tried to explain it was not the cashier's doing, the
company was to blame for making such a flawed system. Soon enough, with no knowledge of how the system actually worked, people began blaming others
for buying too many groceries in the first place. In the span of a few minutes, perfectly calm, content people turned on those around them and
eventually each other because food and money weren't immediately available to them.
About that time the manager announced that the debit and checking was back up, and the ATM unfroze and people got their money.
All of the things mentioned could have been causes for the glitch, but how the customers reacted was stunning to me. I can't say what would have
happened if the problem hadn't resolved itself, but I know that in a situation where other variables were involved such as a national crisis or mass
panic, there would have been chaos.
If people react in such a way when a small wrench is thrown into the works, what reactions would come from a multitude of things going wrong all at
once? After what I saw last night, I wouldn't want to be near a public place should the house of cards topple over, and I don't recommend anyone
planning a trip to the store that day.