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Darkness envelops the Wal-Mart Supercenter…

January 2, 2005, 12:29 AM

Well, today was interesting! Six months to the day of the “microburst” (really powerful thunderstorm that came out of nowhere) last July 1 that knocked out power to our store, we had a power outage at Wal-Mart today. And unlike with the microburst, where at least it was bad weather that knocked down power lines all over Waynesboro, this time it was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day. And at 4:30 PM, as I’m checking out a long line of customers, all of a sudden the store goes dark.

It’s weird. Everything’s going along just fine. The register is going “boop, boop, boop” as I’m scanning stuff. Then all of a sudden the lights all go out. The air handling units also stopped running, which made for an eerie, unfamiliar quiet. The lights going out also silenced the crowd for a moment. Everyone’s just like, “Eh?” Especially since it was a gorgeous day. Just gorgeous outside. No apparent reason for the power outage. Just one moment, light, and then the next, dark.

So we had to get everyone checked out before the registers died, which we did. And then after the customers, we had to make hay while the sun was shining in getting things together before we could reopen. Everyone also realized that it was starting to get dark, and that soon it would be pitch black inside, save for the emergency lighting. That was a weird feeling. But it was almost a party atmosphere in the store. It was weird. We were productive, but still, it was a certain party atmosphere. In asking where this Disney Princess dress-up dress went, I held it up to my leg and said, “Do you think this dress goes with these shoes?” When all the front-end associates gathered up front later, it was still very party-like.

And then after about an hour in the dark, there was light! The lights came on once again. Thank goodness. Then something else weird happened. All the lights went off again over the majority of the store, while the lights around the walls remained on, as did the lights in the Service Desk, etc. Weird. Then the lights came on again, and then we got running again before too long.

What blew my mind was the fact that people were literally lined up outside the store waiting for us to open back up. A number of us were just like, don’t these people have anything better to do? People were waiting outside from practically the moment we threw them out to the moment we let them back in. I just don’t understand that. The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And it’s not any huge sale they’re waiting for. Who knows.

And the first customer back in the store was someone from my church.

Still, that made for an interesting adventure today in the middle of work. But thankfully it wasn’t so much fun that it lasted way into the evening. It was over by 6:15, when the customers were let back in. So all in all, it lasted an hour and 45 minutes.

Web site: About microbursts, the storm that caused the first power outage back in July. I don't know what caused this one.

Song: Theme for The Golden Girls, since I'm watching the "Complete First Season" DVD that I got for Christmas.

Quote: "Let there be light!" - Me when the lights first came back on

Categories: Walmart