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At work, the other day, the power went out at about 11am. Fortunately, this was one of the rare times that I had saved my previous two hours of coding about 5 seconds before the blackout. We ended up having a little “social hour” at work for a little while because it was too early for lunch and nobody had anything to do. It was kind of cool to chat about politics and the state of the company in “the amazon rainforest.” (The webdev girls collected all of the plants from the second and third floors after we consolidated everything to the second floor and put all 30 or 40 of them in and around their cubes, hence the nickname.) Fortunately, everybody at work (or at the very least, everybody at work that vocalizes their opinion) has the same basic opinion on all of this.

Once the lack of air conditioning started making the air hot and stuffy, some of the programmers decided to form a scouting party to walk to Diedrich's, grab some coffee and discover the scope of the power outage. Last time, it was strictly our building. This time, it was hard to tell–the signal lights at the intersection I could see from my window were still working, but we could not tell whether the lights in other buildings were on. During our walk, we noticed a number of things. Large number of people in surrounding building leaving for lunch early. Check. Security gate at bank building parking lot stuck half-open-half-closed. Check. “Open” neon signs in surrounding businesses not illuminated. Check. Yep, the power was out on the whole block. Once at Diedrich's, all they had was the coffee of the day, so I asked to get some. “Sorry, we can't sell you any coffee.” It's right back there! I can see it! It has already been made and is sitting in the big dispenser, getting cold. “The cash registers are out. We can't sell you any coffee.” It's $1.35, after discount for using my own mug, just like it has been most every day for the past year. “I can't punch that into the register. It's not on.” A little bit of pleading later, they decided it would be okay, opened the register, and gave me my change (which I, as always, put in the tip jar because I dislike change jingling in my pocket). The then immediately decided to post a guard at the door so that nobody else could get in and inconvenience them and their cash registers. When everybody had left, they locked the doors behind us. Is it me, or does this seem a little silly? They couldn't keep a running tally of how many plain coffees they sold during the power outage and enter it when the power came back?

Upon return to work, somebody had gotten through to the power company. ETA for repair was 3:45. Basically, a lost day of work since nobody wanted to come back to work at 4 and work for an hour or two. Everybody started to leave, but a few of the programmers hung around to talk a bit more. Shortly after that, the power came back on. Everybody else had left, but we decided to stick around and continue to work for the rest of the day. (There was still a lot to do, and deadlines are not tied to power outages).

Oh, and be sure to always read the fine print.

Posted in: Dear Diary Work

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