Bad for business

Last night I joined a friend for their birthday at Musgrave. The idea was simple: dinner followed by movies. But at 6:15pm, while we were in the restaurant waiting for our order, the shopping centre plunged into darkness.

Apparently something had exploded with a big bang down in Pick 'n Pay, which shortcircuited the entire centre's power supply.

Now Tuesday is a big night for Musgrave Centre. Thanks to crime fears and general laziness South Africa is not a nocturnal society (at least during the week) - generally all the shops are closed and people locked up in their homes by a self-imposed curfew of 6:30pm. But on Tuesday, with Half-price Movie Night at Ster Kinekor, there's actually some life in the mall. Granted the place booms more over the school holidays, but restaurants FINALLY seem to have realised the money spinning potential of the evening all year round, and most now offer their own Tuesday specials.

A lot of business and a lot of money was lost last night. At 8pm, after sitting in the dark (well, candlelight) for 2 hours, we paid for our drinks, managed to rouse a cinema manager to ensure we could get a free movie ticket as a refund, and then ran in the rain and dark to the centre next door for some late dinner.

When we returned to our cars around 9:30, the lights were back on in Musgrave Centre. But this kind of thing does worry me. Where were the back-up plans? Where were the generators? And why did it take 3 and a half hours to sort something out in a popular shopping centre? I think it's a prime example of South Africa's general decline in terms of infrastructure, and complete disorganisation when it comes to dealing efficiently with problems related to the (often outdated) systems. I mean for God's sake, we're hosting the Football World Cup in 2 year's time! We can't afford to be slipping backwards in Zimbo-style power shortages...

To top the evening off, during the drive home I started smelling something odd. No warning lights came on and the temperature gauge was sitting at its normal spot. As I was getting out of the car in the garage, however, I noticed steam seeping from the ventilation system and out from under the car bonnet. Opening the bonnet, I could hear sizzling and saw coolant fluid splattering on the floor.

So my car is off to the dealership's garage today... And I'm very concerned that for once my Facebook Horoscope is going to be dead accurate: "You will spend a large chunk of money this week, but it will be worth it in the long run." *Gulp*


Flint said…
Wow that's sucky. I can handle the power going out in restaurants, but there's something really creepy about being in a closed mall when the lights go out..

As for outages and infrastructure, in this case it's the shopping center that stuffed up and didn't have a proper backup (based on the one next door being ok) but look at what's happening up in gatties right now.
Eskom has decided to do load shedding, but not only do they not give fair warning on radio and TV about when and where it will happen, they decide to carry it out in the center of Pretoria at rush hour! What other country in the world would allow a power utility to shut down their capitol in traffic rush hour, causing chaos and gridlock?
The US and UK worry about terrorists bringing their cities to a halt-we have Eskom.
Lord Spaceman said…
Tell me about it! What is wrong with these places!?

Something I've always wondered they still show a movie if the power goes out? Surely Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro have generators?

On completely unrelated note, please check out my blog, I have now made all the games I've created available to download. Enjoy. :)
Dante said…
See the thing is... we are a pretty okay third world country. Not a sucky first world country. Once you relize that then the power outage is like a normal thing. You start being glad it doesn't happen more. :p

As for the power outage in pta at rush hour. Damn thats just stupid. You remember how they say you should have a radio handy for natural disasters. I think in this country you should do that if you want to listen to Sean Kingstons Beautiful girl while running for your life.
Pfangirl said…
Ah, but Dante, once you start uncritically accepting these things, where does it stop?

The whole "It could be worse" argument is very dangerous because it makes room for all kinds of disintegration.

Then "Boom" you're trapped living in a shithole...

Like Flint and Lord Spaceman I can't understand why places like cinemas haven't taken precautions, especially after Cape Town's power cuts last year. I would have thought that was a wake-up call: a warning that things are going to get worse, so you need to be prepared.

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