I work at the Safeway on North Charles, and when I walked into the store yesterday I felt like I was stepping onto the set of Zombieland. Remember the part where they’re in the grocery store? It was like that but minus the zombies – the lights were flickering, the shelves eerily empty, people wandered around in dazed confusion, there was a faint dead smell in the air. It turns out we’d been hit by the second-best thing to a zombie apocalypse – a total power outage.
The blocks around Safeway lost power after the hurricane-esque blast of weather we got Friday night, which left hundreds of thousands of Marylanders in the dark and heat. I was stupid enough to be on a bike around 10:30 that night and narrowly missed getting hit by about four branches. There was some extensive property damage, but the biggest concern for many of us has been the lack of power. I was just talking to a woman who lives in a nursing home who told me they lost a woman who had been on an oxygen pump when her building lost power.
I usually work behind a table with the computers, but I spent my day wandering through Safeway’s back rooms with a flashlight and trash bag, throwing away anything that needed temperature control: milk, juice, eggs, the entire deli, the whole produce section, tons of ice cream cakes and frozen pizza. My manager told me we lost well over $100,000 from the storm, and we’ll keep losing money until power comes back. BGE is saying that should happen by Thursday or Friday, but the damage was so extensive and unexpected it could well take longer.
It was sort of a frightening experience, seeing how totally useless people are without electricity, how subject to nature. I’m just hoping the A.C.’s back on when I get in today.