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While you were doing something useful...

... I was waiting in line to get my blank DVD+R medias.

20 minutes it took to pay at Bureau en Gros (Staples). Why? Because their cash register system was down.

As I've been working in the computer industry my whole life, I certainly do know that a system can hang, or crash, or explode, or even catch on fire. It can be because of a power spike, a down spike, some voodoo magic, bit rotting, or even solar flares.

Computers are not reliable. It can let you down at any time. This is why we have redundant power supplies, or RAID-5 arrays. So what can we do about cash registers? Well, it is called keeping a receipt pad somewhere. I cannot believe they are unable to write or calculate taxes by hand. Maybe it is not as convenient, but it helps keeping your customers when you have a system outage.