INTERNET service, debit and credit card machines, automatic bank tellers, and even some TV stations were knocked out of service in Winnipeg much of Sunday, due to technical problems at MTS Allstream.
The outages resulted in countless lost sales for merchants, and as many inconveniences for Winnipeggers.
At the Superstore on McPhillips Street, debit machines were knocked out most of the day. A dozen vacated grocery carts heaped with groceries were lined up at one point, waiting for the buyers to come back with cash because they'd only brought a debit card.
One of them was Kari Morgan.
"I shopped for two hours and stood in line for 20 minutes and then the cashier told me the debit machine wasn't working," she fumed.
"I go home, I'm mad, I phone my husband because he's out of town and ask him what to do," said Morgan. "You're so frustrated you don't want to come back."
She ended up going to an ATM and returned to the store to pay for the $300 worth of groceries in her cart. The round trip took about half an hour.
Another customer shopping at Superstore had to borrow money from a friend to pay for his groceries.
At Pizza Hut, which opened at 4 p.m., the first five callers cancelled their orders when informed the pizza restaurant couldn't process debit or credit cards, said driver John Labkin.
People don't carry cash like they used to, he said. "It causes big problems. Two-thirds of our business is debit and credit card action" on weekends, he said.
The sporadic outages lasted about 12 hours in total. There seemed no pattern to who was impacted.
At The Source electronics store at Garden City Shopping Centre, debit and credit card machines were out much of the afternoon.
But next door at Sears, there were no outages at all.
The debit and credit card machines at Garden City Cinema movie theatre in Northgate Shopping Centre were down all day but at Dollarama next door the machines were mostly working, with some interruptions.
When people went to get cash a short walk down the Northgate Shopping Centre mall aisle from a Royal Bank ATM, they were down, too.
Similar occurrences were going on across the city. A Free Press employee reported the Cambrian Credit Union ATM on Marion Street in St. Boniface was down Sunday afternoon. The debit and credit card machines were down in the Red River Co-op gas station on Gateway Road in North Kildonan.
Some retailers couldn't process debit cards but could still take credit cards.
Even MTS rival Telus experienced outages Sunday. It uses MTS as its Internet provider.
An employee at the Telus kiosk in Garden City Shopping Centre said he had no clue what the problem was. "It's kind of hard to find out when the Internet doesn't work," he said.
MTS spokesman Greg Burch said the network problems began Sunday morning and the problems were intermittent throughout the day.
MTS support staff worked all day and didn't have the system completely restored until 8:30 p.m.