May 31, 2005 "Huge" was the single word Golden Rock pharmacist Tony McDaniels used to describe the effect a telephone outage had on his business last week.
He was one of many businesses and residential customers in the Golden Rock, Hermon Hill and Princess estates who have been without phone service for over a week. Innovative Telephone issued a press release saying underground cables were damaged by water in the recent heavy rain.
McDaniels said Golden Rock Pharmacy lost service two weekends ago for one day, then it came on for a day and then it was off again for about six days. Service started up again Memorial Day evening.
He said, "It would not have been so bad, if the phone company could have just put a message on saying there was a problem." Instead he said the customers calling in just heard the phone ring and ring or occasionally get a busy signal. He said, "Customers would walk in and say 'We thought you were out of business.'"
He said the pharmacy, which has five phone lines, definitely suffered a drop in business. He said doctors often fax in prescriptions, but they could not do that with phone lines down.
He said the situation was bad for customers because there are not many alternative places for them to get their prescriptions filled.
Credit cards are also run through a phone line to get approval. McDaniels said the pharmacy just took the cards, ran them up manually and will now run them through to see if they are approved. He said, "I hope I don't get burned."
Judi of Croix Car Rentals, owned by Chris and Christine Powers, also saw business problems with the phone lines being out. Chris said he took his credit card machine over to his sister's house in Peter's Rest and set it up there.
"I imagine we lost business," Christine said.
As the problem continued, the Powers arranged with the phone company to have the business phone calls forwarded to their personal cell phones.
In the press release, Dave Sharp, Innovative President and CEO, said that work would continue around the clock until telephone lines are restored.
The public relations department could not be reached Tuesday morning to get the accurate number of customers affected or to confirm if all service was restored.
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