Current affairs

Observant readers may have noticed that The Local wasn't working for four hours last Friday afternoon. Thankfully it was somebody else's fault and the cost, to be frank, was measurable in frowns rather than crowns.

But that wasn’t the case at another great British institution, Debenhams, which lost hundreds of thousands of the latter thanks to a three-hour electrical failure in the centre of Stockholm.

SvD reported that staff stood outside the store on Drottninggatan handing out information to disappointed shoppers, inviting them to come back another day. Chief Executive Åke Hellqvist wasn’t so optimistic, though.

“This was one of the busiest days of the year, and in the retail game lost income is lost income,” he fumed. “I’m ready for a fight with the property company and the electricity company. Someone’s going to hang for this.”

Steady on, Åke.

In fact, Debenhams was just one of many large companies affected by the failure. The manager of a Hennes & Mauritz store which was forced to close simply pointed customers to the dozen or so H&M shops a handbag’s throw away, while Camilla Gustaffson at Intersport was left ruing her bad timing.

“We’ve lost a lot of money because of this,” she told SvD. “Especially since we had big ads in the press today.”

In Svenska Dagbladet’s second article on the incident, it became clear that the paper itself had been affected by the outage:

“Meanwhile, our reporters sat in the darkness, tearing out their hair and hoping they would have time to write tomorrow morning’s copy before their computer’s batteries ran out. A three-hour electrical failure seems much longer when there’s a deadline looming.”

But “everyone pulled together” and editor Lena Samuelsson was proud of her troops.

“We don’t think the outage will be noticeable to our readers,” she said.

Not unless they read the two articles on the subject.

Journalists with fading laptops may grumble but commuters in the west of Sweden had it far worse when another – unrelated – electrical failure brought four local trains and an intercity express to a standstill on Friday evening.

600 passengers were stuck between Kungsbacka and Halmstad for over two hours while the train company SJ tried to find some buses to take them back to civilisation.

Luckily, Aftonbladet had a “source” on the train, Jenny Ekekrantz, who was able to give a minute-by-minute account of the incident.

“There’s a bit of irritation in the air,” she reported. “Many people haven’t eaten for a while and there’s no restaurant on the train. There are better places to be on a Friday evening.”