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Customers get free groceries from supermarket after registers crash

LEBANON, N.H. — A checkout nightmare turned into an unforgettable shopping experience for dozens of customers at the Hannaford supermarket in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

A technical failure helped shoppers during the lunch rush walk out of the store with cartloads of free groceries.

The store’s cash register systems started to fail around 2 p.m. Monday, store manager Shawn Quelch said.

As lines started to stretch back into aisles, Quelch said the wait to fix the issue could have been up to an hour long.

“I’m thinking, do I just leave my basket here and get back to work?” said Lebanon resident Stevens Blanchard, who stopped into the store during his lunch break.

“I see a line, a single line, at least 50 people deep,” Blanchard said.

Quelch said the store decided to let those stuck in line take their goods home free of charge.

“The last thing we wanted was for our customers to be waiting for the hour that it was going to take for that to come back up,” he said. “So we kind of made the decision to just let those folks have the groceries they had selected and be on their way.”

Quelch estimated the store gave away between $3,000 and $5,000 in goods.

“Hannaford just took the worst shopping experience I’ve ever had and made it into one of the best,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard said all of the customers seemed very grateful and he did not see anyone leaving the line to get more free items throughout store.

“Our best chance to make it right for our customer is the first chance we get and we took every opportunity to make it right for our folks,” Quelch said.

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