Utility Outage: Cash still works during a power outage, or if communication lines go down. Two days after the Derecho storm of June 2012, the mystique of canned soup wore off around my house, and the kids were begging for pizza. I ventured out to find that power had been restored to some neighborhood businesses. The nearest pizza place was a frenzy of industry, as others had the same idea about fresh food. I placed my order and whipped out a debit card to pay. Then the clerk got a strange look on her face. "The phone lines are down sir," she said. "I can't take your card." Unfortunately, I didn't have enough cash, and returned home empty handed to some angry children.