I unplugged it and let it sit for a while. Then plugged it in. It drew 4.9a for a second and dropped to 1.2a; about what I expected. Just to be sure, I unplugged it and plugged it back in. It spiked at 19a, then dropped to 4.9a for a second and rand at 1.2a. The 19a spike alarmed me, especially after I recalled that air conditioners have a built in delay to prevent them from being damaged when turned off and then on immediately. I waited a couple hours and then tested it again, more carefully. It was like the first time, no spike.
It seems to be running normally. What was the spike about? Why are A/C damaged by being turned off and on? Is this anything to be concerned about? We have a few second or two outages every year; if they are going to damage the freezer I ought to pick up the extended warranty before it is too late.