Are there any scenarios where you can run a flexible cord through a drop ceiling? I was told we could run a cord from a box above a ceiling, through the tile, with a cord connector on the end. This is for an appliance that is in the middle of an institutional kitchen, away from the wall, so we can't use a fixed receptacle. 400.8(2) seems to not permit this, but it also says, "Unless specifically permitted in 400.7..." which could then refer to 400.7(6)&(8). I questioned this whole thing at work (without citing the actual code, I didn't have it with me at the time) but the foreman said it was OK to do. What do you think?
Passing a cord through the ceiling tile, as you describe, is a code violation in two ways: there's a flexible cord above the grid, and the cord is passing through a partition.
That said ... I recognize that this is often done, and that circumstances often make even a ceiling box impractical. I'm not quite sure where to go with this ... maybe a proposal for the next NEC cycle - but I'm not sure how one would write it.
Drop ceilings, once the 'wunderkind' of building, are quickly becoming a major headache. Perhaps their time has passed.