"No need to panic...."

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Hi all! There was a column that appeared in the Houston Chronicle yesterday (mon the 14th) by Pamela Yip (Your Money). Her subject was "No need to panic as year 2000 nears". I'm afraid with articles like this people are not going to see Y2k in a serious enough light. Here is the Chronicle's website. (If you guys have trouble finding the article, I will be glad to just post it.) www.houstonchronicle.com I would just like to add my thanks to everyone for all the great information & the willingness to share.

Have a great day! Donna(on the soggy Texas gulf coast!)

-- Donna B. (Dd0143@aol.com), September 15, 1998


Since the Houston Chronicle requires registration online, I will post a portion of the article here for those who don't wish to register. I receive the paper daily. Most of the article is "Don't worry, be happy", but the last 4 paragraphs are as follows:

"Even the banks said they can't guarantee something won't go wrong.

'It's really too early for the prudent scholar or professional to make any type of prediction on what can fail and what the impact is,' said Louis Barton, vice president and program director for the Year 2000 at Frost Bank in Houston.

Banks are even preparing plans in case of a breakdown in power or telecommunications lines, said Sally Pope Davis, and analyst at investment bank Goldman Sachs in New York, which recently held a conference on the Y2K problem.

'All of the presenters at the conference emphasized that there will be some failures post Jan. 1, 2000, and (Electronic Data Systems) even applied a version of Murphy's Law: That which cannot fail, will,' Davis said in a report."

Pamela Yip, Your Money, Houston Chronicle, Monday Sept. 14, 1998

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), September 15, 1998.

And indeed, I think that the article is right, there is simply no need to panic. You still have perhaps 3-5 months to get things together in the way of cash, food storage, water storage, rural relocation, etc. No need to panic. That is for the people who have not prepared, when everyone tries to pull their money out of banks at the same time, hit the grocery stores at the same time, etc., etc. But, right now, certainly there is no need to panic.

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), September 15, 1998.

Note the key word and tricky phrase applied: scholars and professionals.

I would recomend you (the dear readers) not pay attention to any scholars on this issue: they don't know what will happen, and can't predict what will happen.

Strong language? Yes.

But a scholer (isolated in a university by definition) is not 1) coding programs to fix the problem, 2) in business being affected by it 3) have any past experiences to make a judgement from.

We (real life) are the guiena pigs here in this experiment. Listen to an IT professional (never a corporate lawyer), an CFO (never a CEO or advertising agency/business sales manager), or an engineer/repairman in your local government (never the local government manager or politician)

In my experience, only those who are either going to face the problem (the pilot), or solve the problem (the programmer) will admit the truth (and that possibly only off the record). Any other judgements are too much flavored by nonsense and the "politically corrupt" press (or are influencing the "politically corrupt" press.)

The press, by the way, is not competent to tell when they are fed garbage (this is because they have no technical knowledge of systems intefaces) and so will only repeat the blather they hear.

How to respond? You can only repeat the truth, don't exaggerate, give examples of current failures, and don't give up.

You are not responsible if others don't listen to you, or if others hear you, but decide not to prepare. You are responsible only if you don't say it the first time.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), September 15, 1998.

Gayla-thanks for taking my post a step further. I too get the paper daily but did not realize that one had to register online before reading. I'm wondering, what do you think of the statements made by Mr. Wilkins, VP & manager of the Year 2000 Program office of Chase Bank of Texas that she quotes as saying "We're not going to be losing any records. We won't lose any service at all with any of our customers." I thought that the FDIC ruled that they (the banks?)could not give out any information regarding y2k efforts. And of course what else would they say anyway?? My mortgage is thru Chase bank, and also my husband's company's 401K is with them also, (altho only until the end of the year &then we're closing it out). I'm glad he feels confident, I sure don't. I AM worried & I'm NOT happy!! :o) Donna in Texas

-- Donna B. (Dd0143@aol.com), September 15, 1998.

A comment on the title of the article more than the article itself:

When there is no problem, panic is inappropriate. When there is a problem, panic is counter-productive. Don't panic.

Please note: "Don't panic" does not mean "Don't act." The two are mutually independent.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), September 15, 1998.

Donna, since you live in the general vicinity that I do, I know you have seen the news of all of the flooding. Panic is waking up to a foot of water in your house and you DON'T have flood insurance! Being prepared IS insurance. Paul is right, don't panic doesn't mean don't prepare. I think when the "bad news" about Y2K begins to come out, it will come out in rapid-fire succession. Just look at "Zippergate." First comes the Starr report, next will be the video of Clinton's grand jury testimony, then we'll get Linda Tripps audio tapes. Blow after blow will take it's toll. (no pun intended, OK?) I think most people keep holding out hope that things somehow will get fixed with Y2K. They look for ANY good news. The good news I am happy to see are stories of REAL testing that is successful. Not testing like what Wall Street did in the summer where they basically just "tested their tests." Can't wait to see what the March tests show! When the bad news begins, and reality hits, so will the panic.

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), September 15, 1998.

Hope that I didn't give the wrong impression that I am in a state of panic. I agree with you guys 100%. I'm not in panic mode, but I do feel I have a "heightened sense of urgency",so to speak, quietly (ok,sometimes not so quietly) going about the business of trying to get my family prepared. I don't feel that there is any time to waste as some preparations take longer than others. I know that since I have started storing some food, and begun my other preparations I feel alot more confident that we'll be ready, and feel sorry for those who don't pay heed to all the good advice being provided to prepare early. Gayla, yes I do live close to the area which saw so much flooding, we ouselves had close to 12 inches of rain over those few days, and now we are being "poured" on again over the last few days. Our property looks like a lake! My heart goes out to those folks that lost everything, I don't think that's something that you can ever prepare for. Good luck to everyone Donna in Texas

-- Donna B (Dd0143@aol.com), September 15, 1998.

Panic will occur when:

Some failure or another makes the news, and prompts 10% of the American Public to go out and buy a few months worth of food, thereby emptying the shelves. Others will see the shelves emptying, and this will fuel more buying, thus a sort of 'run on the banks' for food will have been born. "Monkey see monkey do" will take on a whole new meaning, and I would expect some sort of rationing to commence at that point.

American shoppers are used to buying from a few days to 2 weeks worth of food at a time. They are used to seeing fully stocked shelves, lined with nice colorful cans and boxes. They are used to calm, almost drugged out casual shopping to the 'sounds of Muzac'. They are not used to frantic people running up and down aisles. Empty shelves will scare the hell out of anyone who did not believe in the seriousness of the situation up to that point.

Having seen first hand the sort of panic buying that a hurricane brings, I know that this situation is not only possible, but far too probable. Do not end up competing with the monkeys. Not only is it a wise move, it is the moral thing to do. The more people that are ready ahead of time, the fewer monkeys competing for what is left.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 15, 1998.

Donna, my fellow Texan, here is an article about what you were just discussing. It comes out in tomorrows Credit Union Times:


PS- ready to build an Ark?

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), September 15, 1998.

Gayla Thank you for the CU Times website...since we are members of a credit union (but not for very much longer :o)...I will return there frequently. In answer to your question, I've got my hammer & nails ready...preparedness you know! Stay dry! Donna

-- Donna B (Dd0143@aol.com), September 15, 1998.

I got to thinking that whatever happens, it will be an Adventure with a capital A... Nobody alive today has gone through a millenium year change (even if the millenium doesn't really start until 2001), so we don't really know what will happen. It's like planning for a big camping trip, except I'm staying home. I'm a chronic list maker anyway, so preparing and stocking up is just another list or two or three. Every item I get, every post I read that has some good information, every chore we get done around the house is one more thing off the list. I suspect that whatever happens, it will be pretty anti-climatic for those of us who've prepared after having given it so much thought for as long as we will have by then.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), September 16, 1998.

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