How many are preparing? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Reportedly, Ed made an estimate that by the end of 1998, as many as 2.5 million people would be making serious fallback plans. This estimate may have been based on the assumption that there would be repeated hammering by the media. Nobody figured on Ms. Lewinsky and the other 'major stories'. Well, it's 11/1998. Y2Kis still on the outer fringe of J.Q. Public's radar scope... if even there at all. My guess is that due to the low media coverage and other factors, that well under 2.5 million are currently taking action. Does anyone have any data indicating how many actually are making serious fallback plans?

-- R. Michaels (, November 11, 1998


The last number I recall seeing was 100,000 in the US with that figure doubling every 2 months. But I don't recall the source of this information - can somebody help me out?

-- Arnie Rimmer (, November 11, 1998.

Thanks Arnie. At least it gives us an idea. The reason I asked the question was that the answer has a direct correlation to how much longer we who 'get it' have to prepare in relative calm. Many guess Jan 1999 or 4/1/1999, but who knows.

-- R. Michaels (, November 11, 1998.

How many are preparing? Tough to call in pure numbers. I look at other indicators. Waltons is backlogged four months on its food orders, according to that recent wire service story, and China Deisel has its factories working straight-out to meet the demand for gensets. Used generators are in short supply here in Maine, and they were a glut on the market only this spring. In the past six days, both of my brothers and my brother-in-law have asked me for y2k information out of a clear blue sky. One is building a food storage pantry into his house. The other who lives on a small farm has raised a few pigs each summer and sold sides to family and friends. He has already been approached about growing out feeder pigs next summer by people who are concerned about y2k. Maybe I'm reading too much into a seasonal sale, but my local supermarket had a two for one sale on five-pound bags of flour and couldn't keep the shelves stocked. The word is getting out, and people are getting worried.

-- J.D. Clark (, November 11, 1998.

Less and less people look at me like I'm crazy when I talk about Y2K. I had a very good conversation with two of my co-workers yesterday. People are starting to "get it." It won't be long before all hell breaks loose.

-- Buddy (DC) (, November 11, 1998.

I would guess that less than 1 percent of our US population are engaged in any meaningful preparation. I would guess that 10 percent plan some preparation sometime next year. I would guess that no matter how "ugly" it gets next year 50 percent will do nothing. I'm sure we will see some polling very soon!

-- red (, November 11, 1998.

Just today I was hanging out at my friends retail store and somehow Y2K seemed to be the prevailing talk. I was up there for a few hours (hiding from an article I was supposed to be writing...if you are no where near what you type on, it can't get you I have discovered;). Anyway, we both had some very deep conversations about Y2K with a few of his customers, and one even said he has lurked here and was suprised when he saw me on here (Hi Brian!).

I was rather shocked by how often it came up. Of those we talked to, one is buying around 3 months worth of food, another was going to "pull all (his) money out next December" (we told him why it was unwise to wait that long and another was in the TEOTWAWKI stage. The guy who manages his store is aware, but in total denial "So? The power will be out for awhile..what's the big deal". So no preperations there.

All in all I thought an interesting day.


-- Rick Tansun (, November 11, 1998.

So far in my neck of the woods, my family and one set of friends are the only ones preparing or even talking about preparing.

I know lots and lots of people mayby 300 or so.

based on my circle about 2% are actually doing anything.

and another thing, I never hear mentioned in the controlled media that Y2K will impact 1999 economics. Surely we as a people are not that stupid, or are we one brick shy?



Peter de Jager made two comments in one of his speeches on Y2K that explain why Y2K isn't factored into 1999 economic forecasts. (Both are approximate quotes):

1. "We're about to reach the first turn in the Information Super Highway, and they forgot to install the steering wheel."

2. "They talk about how fast the car goes and how far it will go. What they never took into account was that the wheels would fall off."

-- Kevin (, November 11, 1998.

My mom was Christmas shopping this weekend, and her card would not scan. The manager had to call it in. He said he was sorry for the delay, maybe it was because the card expired in 2000. Mom remarked that she was concerned about Y2K, the manager of the store said he was too.

The snowball is still small, but it's rolling. I know of a few people in my 'real' world that take this seriously, not as many as I would expect. The number of aware is growing, but I have no idea how it would be possible to count them. The fact that one is viewed as 'worry wart' for being concerned has kept a lot of folks quiet about what they are really doing.

-- Uncle Deedah (, November 11, 1998.

Sounds like Deedah's prepared, only needs to batten down the hatches of the "kompound" then just pick off unwelcome "visitors". No-one gets past Mrs Deedah.

-- Richard Dale (, November 12, 1998.

SInce there are about 269 million Americans, 1% or 2% would mean up to about 5.5 million preparing. This sounds really high to me. There are longer wait times (Walton, China D., etc), and when I bring up the subject, less people look at me like I'm crazy too. Word is getting out for sure. Let's all keep our eyes open for some hard data. Perhaps just keeping a watch on wait times for supplies will be enough of an indication. The problem with this is that most of these companies (food storage, Lehman's) have a small base of cliets hitorically and once the saturation point is reached, we will need another barometer. What else can we watch as an indicator? Do we need to wait for Ed's potential 'tangible event'? I think not... all that will do is tell us our time for meaningful preparation is finally up.

-- R, Michaels (, November 12, 1998.

The smart ones are not making their preparations known. I have gone into this mode (except for a few friends and family) Gone is my y2k screen saver at work (although my four co-workers know I'm preparing) I will share information, but I don't preach anymore. I think a great many people will begain to prepare soon, but won't admit it due to their egos being hurt by the pollyannas.

-- Bill (, November 12, 1998.

Well, we see things about the same Bill. I also stopped trying to prod people who just won't listen and have a sense of fear concerning letting folks (outside family and very close friends) know details about my preparations. Still, I keep picturing that one day my phone will be ringing off the hook (all the DGI's) who laughed at me/called me nuts and suddenly are in a full Y2K irrational personal panic. Nobody likes too be laughed at and humiliated, but sometimes that's a small price to pay if you can make a difference in someone's life. When they eventually do get it, I'll try to help. My point is, they are going to remember. I guess the Really Smart Ones never told anybody. They won't be making these phone calls, and they won't be getting them either.


-- R. Michaels (, November 12, 1998.

Bill has the best idea, avoid ridicule now or in 2000 if nothing happens, but prepared if it does. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

-- Richard Dale (, November 12, 1998.

This won't answer your question as far as the U.S. is concerned, but I read an article from a Canadian paper yesterday. It was the Montreal Gazette. The author, Elizabeth Bromstein, conducted an e-mail poll(and don't we just love all these polls)on y2k. Basically, it went like this: 9% think it is a load of crap, 49% think it might be a real danger, 40% say it is their main paranoia. However, 44% will change NOTHING about their lives, 49% will do some preparations like store food or buy a generator, 6% will head for woods and set up for disaster. It sounds like the Canadians are more aware than people are here. From my experience, I don't see 49% of the population preparing-unless they are doing it privately. Now who would do such a thing?!?!?!?!?!?

-- madeline (, November 12, 1998.

I don't see anywhere near 49% doing things either. Your right about our northern neighbors being more aware. Certainly, articles in the Canadian mainstream press have helped... like the recent one in Globe and Mail that revealed Operation Abacus - basically open plans for martial law - that would even wake up some folks here. Same goes for our friends across the pond. They are having one hour specials on the tele and the press is wide awake from what I've heard. I think that there was also a report that was leaked out about Scotish/British martial law-type plans earlier this week. Anyway, most people won't prepare. It takes thought (how painful), money, time, and preparation is hard work. That leaves out most folks i guess. Still, thanks for the numbers madeline.

-- R. Michaels (, November 12, 1998.

How many?

Not nearly enough.

I wish it were a LOT more.


-- sweetolebob (, November 13, 1998.

I went to a small local store for an article I needed to get quickly on the way to work. I happened to notice that the Dinty Moore Beef stew was on sale...and almost gone! Tons of other generic kinds sitting around. Then I walked back by the Deli and they had a grocery cart with empty food storage buckets in it for the people to use. Very Interesting. Some local person has got the picture big time. DAC

-- deborah cunningham (, November 13, 1998.

Deborah: Multiply that by just 1% of americans (2.7 milllion) and you will not even find the generic brands once people start getting it. FWIW, I've tried both and Dinty is much better with actual chunks of lean beef compared to the generics that only have very small fragments. Costco sells them in packages of 4.

I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that anywhere near this number of people are preparing. Keep your eyes and ears open. Many Y2K aware folks have been noticing the increases in waiting time for everything from food to survival equipment. They are not going to get shorter either. Perhaps this small grocery store can be one of your own personal Y2K awareness barometers.


-- Robert Michaels (, November 13, 1998.

>The problem with this is that most of these companies (food storage, >Lehman's) have a small base of cliets hitorically and once the >saturation point is reached, we will need another barometer. What >else can we watch as an indicator?

I've decided that the supply of dry beans in the local supermarket is the best barometer. They aren't used much anymore, and they get little shelf space, and the shelves are always full. They're perfect for storage and they'll be gone once 2% of us are preparing.

-- Ned (, November 13, 1998.

Robert, Thanks for the great idea!!! I hadn't thought of using the place as a barometer. I agree the Dinty Moore is much better than the cheaper brands. I would rather spend the extra money and have real meat chunks...but if I were really hungry???? Dog food would do!!!:>

-- deborah cunningham (, November 13, 1998.

Ned: The supply of dry beans in the local supermarket... I like it. I don't think I'll ever look at dry beans or those sacks of rice the same way again.

In this current vacuum of Y2K knowledge, the more barometers we have the better. This assumes that there will be an increasing and somewhat steady pace to the growth in awareness rather than some gigantic Y2K wake up call. (Ed refers to this as a 'tabgible event' that could be the trigger for a panic.) Once lots of folks start doing things it's over. No barometers will be needed. Until then, let's keep watching our barometers. BTW, I keep tabs on food storage delivery times, anything in the local or national press, on the net, Lehman's delivery times and especially what is backordered, and the number of folks that I speak with who don't think I'm nuts.

-- Robert Michaels (, November 13, 1998.

So's I guess youse guys invented the Robert Micheals Bean & Rice Barometer.....BMBRM? or RMBRM?

...sounds like a old car needing a muffler. Then again, since we're measuring beans....

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 13, 1998.

RAC: I've always wanted a patent...All seriousness aside, you've had some great posts on this forum. ( I have a strange sense of humor... sorry) How are you gauging the increase in awareness, assuming you think it's worthwhile to do so?

-- Robert MIchaels (, November 13, 1998.

I live outside a small town of about 5600 & I know that there are quite alot of folks that are preparing. Also one of the churches here is very active in preparing their folks & also preparing a church pantry. Last week the grocery store had a sale on 1 gallon jugs of water & when I got there there was none left. Right now might not be a very good time to gauge because there are alot of people that are buying supplies to send to those poor people in South America, so that may be where some of those jugs of water went. It's still on sale this week, so guess where some of it went!!! :o)

I'm finding that alot of people that I run into, if the subject of y2k comes up, have heard about it & a)their not worried because "they" will get it fixed in time, technology has come so far you know b) they don't feel that sense of urgency, they think they have plenty of time, c)it's just all a big joke. Had a store clerk tell me the other day that we didn't need to worry because it was just a problem that the big mainframes where gonna have!!!! So many just don't understand & are willing to "let someone else" worry about it. I think several here refer to them as "sheeples". I too have started to not be quite so forthcoming about all my preparations.

Have a good evening all.

-- Donna in Texas (, November 13, 1998.

Donna: Being a home owner I am always going to Home Depot. You know it's bad when some of the employees use your first name... anyway, a few weeks ago I got the same story about South America and how the manufacturers were distributing directly to them. Before that it was Puerto Rico. Not a generator in the store (or any of the chain) in the state! A worker at Costco said they sold 26 generators in 1 day (South America again).

As far as reactions, the ones you are getting are some of the most popular/common. You are not alone. There has been a slowly increasing and steady rise in awareness though. There is hope yet for many, assuming people get it before there is a panic. After that: Game Over.

-- Robert Michaels (, November 14, 1998.

Here's a Y2k barometer you may bookmark, complete with explanation:

Y2k Danger Index

-- Nathan (, November 16, 1998.

The only real feed back I am getting is that 90 - 100% of the people I talk to (in the age group 35 - 50 yrs) and who have heard something about y2k, plan to remove all their money from the bank just prior to the end of the 1999. (This represents about 20 people over the past 6 months.) This alone should be interesting!

-- johan (, November 16, 1998.

Nathan: Thanks for the excellent link. I posted comments about it on the barameter thread.

Johan: 90%? You must talk with a lot of get its! I've seen links showing 40% - 60% based on polls. None of this matters after the first 6%, since after that many folks get what belongs to them there won't be any physical left. Panic runs like the wind. Always has, always will.

-- Robert Michaels (, November 16, 1998.

Hello from outside Toronto. Most of my friends are not concerned and are not planning anything. My assessment is that most Canadians are doing very little. Mainstream media carries very little info. Am currently quietly gathering supplies for at least a month, it is cold here in January!

-- Bruce Winter (, November 17, 1998.

Here in B'ham, AL it seems like everybody is getting ready. We are having conferences at the Civic Center (VERY well-attended), y2k preparedness meetings, informational meetings; the local bottling company has started only selling water barrels one day a week because it was beginning to disrupt normal business operations, (and they are all gone by 9:00 a.m.). I get two or three calls every week from people asking me preparedness-type questions. It's on a certain radio station almost daily and we have y2k media reports fairly frequently. I don't know how many of these people that KNOW about y2k are actually preparing, but I think a sizeable amount.

-- T. Hudson (, November 17, 1998.

Bruce: I'm surprised to see what you wrote in one respect... that Globe and Mail article was one of the biggest Y2K stories to hit recently IMHO....It was about the Canadian Military and Y2K preparations... Is Globe and Mail mainstream? I though it was.

T. Hudson: Good post. You folks are light years ahead of my area.

-- Robert Michaels (, November 17, 1998.

Globe and Mail is a national paper and the same story was repeated throughout the country...but it still won't wake up many. This is still too unbelievable - this whole concept that 2 digits on a computer could lead to people dying. It is too great a leap for some folks, and there will have to be lots more scary information which will hit home personally before many will do anything to change their lifestyles. Leonids was supposed to be a big deal - now people will say "what was all the fuss about". They are saying the same thing about Y2k - "they will fix it - what is all the bother?"

-- Laurane (, November 18, 1998.

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