What is your Y2K barometer now?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Y2K barometers are those things which we are keeping track of to gauge awareness of Y2K, as well as other related things. Since I first talked about Y2K barometers about two months ago, many changes have taken place - not the least of which is the steady growth in awareness, media attention, and the fact that we are now in 1999. This prompts me to once again ask what you are watching.

Probably one of the most widely anticipated barometers are all of those companies that kept telling us they would be ready for testing after the 12/31/1998 deadline. We also have the government deadline coming in March. Koskinen, the Y2K czar, has repeatedly stated that he should have a much clearer idea and some "hard data" to base his opinions on "early in 1999". There is also just good ol' gut feel as a barometer, as well as some recent public polls, and the letters/correspondences in the mail that we get that mention Y2K in some way.

For those of you who found this worthwhile last time, as well as some of you newbies, the question is: What is your Y2K barometer now?

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), January 02, 1999


We are working hard on this issue. We are confident that OUR systems will be OK. Our concerns lie with our vendors. We have been working closely with them to insure compliance but can make no guarantees in this area. While we may have "minor" glitches these should be cleared up in a matter of a week to ten days. You might want to store some extra food and have a little cash just in case.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" Wizard of Oz...................................

-- CP (Spoonman@prodigy.net), January 02, 1999.

For me, Rob, it is my own research, mainly on the internet. I highly recommened lurking/participating in csy2k, and generally checking out at random the other y2k sites and forums.

If you want to stay ahead of the game I believe it is vitally important that one takes a global, macro-economic view of this systemic y2k fiasco, and factor in all those intangibles that will add to the whole sorry mess - politics, starvation, the third world, militarism, crime rates, trade etc. etc.

I really believe that not enough Americans have travelled, that one of the worst traits of most Americans is their strict focus on what is happening solely in their own home town/state. To understand the extent of the y2k problem you have to think globally.

Say for example that the USA muddies through, with a 15% drop in GDP, the DOW dropping 3,000, a few million jobs lost. What then if the rest of the world is in total chaos... Where do we get our oil, who do we sell our Macs and Saturns too, where do we get our normal imports, how do we export to bankrupt nations (Japan, anyone?). You get my point.

I do not trust the mainstream media, including TV, to tell the truth. They never have and they never will. Some radio shows are excellent, however I do believe some have crossed the line into active disinformation on certain subjects.

For me it's getting to the point where I feel that I'm in a slow motion car wreck, and that I can see the various collisions and that huge semi jack-knifing towards me, powerless to do much about anything other than tighten my seat belt and try and steer or brake or accelerate my way out of trouble. This is what I'll be doing next year - watching what happens and reacting as best as I can in the limited time that will be available...

Beam me up Scotty.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 02, 1999.

A certain female in law.

She brings to life that old "what ain't hair is air" saying.

When she says "huh?" I am out of here.


-- sweetolebob (La) (buffgun@hotmail.com), January 02, 1999.

Events in April.

Small business reaction to January events. Residential actions and re- actions at the local supermarkets and Wal-Marts.

Companies claiming verified compliance, their level of openness and those corporations and utilities who remain silent.

Generally "what" and "who" the newsmedia focuses their reports on. If I see a growing personal and community preparation trend locally and in the newsmedia between now and April, I'll breathe easier. If not, on to plan B.

The government. Look at what they say publicly, and what their www.info.gov documents and memos say privately. Info snippets, bits and clues. Puzzles to bigger pictures.

Should be interesting. Hopefully informative for those who read between the lines.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 02, 1999.

At the risk of appearing maudlin this song pretty much sums up my barometric pressure at the moment. Sounds of Silence Paul Simon

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Thanks to Ed for the electronic subway walls and tenement halls. MoVe Immediate

-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), January 02, 1999.

I don't trust big corporations to tell the truth to the public about where they are truly at in being Y2K compliant. They don't want to run the risk of their investors pulling their money out of their stocks. There's a lot of us out here who have a gut feeling that things will start to snowball and it will be quickly. It will be too late for many and a sobering experience for those of us who had the guts to take on the bull when everyone said that Y2K was a bunch of bull. I don't see anywhere in my community where citizens are banding together to prepare for Y2K. By nature you have the DGIs, DWTGIs, and the DRC (don't really care). I live in the country and the neighbors aren't that close. Only 1 neighbor has approached me about Y2K, and with the holidays out of the way, we can work together and come up with a game plan. But the other neighbors are busy having babies, golfing and don't have a care in the world. After all, they are far more educated than me, so they should be smart enough to see the hand writing on the wall. So my barometer says I am ready but for others that I know, they are doomed.

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), January 02, 1999.


Good topic to bring up again. I have a few barometers. One is the IRS. Does anybody remember that the IRS promised compliance by January 1, 1999? See this link:


Are they?

Another barometer is what happens on the first business day of 1999-- Monday, January 4th--two days from now. Will we hear a lot about accounting software failures? I'm watching the news on areas where there is a good chance of failures, such as the city of Washington D.C., Denver, Alabama, France and Germany.

I also use Excite's news search to check for articles on CIO and CEO resignations. I have the following link bookmarked, and click it on everyday to check resignation news:

http://search.excite.com/search.gw?collection=timely&lk=excite&search= CIO+resign*+CEO+-AFL

The above link is how I found out about that last big resignation at EDS. When panic is about to hit, I figure CIOs and CEOs will start resigning, then the stock market will crash when the market "gets it," and then after the crash is when the public rush to buy preparation items will begin.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), January 02, 1999.

Well, the bags of dried beans at the local Food Lion looked rather depleted yesterday... They're usually very well stocked.

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 02, 1999.

I agree with those that have posted about taking whatever the government says with a grain of salt, and Diane's observations about "reading between the lines" - Seems we get a lot of Y2K info this way. (Last year I feel like I lived my life between the lines.)

Regarding early January software failures, I remind you of the debut for the Euro, and the issues raised on the "Euro and Y2K thread" of two weeks ago or so... Not sure how (if) we will be able to separate the failures, assuming there are simlutaneous failures related to both Y2K and the Euro. Australia gets first crack at the Euro trading tomorrow, stay tuned.

Kevin: Thanks for the reminder about the CEO's and CIO's resignation barameter... I had forgotten about that one. Ed mentioned on the Art Bell broadcast something about company Directors and Officers bailing out, I think in the context of liability and litigation, so this will be an especailly interesting barometer to watch. Rats on a sinking ship?

Lots of good barometers, keep 'em coming.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), January 02, 1999.

CNN Today [Yesterday's news -- Maybe advertising is also an indicator?!!! -- Diane] Bankers Putting in More Than Bankers' Hours to Combat Y2K Crisis Aired January 1, 1999 - 4:12 p.m. ET

http:// cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/9901/01/tod.13.html

...LOCKRIDGE (on camera): Including this full-page ad in "USA Today" by the American Bankers Association, which says: "Your bank is working now to keep your money safe tomorrow."

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 02, 1999.

"Your bank is working now to keep your money safe tomorrow."

Thanks D, gotta laugh.

Safe for who?

The Banks......... duh!

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 03, 1999.

Here's a new barometer -- or it could just be coincidence.

Yesterday, I received about three-fifths of a 20-dollar bill from my regular ATM. This is the first time I have ever received seriously damaged currency from an ATM. And the ATM didn't damage it -- it was already missing a big chunk before it was dispensed.

Watch the "quality" of the currency supply. If you start getting more and more damaged bills that normally would have quickly been pulled from circulation, something may be in the offing, currency-wise. I'll bet a damaged $20 that banks are being told to extend the circulation life for all but the most unusable bills in order to alleviate any potential cash shortage.

-- Nathan (nospam@all.com), January 03, 1999.

Other possible indicators?

I was out shopping yesterday. My usual weekend trip. As long as I was in town, I decided to stop by department stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Radio Shack and a couple of others. Noted obvservations:

* All department stores were sold out of oil lamps. Totally.

* Large plastic containers (toybox size and smaller) were 95-98% sold out at the larger stores and were selling at a rapid pace as I stood and watched. Comments overheard pertained mostly to customers' concerns over the containers being "rodent proof". One lady mentioned something about needing several +large+ plastic containers for "Christmas decorations" .. alluding to her old one being made of wood and smelling "rather musty". Most simply grabbed several boxes and were off rather hastily.

* The bleach section at Wal-Mart was 99% bare yet bleach wasn't (and hadn't been) on sale.

* 12 volt DC compressors were sold out at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. (Forgot to check on these while I was in the other stores.)

* Canned meats were sold out at K-Mart and nearly so at Wal-Mart.

* A Radio Shack store manager (5 years in that position) mentioned that unlike previous years, sales of alkaline batteries had not slacked off after Christmas .. and sales of rechargeable batteries were actually moving =up= instead of down as had happened in previous years after the Christmas buying rush was over ...

* While standing in Wal-Mart, one couple looking at the large plastic bags was heard to say something to each other about the bags being large enough to hold "the sleeping bags" and other things. Sleeping bags?? I'm in the upper midwest in the middle of a massive snowstorm. Camping isn't likely to be on the minds of folks around here at the moment...

.. now then .. given that I've never previously paid attention to these items as "barometers" .. the situations may all be typical for the period after Christmas .. perhaps the nasty weather has delayed shipments? ... and then again...

-- Dan (DanTCC@Yahoo.com), January 03, 1999.

Unfortunately, out here in the East, I've seen no real signs that people are preparing. Since I don't have a local Sam's, etc, I can't comment there, but the grocery stores seem well stocked, and havent' seen any shortages of "camping/survival" gear. Uh oh.

-- Bill (billclo@hotmail.com), January 03, 1999.

We have a candelier lantern (it's a great thing -- uses 3 candles and you can boil a small pan of water on top of it). Two local camping stores (Hudson Trail Outfitters and REI) which usually have refill candles were completely out of them! These are stores which usually have this well in stock. In addition, REI's supply of camping food was seriously depleted. So was its stock of batteries, camp stoves, and solar showers. Sounds like some people in this area are beginning to take this seriously. Also found that places like Walmart and Hechinger's (hardware store) were completely out of oil lamps and lamp oil....

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 03, 1999.

Several week ago (before ice storms) we had to go to about 5 different stores before we could find the ultra pure lamp oil we were looking for. It was sold out about everywhere we went. Finally found about 8 gallons and bought it all!

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), January 03, 1999.

I am in the same position as Bardou. I am gaging my barameter by what I am seeing in the stores. I have always contended the Panic will be worse then the Problem. I have been watching oil lamps at Wal Mart and Dollar Store. They keep selling out, more brought in. This will end. I questioned the local Save A Lot cashier about canned goods. She did not know anything about Y2k but said that in preivous years they only had one delivery truck per week, now it is up to two and sometimes three. Mostly canned goods. I asked the same question at a local Kroger, same answer. They were seeing at lot of sales in canned goods. This was about two months ago even before the CNN Y2k Blitz. Got a call last night from DGI who wanted to know about our generator. A brother, another DGI, called to read me Y2k messages from his bank. He is now a GI and preparing. My barameter says 7-8. I expect a government voucher system limiting food purchases and martial law by July.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), January 03, 1999.

In 1973 or 1974 the goverment printed up gas booklets with stamps for gas to limit gas sales.This will happen again.

-- Bubba (Badhabbit@water.com), January 03, 1999.

Diane: advertising as an indicator seems valid to me, along with anything else that can help us gauge awareness or even lack of awareness, which has importance too.

Nathan Your are right about old currency being retained by the Treasury instead of it being retired. I have seen several references to this in articles/posts discussing the printing of the "extra" $50 Billion in cash.

Dan: Where do you live (section of the country), sounds like you have lots of folks making preparations. I liked the remarks from the Radio Shack manager too.

Bill wrote "Unfortunately, out here in the East, I've seen no real signs that people are preparing."

I am in the Northeast Bill, and so far have not seen any real signs of this either.

Libby: I also have a candelier lantern and some extra replacement candles. The last time I went to the local camping store they had a good supply, but that was a month ago. Now I am wondering if when I go next, there will be any or not. Thanks for the heads-up.

Dinty : You are going to make it Dinty - you have persistence! BTW, the canned stew in you namesake is the best I have found so far.

Linda A. wrote "I have always contended the Panic will be worse then the Problem. I expect a government voucher system limiting food purchases and martial law by July."

Linda: Consider that the panic may even be the problem, if it gets here before Y2K does. Regarding what the government will or will not do, I do not rule anything out. One point though Is the distinction between their intent and their actual capability to act, since I am assuming they will be impacted also, and do not have a secret compliant infrastructure to rely on to carry out Whatever they think they are going to do, but this is an assumption on my part. Like I said, I don't rule anything out.

Bubba: gas stamps in 1973-1974? I remember the crisis well - long lines at dawn, limit of $5 per car, Violence in the lines, odd/even system for rationing gas, etc., - but I don't recall anything about Stamp booklets - maybe that was a regional/local thing?

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), January 03, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ