Rethinking the start of the panic : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We've all been wondering what straw will break the camel's back on y2k panic of Joe Q. Public. I sat here looking at a twelve month calendar and started zooming in. I thought of how little up to now the herd seems to be moving, except for the really alert ones. I now do not think a single event will all of a sudden start the stampede. I first thought it would be the stock market or some government control issue. But I think the herd will begin moving sooner than that. Remember as with fractional reserve banking, fractional food warehousing, etc. that it only takes a small percentage of the population to over purchase or withdraw cash from the system to bring it too its knees. I see a gradual increase of (not the herd) but a significant portion of the percentage necessary to create shortages for the rest of the herd. Then the herd will go to the store and have their eyes opened gradually as supplies deplete themselves. I guess I'm saying the herd will begin walking, walking fast, jogging, jogging faster, then panic type behavior. What do you think? It's just my current scenario.

-- James Chancellor (, February 08, 1999



I'd submit that as long as the infrastructure is maintained, and as long as it is the best interests of industry and the government to do so, JIT food supplies and so on will continue to appear on the shelves...indeed we've even seen evidences on this forum of JIT software adjusting to the demands of folks who are preparing - i.e. the stores carrying more rice or whatever than they did before, and so forth.

That being the case, I would expect the panic to occur later rather than sooner.

just my 2 cents' worth, Arlin

-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 08, 1999.

It'll be seasonal. Now people are looking forward to Spring, a hopeful time. Summer is a hot and lazy time. Fall is freak-out time. To quote Gary North: "suddenly New Year's Day will look a LOT closer than it did..."

-- Runway Cat (, February 08, 1999.

I think that as long as "event expected dates" come and go and nothing happens the herd will stay calm. Some of these days were Jan. 1, the travel agent date, new fiscal year dates, etc. Since there are no Big Bangs, no one will notice. Nothing will get the attention of the people unless something dramatic happens.

Even some of the GIs will become lulled into a false sense of security .

-- Linda A. (, February 08, 1999.

I'm with Runway Cat. It is human nature to take hope with the beginning of Spring, to enjoy their time outside during the summer being on vacation from the cares of work. Then when the sun shines less and days grow shorter, people tend to grow more introspective. Unfortunately, by next Fall, not only will the days be shorter in length, but the days left to prepare will be shorter. In addition, someone made the observation on this forum a few days ago that people also rely on denial (a survival technique given by God but over-relied on by man)so much that they CANNOT entertain the thought that life may not always be rosy. "Things have gone well for so long, what can happen? There's plenty of time left to fix things. etc." In my own experience, adversity and misfortune in life, rather than being my enemy, have been my tutors; helped me question, debate and wonder whether I am being reactive or proactive. So much for philosophizing. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, February 08, 1999.

James, As I've said many times, no *anticipation* panic. Your post enabled me to see a new angle. You mention fractional reserve. that is an animal unto itself. If I am correct, most of the money on deposit (between 4 and 6 trillion dollars according to last week's Barron's listing of M3) is held by the very wealthy.

Now if I had $1,000 on deposit, I'd pull it all out tomorrow. If I had $3,000,000 on deposit, I would not pull out $3,000,000. Anyone with megabucks is going to have a healthy amount of cash in their vault or safe-deposit box and they may have some precious metal, but most of the "scared money" will go into Treasuries. But, given the wafer thin float of currency, there could still be a bank run . . .easily.

The food industry might be different. It's my belief that most Americans make $1000 and then write out checks for $1000. The distinction being that they don't have food on "demand deposit". Instead, they'll have to rearrange their priorities in order to purchase significant amounts of the food supply. I don't think the average American will drop his $30 monthly cable bill and miss his Monday Nitro Professional Wrestling simply because some news-babe said his alarm clock might not work sometime next year. Only those consumers with a significant surplus at the end of the month can consider making advance purchases. I don't see that happening. Credit cards you say? They're maxed out and even a banker couldn't be stupid enough to extend credit limits in the second half of this year to someone who is now just scraping by.

So, banks runs, maybe. Food runs, doubtful.

-- Puddintame (, February 08, 1999.

Went to Sam's club in central va., as of 1st of Jan. they had large supply of 50lb bags of rice, lots of generators, 25lb suger ect ect. Went there today, no rice, no suger , & no generators. Ask manager about "shortages", he stated "storms in Dec. have caused buyer to "OVERSTOCK" for personal use, which have caused the distribution center to be lower that usual in inventory. This particular dist. center is less than 15 miles from this store, which doesn't have anything to do with the fact, but does add to the story. He suggested thay we call for availability for "bulk" goods in two weeks. So much for just in time delivery. Maybe the herd is starting to move while they graze.


Went to Sam's club in central va., as of 1st of Jan. they had large supply of 50lb bags of rice, lots of generators, 25lb suger ect ect. Went there today, no rice, no suger , & no generators. Ask manager about "shortages", he stated "storms in Dec. have caused buyer to "OVERSTOCK" for personal use, which have caused the distribution center to be lower that usual in inventory. This particular dist. center is less than 15 miles from this store, which doesn't have anything to do with the fact, but does add to the story. He suggested thay we call for availability for "bulk" goods in two weeks. So much for just in time delivery. Maybe the herd is starting to move while they graze. I know I will.


Our Walmart can't keep lamp oil and lamps in stock. It is not a weather related thing, it's y2k. People are stocking up. Not a mad rush, but a slow steady awarness.

-- Bill (, February 08, 1999.

I don't think people are going to panic before y2k. The way this is being played out in the media at this point is what leads me to believe this.

My husband asked his brother (last week) what he was doing to prepare for y2k. He said "Nothing, I don't have a computer." Granted he's not very bright, but I think your average person would need to work relatively hard to get enough information to panic. I just don't think most will bother to look.

The stakes in this game are unimaginably high. The object is to protect the banks (& econnomy) from collapse at all costs. Money is the god, people are a mere sacrafice.

During the State of the Union Address, Klinton said y2k was "very, very serious" he also said 'Social Security has been fixed, you will get your checks'(to that effect) Well, if I was on Welfare, I'd be like, well what about MY check? I'd already be panicing. SSI? Medicare? Unemployment? etc. It was everything he didn't say. No panic. Are people brain damaged?

Many people have sighted the Chicago Tribune article (Jan 1,I believe) as being one of the most comprehensive from a major newspaper. It talked about the water supply being in jeaprody.(because of uncertainty in the power grid) Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daley says NOTHING. I searched all of his speaches on line NOTHING. It is an election year. Sheeple were not moved by that article. Chicago is DGI. Chicago may be d.o.a.

Any major media coverage (at least locally) is presented by Anchors choking back laughter. It is really so much easier to believe them. I thank God that I know from experience the way things are twisted in media. Being in the "Born Again" subculture I have seen the machine at work over and over again.( Christians are NEVER portrayed accurately, it is really disgusting, have no doubt hostile propaganda is alive and well in the good ole USA) I learned to smell a rat. Many times it is like the Klinton speech. It's all that he didn't say.

I just find it unlikely that any event prior to y2k including shutting down nuclear power plants will cause panic. The talking heads would basically need to get on T.V. and repeatedly tell everyone to hurry down and get all their money out of the bank. I really think it's gotten that bad. But they won't, they will smile and say everything is going to be all right, and aren't those survivalist whackos funny? or scarey? or evil? or whatever spin they put on it. Because after all journalists(okay not all of them) are sheeple too.

People will panic the day they are cold and hungry and sitting in the dark.

Well ya'll know what they say about opinions...


-- Deborah (2dum2panic@usa.y2k), February 08, 1999.

The panic will ensue long before the date arrives...however...when? I read all the replies...I think October is a nice month...the crash of markets generally picks that month...doesn't it? But something else is much more ominous than will be the panic mode...will it be as bad as many of you believe or fear? who knows? I do believe it will be an event that will go down in the annals of time as another man-made whooops. but I think public reaction and panic will make it worse than it will need to only has to consider how many looters there are out there....waiting for an opportunity to do their wicked thing....that part makes me think about preparing somewhat...i haven't prepared a bit yet....

-- Rick Shade (, February 08, 1999.

I think everyone so far in this thread are not considering the global scene. Consider all Klinton's 'terrorism likely in USA' talk. Now think about the middle east tension. Jordon is likely to have political stresses. Our continued bombing of Iraq keeps angering Russia and Iraq. Remember how they withdrew their ambassador in December? What if Arafat declares statehood for his folks angering Israel and triggering ABC weapons to be used. Will the US be eager to help Israel if there is some major terrorist action in the US, or a credible threat of one of those suitcase bombs missing from Russia? Can you say "state of national emergency"? Martial law? humm?

What would all this do to the economy? humm?

Food for thought? Maybe we should wrap up priority preps. by the end of March or April at the latest. My 2cents worth, and my first post, though a long time lurker. Embedhead

-- Embedhead (, February 08, 1999.


Well said, and I agree with you--the media is far from unbiased. I recently heard several "top" anchors/CNBC hotshots, etc., refer to themselves as the "elite". It would have been humorous if I hadn't been feeling a little queasy. (Okay, ALOT queasy)

I was watching some fluffy daytime show last week (very briefly, thank God)--I think it was called "Great Day America"--and one of the anchors (DAVE) was nauseating. He snickered through the entire "Y2k" segment--pathetic. As for the "technology expert" he had on with him--I'm almost at a loss for words.........oh--how about--DUH?! :)

I expect JQP will begin to panic in the fall. However, they may break for the holidays. :>) It is tragic that the ridicule so prevalent in the press will cause many who *might* have listened to ignore all warnings. Y2k and all associated with it have been labeled "silly" at best and "wacko" at worst. End of story.

-- Scarlett (, February 09, 1999.


Good point. There are a lot of screwy things, other than Y2K, that are developing. Also, the herd mentality goes the other way too. More people are getting it. Awareness will start to grow exponetially. It's bound to reach critical mass sooner or later, I'd bet it'll be sooner.

You should have seen one of my fellow employee's eyes bug out when he heard a very well dressed business man discussing marshall law at the photocopiers. He quietly watched as the man and I traded our favorite Y2K related URL's. I think he realized that Y2K wasn't just something that the wacky computer guy (me) was worried about.

Just like AIDS, people will start to see that there IS a problem when more GI's start to show up in their lives. When they head to the stores and find that they can't buy what they need... BANG

-- d (d@usedtobedgi.old), February 09, 1999.

Hi everyone, my name is kay. I am what you call a newbie and I am very concened about the year 2000 problems. Concerned enough to prepare for just about anything. Although, I'm not sure we have much to worry about as far as the panic goes. At first I did worry about getting my personal preperation done before the panic starts, but knowing what I know now about how people are reacting to info about y2k, is that they aren't reacting at all. Infact, some get angry when you even bring it up. People don't want to be bothered. It takes great discipline to spend that extra money on saving your own life instead of the self indulgent lifestyle so many live in today. It also takes alot of work to study ones individual situation, make your lists, and then to actually spend the time to get everything on that list.... Oh sure. Not the people I know. They simply aren't up to the challenge. It's easier to ignore it, it's the whole "what you don't know won't hurt you" thing. This time they may be wrong, and this time they might regret it. Oh boy, might they ever. I agree with a lot of you about the spring and summer. Spring is such a happy time, they won't let themselves think about something as awfull as the possibility of starving or freezing to death. Summer is the time to play. They will have vacations to go on (and pay for) and barbecues to have. The year 2000 will seem to far away to care. Now we come to the fall. This is the time when some will give the future some thought, although fleeting. The list that will take presidents over the y2k list is the christmas list, and not many will give up Santa to prepare for a could be problem. I do think a few more will become y2k wise as time goes on but not enough to make a panic situation. People are generally lazy and times are just to good for them to act, Even if it means saving their own lives and those of the ones they love. Sad but true. Thanks for listening, Kay

-- y2kay (, February 09, 1999.

I think if you base your theory strictly on Y2k effects, it will probably be a last minute panic. Isn't it always? If people prepared and lived their lives with real personal responsibility, there would be very little reason for panic. But they don't...and won't. I was just at my local health food store picking up a couple of sacks of wheat and lentils. I asked the owner if she has many customers buying food the way I am. I really expected her to say that it's increasing but unfortunately the answer was no, not yet. I don't like to stereotype, but if the "health food crowd" doesn't get it yet, the mainstream folks will never get it. All bets are off for a panic start date if other factors (stock market, terrorist attacks, etc) come into play any time soon. Bottom line- prepare now, don't delay.

-- rick (, February 09, 1999.

It won't start till late fall. Living in South Florida, I see it every year with hurricanes. A few people buy their batteries, water, food etc in June at the beginning of the season, but the vast majority wait until we are within 48 hours of possibly being hit before they go out and frantically make their preparations. I thought this was going to change after Andrew in '92, but even then people didn't learn

-- Online2Much (, February 09, 1999.

Embedhead --- You're quite right that there are other tinderboxes besides Y2K this year and especially the good old Middle East.

I worry that my own posts sometimes give the wrong impression: it is VITAL to have all essential personal preparations done by Mar 31. VITAL. NO EXCUSES. Take a week off from work if you need to (NEXT WEEK) and write all the checks.

With the exception of market timing (hey, it's your money), no one should bet on tranquillity this year, period.

-- BigDog (, February 09, 1999.

I used to think it would start around June or July, however I'm more and more convinced that it will be October/November before the real crisis begins. Only when the masses realize that there really isn't much time left will things really heat up. To Joe Public, who has very little understanding of software projects, 10 months is a very long period of time. Even in June, J.P. will think that 6 months is plenty of time to fix everything, and besides, surely Bill Gates will reveal his silver bullet soon hey! Come October or November, the reality will hit in my opinion.

-- Craig (, February 09, 1999.

As for 'straws', here is my list (in order from sooner to later):

1. Financial Market Panic and/or Rubin/Greenspan quitting 2. A sudden shortage of physical cash and/or precious metal coins 3. National Guard Y2K rehearsal 4. A Clinton scandal/alleged misdeed that "sticks" and forces his resignation 5. NRC-mandated nuke plant shutdowns 6. Foreign terrorist attacks here using chemical/biological weapons 7. A critical mass of workers experiencing 'fallout' from their companies' failure to meet Y2K remediation/replacement deadlines 8. The Big Straw, a State of Emergency being declared

Just my two cents...

-- Jeremiah Jetson (laterthan@uthink.y2k), February 09, 1999.

Frankly most of us are looking at the wrong group.

I'm interested in knowing when the "leaders" are going to panic, not just the general public.

Also, how we can tell when they have? What are all the "ducks" that need to lined up before they take national and international "action?"


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 09, 1999.


Good point, first i think a lot more public brainwashing from the media about how sinister the DGIS are and how they themselves will cause a crisis, will take place, after all who better else to blame. I think a stock market crash will be the catalyst. When all the people with 401ks and iras realize their life savings was not so secure after all, that in itself will be a catastrophe.

[Experts have concluded that the y2k nuts withdrawing money and buying supplies have singlehandedly caused the crash]

add some y2k and we will be rockin and a rollin

-- moose (, February 09, 1999.

Moose, Diane, everybody above - thank you for the thoughts.

Doesn't it appear that the "leaders" already have panicked? The current propaganda campaign stems from the compliant media repeating the Clinton executive department spin about GI's causing the panic - listen to their mantra:

The ONLY reason for the panic is people trying to hoard food, trying to stockpile cash - cash - cash - guns - weapons - cash - food - guns - etc. The firmer they can drive the heavily armed right-wing -fundamentalism-survivialist kook- racist- paranoid ......nutcase into the public's mind, the easiset it will be to declare "war" against them and "make the world safe for the children, less fortunate, the poor, disabled and elderly" who cannot help themselves.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 09, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ