Y2K Already Causing Big Problems For Some

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Y2K - Already Causing Big Problems For Some

By Cassandra Burrell Associated Press Writer 2-10-99 WASHINGTON (AP) _ Never mind that the year 2000 hasn't arrived yet. It turned businessman Mark Yarsike's first day as a gourmet produce grocer into a nightmare. After opening Produce Palace in the suburban Detroit to the public, Yarsike and his partner were thrilled to see customers stream in and pick out purchases. But things quickly turned sour when store clerks tried to ring up purchases on the store's sparkling new $100,000 high-tech computer system. It crashed after clerks tried to process credit cards set to expire in 2000. ``The entire computer system crashed. Lines were 10 to 20 people deep,'' he told the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. ``People were waiting with full carts of groceries to pay but couldn't. We could not process a single credit card or could not take cash or checks. We could not make one sale.'' Yarsike asked the committee to reject a bill that would limit the amount of court damages plaintiffs like him can collect from companies that cause business failures or sell products that fail because of the Year 2000 computer problem, also known as the Y2K glitch. Under the bill, introduced by committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., no punitive damages would be awarded except in cases of extreme negligence. Damages not related to economic loss would be limited to $250,000 or three times the amount of economic loss. Noneconomic damages for smaller businesses would be limited to $50,000. The bill also would require plaintiffs to give defendants a chance to correct their mistakes before a lawsuit is filed. Several other members of Congress are working on their own bills and a coalition of business leaders has proposed another plan. McCain, who has called his bill a ``work in progress'' and open to changes, assured Yarsike that it is designed to discourage frivolous lawsuits and greedy lawyers. It would not protect businesses from the cost of correcting their mistakes and repairing equipment, he said. Businesses that make a good-faith effort to prepare for the year 2000 or fix their mistakes should not be punished for their efforts with high punitive damage awards, McCain said. Computer programmers inside and outside government are scrambling to avert disasters expected when New Year's Day 2000 arrives. That's when computer systems performing calculations involving dates may begin generating incorrect data because they recognize only the last two digits of a year and will assume that 2000 is 1900. Some experts have said the Y2K computer glitch could spark such problems as power outages, traffic snarls, paycheck delays and disruption of air travel. It also is expected to trigger a flood of expensive lawsuits, and many of them are likely to be filed by unscrupulous attorneys, McCain said. ``These lawsuits are sheer craziness and represent ambulance-chasing at its worst,'' McCain said. ``They are absolute confirmation that Y2K litigation is not about consumers, but about making wealthy lawyers even wealthier.'' Yarsike said that if such a law been in place during the 2 years he struggled with almost daily computer crashes, the company that sold him the system would never have settled out of court. To this day, Yarsike wonders whether the customers who stalked out of his store in 1995 ever bothered to give him a second chance. ``People began drifting out, leaving full carts of groceries behind,'' Yarsike said. ``As my partner and I darted around the store trying to calm people, we heard constant comments like, `I'll never come back here.' ... People walked out in droves.'' ``I should have bought the $500 registers my parents used when they arrived from Poland,'' he told the committee. ``At least those worked.''

-- a (a@a.a), February 10, 1999


Things like this grocery story bug me. Have people forgotten how to use a calculator? A prepared manager could have tried to keep the line moving, and accept a typo or 2. Maybe this will be their Y2K plan. I'm more worried about little things, like the power grid, refineries, etc. I'm praying Ma & Pa type thinks will be OK, and I don't pray. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 10, 1999.

The more I think about this, the more it bugs me. A grocery store will be easy in 2000. I can see the flame now, what about the inventory? What about the tax? Inventory, ease. Look at what's left, hitch up the horse, and bring cash to the warehouse. Tax? For every $100 you have, throw 4 in a bucket, even if the rate is 6%. If the state doesn't like it, tell them to audit you. Any questions?

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 10, 1999.

Sysman, have you ever managed or owned a grocery?

-- No Spam Please (anon@ymous.com), February 10, 1999.

Not a chance I'd accept a single credit card without verification. Losses would not be covered. Trying to get phone approval is a nightmare. The same thing foe checks.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), February 10, 1999.

Wanted horse farm

-- wiseguy (got@it.gov), February 10, 1999.

Guys, anybody get my point? Yes, worked as a bag boy for six months when I was 14? Credit card? Check? If I'm busy hitching up my horse, and counting the cash I'll need, do you think I'm interested In your plastic? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 10, 1999.

PS - If you're an old lady that's been coming to my grocery store for a while, I'ld probaly give you the damned food, considering where I think we may end up. How many managers would do that? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 10, 1999.

Forget it. Forget my attempt at homor. I'm going to start my idea in a serious thread!!! <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 11, 1999.

It's also hard to ring up merchandise using a calculator, when in most stores, there is no price on the product, only the infamous barcode. :)

Now, if they were smart, they could keep several copies of the master price list handy, and work it that way, but it's still grossly insufficient.

-- Bill (billclo@hotmail.com), February 11, 1999.

"Keep several copies of the inventory handy" LLLOOOLLL!!!!!!!!!

Have you ANY IDEA HOW REDICULOUS this thought is??????? Look up every one of the 50 items in my cart in a 300 PAGE INVENTORY LIST!?!?!?!?!?

Calculators DO NOT work where the prices are on the shelves and not on the produce, except at Aldi's where the tellers Do know the prices, or so I'm told.

CLEARLY, you have never managed a retail operation larger than a lemonade stand.

Chuck whose resume includes a 12,000 ft sq Camping store, grossing $2KK per year (Yes $2,000,000)

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 11, 1999.

Hurricane Fran aftermath - grocery store - no power. Store personnel led small groups of customers around with flashlights and marked prices on goods with a Magic Marker (from the price labels on the shelves). Someone who knew pretty much how to add and give change took the money and some battery-powered calculators were in use. Perishables were given away outside the store (it was hot weather).

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 11, 1999.

Now calm down, Chuck, he SAID it would be grossly inefficient. My cousin runs a modest grocery, and during a prolonged power outage last winter they DID use such an inventory/price list and calculators. Things took longer, for sure, but everybody eventually got want they wanted. We're gonna have to improvise in Y2K, and that means doing the best we can under the circumstances.

I could say more, but I'm holding my tongue (fingers).

-- Iamso (tired@of.flames), February 11, 1999.


earlier thread on Y2K status of retail computer systems and cash registers

-- Lewis (aslanshow@yahoo.com), February 11, 1999.

How will stores operate? No one mentioned this but -- It DEPENDS on the NEIGHBORHOOD. Some folks simply are not programmed to stand in line. Why should they, when they can just as easily smash a store window & leave w/ whatever they want. Remember LA after the King verdict? Remember "Do the Right Thing"? Shop owners had better have shotguns & lots of ammo.

-- hoping to be (ina@safe.place), February 11, 1999.

Thanks for the feedbak folks. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), February 11, 1999.


-- wiseguy (got@it.org), February 11, 1999.

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