Somebody Is Fibbing AGAIN About The USPS : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From CNN web site today:

"Still trying to sort out fact from fiction on the Y2K bug? There's been a lot written and spoken about what to do in case of a water shortage or a power outage, but what about something else most Americans take for granted -- what about the mail?

Six days a week, probably without giving it much thought, we depend on the U.S. Postal Service.

"What it takes to get a letter from California to Alaska for 33 cents; a lot of customers don't understand that," says post office superintendent Cathy Toomer.

In fact, the post office is the largest employer in the United States. With 40,000 post offices across the country, it has more locations than McDonald's.

Every two days, the post office moves about a billion pieces of mail. The system that keeps those cards and letters coming relies on computers. But what would happen to them -- and to the people who rely on it -- if the Postal Service's electronic systems weren't ready for Y2K?

"If the automated system was to shut down, we would spend a lot of time and money," says delivery supervisor Robin Sanders. "We would have total chaos."

Despite that ominous warning, the post office is named in many companies' and government agencies' Y2K contingency plans if their delivery services fail.

"It's everybody's backup," says Senate Y2K committee chairman Robert Bennett, R-Utah. "If the post office fails, then a lot of people are in trouble."

That's why at post office headquarters in Washington, officials started tackling Y2K back in 1993.

"We have 400 internal and 1,300 outside consultants," says Postal Service vice president Norman Lorentz. "The feedback so far, as far as remediation is concerned, (is that) we're absolutely on track."

However, Y2K isn't like rain, sleet or snow and the post office is not making any guarantees.

But the day of reckoning is January 1, he said the date when he hopes "everything works just fine," Lorentz says. "Until then, we're not going to be comfortable."

[my comment: gee, it all sounds great until he tells us about the 1,700 consultants. ROFLMAO.

Yup, 1,700 Y2K consultants. No? Well, then, what relevance do they have if they're NOT Y2K consultants? Heck, it's even worse if they all ARE Y2K consultants.

Nine? Are you there?]

-- BigDog (, March 28, 1999


Big Dog

You must have hit the submit button about two seconds before I did. When I looked to see if my post formatted correctly, there were two new threads about the Post Office.

I live out in the woods now, but my home town is Chicago, where the mail frequently ends up under an abandoned bridge. My money says the po will have more than a few delivery problems next year.


-- Soggy (soggy@rain_nor_sleet.borg), March 28, 1999.

Soggy, Nah... Just burn all the junk mail for heat and hand sort and deliver the rest. As one of 100 million households I only get one piece of real mail/day. That reduces the problem considerably. Though how they'll move it around the country beats me.

Got horses?

LM Yes I've seen the Postman.

-- LM (, March 28, 1999.

This doesn't seem to add anything to what nine and Harper have already told us.

The meat of the story is, IF the systems shut down, THEN they'd be hosed. Duh! This is like saying IF you fall asleep at the wheel, THEN you might run into something. But if you start adding to the list of things you might run into, the danger is not increased whether you think of 50 things or 5000 things you might hit.

The story says they're on track. Based on what nine and Harper told us, this sounds credible -- there aren't that many different systems to remediate, and most such systems apply only to certain types of mail. So we might see certain services curtailed.

-- Flint (, March 28, 1999.

Toast Office

-- Mike Lang (, March 28, 1999.

But neither nine of Harper could say what will be done with outgoing mail after its all sorted and packaged. What conveyance will be used.

It is a systemic problem, and the usps is not the only organization involved in the movement of mail.

-- dave (, March 28, 1999.


While you're quite correct, this objection remains beside the point. USPS cannot be responsible for remediating any trucking or airline companies, or any airports, or the FAA. They can only fix what's in their own jurisdiction.

Yes, everything relies on everything else, and almost every organization (save small businesses) is working on what they're responsible for. Small businesses tend to rely on shrinkwrapped software, and those vendors are working on it as well.

The argument that even if everyone finishes their y2k projects, it won't matter because nobody else will, starts to get a little old after a while. 10Q reports now all are careful to say that external factors are important. The interconnectedness-fanatics point to these statements (which are exercises in obviousness) as 'proof' that the system is doomed. Others view such statements as attention redirectors - ask how someone's coming, and they say "look over there!" But this is boilerplate stuff, and the argument is specious.

Ultimately, everyone is responsible for what they're responsible for, and the limits of responsibility for each are clearly drawn. We're all in this together.

-- Flint (, March 28, 1999.

From the above posts it would be, "intuitively obvious to the most casual observer" the USPS is subject to the same problems J. Q. Public is. With that said just cover your butts.We will do our jobs. But will the interconnection still be there.

-- nine (, March 29, 1999.

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