Good Laugh--CNN Story on Post Office : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Did the inspector general of the post office say that there were two or three people working on the Y2K problem in 1993?


Getting the mail through

Y2K March 27, 1999 Web posted at: 2:40 p.m. EST (1940 GMT)

CLINTON, Maryland (CNN) -- 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."

Correspondent Gina London contributed to this report.

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

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