2 surprises out of more than 100 surveyed, are you surprised?

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

I am in the financial services business and helping our clients file their tax returns is a large part of our business. Very few of them use the 'earned income credit' and many are in business for themselves. To slightly more than 100 of the more capable clients, I have brought up the subject of Y2K by telling them I am taking a personal survey of Y2K awareness. Most of these people I have known for years. Question to the client -- Do you have any conversations about Y2k with other people? 3 said they talk about it. Question --- What do you think most prople think about Y2k? 75 think it will be no problem 'they' will fix it, 25 said they will take have more cash on hand, perhaps 5 would do something more - food , fuel, guns.

Several had an internet connection but not one had visited a Y2K site or had read any thing other than regular news reports.

The two surprises were a 74-year old lady living with her sister and a shift control supervisor at an electrical power generation plant.

I did not bring up the Y2K problem with people that I thought would not be able to handle it so when this lady found out that my first job was with IBM in 1964, she told me about her two sons, one started with IBM in 1965 and the other in 1968. Both are programmers now (Dallas and Portland) but not with IBM. She said "They both were worried to death about Y2K and I have bought a electrical generator, food and plan to pull all my money out the bank".

The other surprise was the power plant man. When I told this man about my survey (his conversation in the past was short and nothing about his work), he started talking. Y2K was a major concern at the plant. Technicians had moved the clocks forward and the lights flickered, temperature went up and they could not change anything. The good part was they were able to get control back after 2-3 hours, not like the plant up north?? that took three weeks. But no problem, they could make it work manually he tried to reassure me. Are you doing any manual training? caught him by surprise- No. The generator that was tested was newer and bigger than 3 others at the plant. He said he thought they could have problems (3smaller gen.) but the plant manager did not think so. So no testing of them, what can you do if plant management says no. When was this test preformed on the bigger generator? About 10 days ago.(1,April 1999)I asked 'Why have you waited until this year to test?' No answer. He is well paid, very sincere and perhaps he felt he had talked too much.

Went to Sams yesterday. Met two people pulling two carts loaded with the basics. Said to the man and woman - Y2K. He said yes. They were about 35 years old. Real sharp appearance. They had friends who were preparing. He had his own computer /financial software business. After a year of trying to bring possible Y2K problems to people's attention, I finally met someone who had a clue. I live in the world of the Eloe. Do you live there also?

-- newsrc@txcyber.com (Long@TimeLurker.net), April 17, 1999


newsrc commented:

" What do you think most prople think about Y2k? 75 think it will be no problem 'they' will fix it, 25 said they will take have more cash on hand, perhaps 5 would do something more - food , fuel, guns. "

25% said they will have more cash on hand. With a fractional reserve system that has been degraded over many years (some say to the tune of having only 1 1/2% to 2% of total depositors money available) this is what concerns .gov and bankers the most. Of course it did not concern them when they were reducing the reserve requirements over the years to create this enormous credit bubble.

Thanks for the results of the survey. These are the kinds of posts that will prove helpful to the new folks on the forum.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 17, 1999.

Two questions:

1. Eloe is an acroynm I've not yet heard of. Definition? Thanks!

2. You put a question mark after up north. Do you know more specifics about the plant in question? (3 weeks is a long time if you live in the land of winter snow and sub zero temps)


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 17, 1999.

Duh. Eloe--not an acronym. I usually do well on those Reader's Digest "It pays to improve your vocabulary" thingies, but that one blew right by me.

Eloe = avoidance


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 17, 1999.

FM The power plant man implied the event was written up in one of the trade magazines. When I ask him questions about manual operations, how long to fix it(he did not know, he was in operations not maintenence), had he read about other possible industries not making changes in time -like the post office or government (no) and why had they not tested the generator sooner --- He became reluctant to answer the more I ask him questions. Right after he left I wished I had sat there and keep my mouth shut and perhaps he would have kept talking.

-- LongTime (newsrc@txcyber.com), April 17, 1999.

Eloe - lol, I thought you were referencing the above ground population in the Jules Vern story about the Time Machine. You know, the ones who ate and played until the siren sounded and had to report to the cave to be eaten by the underground population who served them?

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 17, 1999.

The Eloy were pretty, dumb & happy and were the food of the Morlocks (who lived underground). Time Machine by H G Wells.

-- reader (phxbanks@webtv.net), April 17, 1999.

Thanks for the correction and additional details! Can't help but chuckle at any analogy to y2k.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 17, 1999.

Your "ratio" is close to what I expect at large - but remember the people who need tax "support" are seldom "low income" government-supported "achievers" who would qualify for the EIC. Thus, your figures would exclude a large number of citizens.

Nonetheless, 3-5% preparing actively, 25-30% cautious (some low-level preparations, looking at the government very skeptically), and the remainder "No preparations, and firmly believing in the mythical "they" to solve the problem.

But the mythical "they" don't appear (yet) to be close to being done in time. The unknown, what will the effect be of companies and governments failing to complete in time?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 18, 1999.

No, I'm not surprised. The truth is that most Americans don't give a flying flip about Y2K. There's a relatively small (but quite noisy) minority that is whipped into a complete frenzy over it; the average American -- when he/she has even considered it at all -- thinks it's silly.

There is another minority -- including myself -- which views with great amusement the panic on the part of the other minority, whose technical skill, on average, consists of pumping a tank of gas into a used Volvo without serious injury.

Thousands of computers fail all the time now, complete with major system crashes and massive data loss -- and we work around it.

See my Web page.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (
smpoole7@bellsouth.net), April 18, 1999.

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