How long do we have left to prepare? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

This thread is categorized under "Preparations - General".

The beginning of this year saw some shortages in food storage supplies, gensets, alladin lamps, longer delivery times, some localized supply shortages, etc., yet since then it seems that most items have become available again. For those of us that are preparing for Y2K, how about your guess as to how much longer we have before its game over? Naturally, the assumption here is that there will in fact come a time prior to the actual rollover when it becomes very difficult (or impossible) to get the items that folks preparing for Y2K need. This assumption itself is also open to discussion. What do you think?

Two cents: My guess is that barring a horrendous Y2K event, most people will remain Y2K asleep. Despite this, the number of Y2K aware folks will continue to slowly and steadily increase. At what point, if any, this increase would exert too much pressure on supplies and delivery times may also be related to Y2K news and events as we go forward. Some of these suppliers are in niche markets and they can get tight quickly. Then there are also other potentially serious events: Bank runs due to the fragile state of affairs with the banks and the existing shortage of physical currency, and the ever-present potential for a serious slide in financial markets, either of which would alter the national feel-good mood. Some of this will depend on what impact the governments perception management efforts have. There is also the possibility for a continuation of ebb and flow, up and down, as we have seen before. In this case, the preparation supply lines are just one more car on the Y2K roller coaster.

Also, seasonal factors may come into play. Summer is vacation time for many of us. After the kiddies are back in school, the general publics attitude usually turns from play to work, from frivolity to seriousness. So if game over time comes, I think it is less likely to be during summer - again, barring truly serious Y2K failures or other major events. As we get more into the coming Fall season, I think it is increasingly likely that there will be at least some shortages and lengthening delivery times. People will have Y2K uncertainty staring them closer in the face. The Ill do it later crowd may finally realize that it is later NOW. Therefore, if you have substantial preps still to deal with, you may want to mark Labor Day on your calendar and try to complete what preps you can by around then.

I would ask a penny for your thoughts, but there is a shortage of pennies. All of this is just my guess. What is yours?

-- Rob Michaels (, July 12, 1999


My guess is that there will be a sudden influx of panic-stricken GIs when the stock market corrects. My financial planner (who I would never, in my wildest dreams, accuse of getting it) called me a couple months ago to pull everything out of the market. He saw a 30 - 40% correction coming...

-- yerfdog (, July 12, 1999.

Rob -- It is a bit marginal whether this should be posted here or over on TB2K classic, but let's focus the dicussion crisply on a poll of the PREP regulars, since that will be useful:

1. Name the best date by which to have all preps finished to forestall possibility of not receiving some needed items in time.

2. Name the last safe date to have all basic preps done to avoid societal panic situations.

For me, guessing: 1 (August 1, 1999); 2 (September 15, 1999)

People who are procrastinating can use these dates as a "read" on where we stand.

-- BigDog (, July 12, 1999.

We will have until Jan,1,2000 if other people are like these folks I know. I am really scared to see all the people going about everyday business with out a care in the world of y2k. Most folks I know have heard the facts and have seen the news, good and bad, and still they just don't get it. One friend remarked that there was going to be a lot of terribly disappointed folks when y2k comes and nothing happens. This same person just dismantled a 15,000 gal above ground pool and gave it away because his family didn't use it anymore. Another friend sold his house that had woodburning fireplaces, and a well, to build a ultra modern show place for his wife. Another friend is going on a cruise for the New Year. I have many co-workers that say, "In December I am going to go buy extra food and gas and maybe a generator." I have stopped trying to reason with any of them. I just get so frustrated. And I get tired of being labled as will believe anything. I don't think that we will have to worry about the time left to prepare. We will have until Jan,1,2000 if other people are like these folks I know.

-- Carol (, July 12, 1999.

I look for things to hold together until fall. Then some people will see the storm clouds coming over the horizon and start to take action. But I honestly don't see a real panic until the final month or so. Until then, keep making additional whatever preps you need or can make.

And remember WW's Y2K shopping motto: "If it ain't about eating, wearing or shooting, don't buy it!"

Really, I'm so very tired of asking myself "Can we use this for Y2K?" for every purchase I've made for the last year and a half. Oh, how I'd really like to just blow some bucks on something frivilous, like a new SVO Mustang or a real vacation.


-- Wildweasel (, July 12, 1999.

Hi Rob! As you know, I attended a family reunion in Oklahoma this past weekend. One of my cousins (who invests people's money for a living) and I talked about the stock market. I asked her if she expected a major correction this fall, and she said, "I won't have any money in there!" I asked her when she was going to take her money out, and she said, "In about 3 weeks." Then I asked her, "But what if everyone who believes the stock market is going to make a correction does that?" She smiled and said, "Then it will make a MAJOR correction." It was interesting! :-)

Larry Burkett (a very successful Christian financial analyst) says in this month's newsletter to try and have your Y2K preps done by the end of August. Larry Burkett Probably good advice! :-)

-- Gayla (, July 12, 1999.

For woodstoves it was 3-1999 for aladin lamps it was 4-1999

in this area -

that covered the first wave of emergency purchases -

I am concerned that any time a shift of interest or awareness swings to a different direction. Like a school of fish in the currents or a flock of birds in the breeze.

And both of those dates become "yesterday or earlier"

There is a very hard choice in picking a date, the market forcaster specialists have not been accurate - If a number of individuals decide to take an extra amount of insurance on the form of essentials, that group alone can delete the shelf of what you don't have yet.

The only safe dates are 1. Yesterday and 2. Slightly after yesterday

-- Living in (, July 12, 1999.

I believe that during the last quarter of 1999 I will still be able to buy duct tape, dental floss, rope, wire, black plastic, paper goods, cheese to be waxed, eggs to be coated with KY jelly and so forth. However, I would not consider entering the last quarter without plenty of stored water, canned/dried food, seeds, money, equipment for heating, cooking and lighting (plus necessary fuels), medical supplies (including extra prescription medications), radio & many batteries, and plans for waste disposal.

-- Sylvia Ross (, July 12, 1999.

I expect the general complacency to increase or at least hold steady for at least 2 more months. Probably longer, as much will be made of September 9th being a non-event.

#1. October 1st

#2. November 15th

Other than first aid stuff and perhaps more seeds, we are basically finished with purchases unless I decide to buy some things on speculation. (I probably won't.)

-- Gus (, July 12, 1999.

September/October seem to be major times for stock market corrections. If there is a market burble, more people may begin to take Y2K seriously...and actually prepare! Even a severe market correction will not disturb some people. Thus:

1. Basics (must-haves) by mid-September.

2. Other preparations (as available) through the end of the year.

-- Mad Monk (, July 12, 1999.

I hope any newbies are paying attention to this thread. I agree that unless some impacting event occurs, in other words, people are forced to respond because....(?) the market crashes.... food/fuel/cash are rationed....our nation is attacked by a foreign country....etc., that the general mindset will remain in procrastination and denial dynamics. People do not "want" serious disruptions to their lives, therefore it is not a potential "reality" to them. They will wake up when they are slapped awake by thirst, hunger, cold, and fear. You could say this sheep-like mentality bears out the validity of the thinking of those who govern condescendingly with an "elitist" attitude, but on the other hand, you could recognize that much of human nature is also trusting and has difficulty believing that other human beings could and would treat them duplicitously when so much is at stake. My vote is to point the finger back at pompously self- absorbed leaders who seem to think they are above the Golden Rule.

We are hypothesizing on the premise that we are not being given all the straight dope by our illustrious government. We are wondering what events may trigger an awakening of the general populace. My question is this.... How many out there believe the government will wait until the "slap" comes before kicking their plans into action? Who thinks the "slap" may be timed and orchestrated to some degree?

As far as guessing dates...I'd say my money is on Big Dog's guesstimates. Prioritize your most basic needs. What do you need to save your life? Think shelter, water, food etc. Then think about saving your money and your hopes and dreams (See Sylvia's sensible assessment for ideas). Those of you scrambling to prepare were probably almost nauseated by Carol's dense friends that sold homes with woodburning stoves, or gave away pools. "Living" hit it also with "yesterday and slightly after yesterday". It all depends on what you are comfortable gambling with... your life? your child's life? Since we are the "rather safe than sorry" variety here, we will plod on with preparations. I had planned on getting a Hasselblad this year and branching out with photography, instead I am getting things like the All American canner, chickens, and what not. Who will party more than the maligned "doomers" if things go well come rollover?

-- Mumsie (, July 12, 1999.

I like BigDog's dates; matches my own perceptions...but I still leave room for variations.

Re: escalating scarcities and prices...several of my neighbors in this rural area of SW Oregon are wrestling with the question of when would be the best time (read: most economical prices)to refill and/or top-off their 500gal diesel fuel tanks.

The local price for offroad diesel is about .93; should one buy fuel now, or wait awhile in hopes that the prices will go down some?

This is a critical issue for folks who don't have a lot of discretionary income. If they wait too long and prices just keep going up, they'll really be hurting.

We've seen a whole range of predictions on the net and in the newspapers. Does anyone have any good, informed opinions/insights to offer these folks?

-- Norm Harrold (, July 12, 1999.

I'll have to check Dr. Gray for the number, but as I recall he predicted a couple of major hurricanes for the Atlantic this year. There'll be shortages and price hikes of all kinds of stuff, primarily lumber, starting right before a storm hits. Hurricanes often hit in August and September, but are not unknown in July. In addition, if a major storm hits a growing area, there'll be shortages and price hikes in food too.

As for pure Y2K panic, I don't know. All I can say is probably not before September, unless there's a major news event or a name-brand person comes out and says "Stock up now!" Without a push from government or the news media, we may not see any panic at all until/unless a problem occurs at the rollover or shortly afterwards.

For myself, I'd like to have all my bare necessities in place by mid-August at the latest--anything after that I'll consider gravy.

-- Old Git (, July 12, 1999.

Sylvia nailed it:

Preps won't come to a sudden end. Things will get scarce.....and as they do a lot of people will get frightened. She provided a good list of what is critical. I'll buy a lot after for the solar cooker and distiller I will build, rope, wire, some tools. Extra plywood and framing lumber, etc. Wouldn't want to be out shopping for basics, though

Wishful thinking tells me I have until September 1. I lost a lot of time this year, having hip replacement surgery, so I really want that extra time. If we're real lucky, then we'll get till 2000-01-01. I wouldn't count on it.

-- de (, July 12, 1999.

This is a good thread. For some reason the time after Labor Day has seemed the right one to me. People are finished vacations, the children are back in school and the routine is back in gear. There are many who will begin to prepare at this point and the market major correction will exacerbate the issue.

Nothing like sticking my neck out. :)

-- Mike Lang (, July 12, 1999.

Of course, I remember people making comments on a thread on TB2000 Classic that predicted that Labor Day might be when John Q. Public might Get It -- that appeared last Summer!

At this point, I frankly have no idea, John Q. has stared Y2K in the face and yawned. But I do know, and live, by this: It is better to be two months early than one day late.

-- Jack (, July 12, 1999.

BD: "Marginal"?

Spindoc has made a good point on another thread (laser eye surgery) about how time has actually run out for some options. I was thinking the same thing today after starting this thread. Some preparations are already in the probably-not-feasible-any-longer category. Drastic life-style type changes where you want to sell your house and move to a rural area and get to know the neighbors was the example that came to mind.

What we are left with, as some posted above, are the essential basics like water, food, shelter, heat. There is still time for completing these and other preparations. Make the best of what time remains, IMHO it won't last forever.

-- Rob Michaels (, July 13, 1999.

I agree with Mad Monk.

-- seraphima (, July 13, 1999.

I don't know what to add other than that since becoming aware of Y2k in late December 1998, at that time alot of items where unavailable, or back logged, such as in the list Rob mentioned. Now many of them are available and I am able to consider acquiring them.

However, I can't help shaking this feeling that sticks with me day in and day out, that we are in "the eye of the hurricane" and the backside of the storm is going to be very bad for shortages and delays.

All we can do is stay dilignet and watchful.

-- Lilly (, July 13, 1999.

My best guess is Sept 1. Among other things, I base this assumption on the following information from re the DoD and Martial Law, where they (DoD) refers to the "Y2K transition period as Sept 1, 1999 thru March 31, 2000.

Y2K & Martial Law

(snip) The following is from the Department of Defense's new website and gives clear, undeniable evidence that such plans are underway:

---------------------------------- (under this section is the following statement)

Mission Priorities: DoD's first Y2K mission priority is to maintain the capability to carry out its essential national security functions.

Military units and organizations will respond to Y2K request for assistance during Y2K transition period (1 September 1999 through 31 March 2000) in accordance with following priorities:

(end snip)

You can read entire account at the above link.

-- (, July 13, 1999.

I have always believed that the great Texas historian, T.R. Ferenbach was exactly right when he coined the term " Homo Economicus"; that our history has been determined as to how men acted or reacted to economic situations or occurances. Therefore, I have been watching for that tripwire which might occur, such as a major market "correction", or other incident which catches our wallets' attention. (I've been prepared since LAST fall, also)

However, my best friend, also a long time GI, contends that the population of America (generalized) is both young and urban. They do not fear hunger, because thay have never been hungry. They do not fear lack of water, cold, societal breakdown, or even discomfort, because they have no knowledge of these things, except as a news bite on CNN. He believes they will listen to nothing until they hear their stomachs growling. I hope he is wrong, I fear he is not.

-- Lon Frank (, July 13, 1999.

I believe that the vast majority of the populace will do nothing until certain events or massive trends drag them into action.

My probably worthless guess:

1. After Labor Day calls an end to the official summer season, folks will refocus on the future and will look to the year 2000. So there will be a sudden shift of vision -- an important point. They will begin looking to re-evaluate their market/investment choices (in case Y2K does impact the market) and they will begin preparing their homes and cars for the winter months.

2. As a result of the shift in #1, there will be a gradual shift of money that will begin deflating the stock market by late September.

3. By mid to late-October, money managers for the large mutual funds will begin making their moves to prepare their portfolios for the year-end. They will move to make their holdings more conservative which will trigger a significant "correction" in the market. That correction will cause a selling panic among the small investors further deflating the market.

4. Sometime in October/November, people will start withdrawaling cash for Y2K possibilities. This will be managed for a while by the banks, but eventually, some bank is going to deny someone a cash withdrawal and establish a policy to stem the tide of withdrawals. As more folks are denied withdrawals and more banks embrace a withdrawal limit, the press will jump on the story and within a few days generate sufficient public panic to trigger the first bank runs since the S & L crisis of the 80's.

5. The market corrections and bank difficulties will focus all media attention to the 1/1/2000 crossover date. We will be inundated with media coverage telling people how to prepare and what to expect as well as government officials trying to calm everyone.

6. By late October, folks who've been getting their homes ready for winter will suddenly be faced with empty shelves and the realization that many more people than usual are buying the extra kerosene heater and oil lamp . . . just in case ya know? The just in time inventory system will scramble to respond, but demand will outpace supply driving prices up significantly and triggering inflation in certain products. This will bring media attention as well which will only cause others to join the prep bandwagon.

7. By December, grocery items like dry milk, canned goods, rice, etc. will start to become scarce which will trigger it's own buying "panic". The last few weeks of December, milk, eggs, bread, etc. will be hard to find on the average shelf and consumers will be asked not to hoard.

All of this MIGHT happen, before Y2K even hits. Best bet, have all preps completed before Labor Day so you can avoid being part of the problem.

-- David Bowerman (, July 13, 1999.

Mid-August at the latest for must-have survival items. Don't know what might happen with the GPS roll-over. If problems occur and get alot of press, timed with end-of-summer mentality, might cause a bump up in the number of people deciding to prepare. It will only take a relatively small number of extra preparing to make some items hard to find. IMO, many of the extras (duct tape, etc.) will probably be around until end of year.

-- Bingo (, July 13, 1999.

I have to agree with MadMonk.

Y2K awareness will probably grow with the uncertainty created by a market downturn. The market "sentiment" will change quickly when the uncertainty of Y2K coincides with doubts about continuing corporate earnings.

Of course, this only means that 5% of the population will begin to THINK about preparing. Only half of these folks will actually start prepping then in a meaningful way.

-- nothere nothere (, July 13, 1999.

If you look just at Y2k, I think people will put off until the last minute any preparations, but if you look at everything, we may not have much time. We are prepared not just because of Y2k but solar flares, tornadoes, floods,natural disasters, stock market crash, and heaven only knows what else can happen. Given the volatility of the sun, we may not have much time.

Personally, do as much as you can as fast as you can - no matter what you get done, you will be ahead of most of the population.

-- Beckie (, July 13, 1999.

I second Beckie. Do everything you can as fast as you can. That leaves the stores free for each successive crop of slightly slower learners.

People talk about buying slowly and steadily. Don't worry about it, just buy fast. On average, new crops of GI's will be coming along every week, buying what they need, and on average it will be AS IF they each bought slowly. What we really need is buying pressure right away, to pump up the supply lines, so we'll have larger capacity when the panic hits.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 13, 1999.

Above I gave one answer...BUT upon further reflection, I must make a caveat. IF there is a major problem with GPS come August 21/22, we may see a LOT more people preparing in somewhat of a panic. Once a panic starts, it may feed upon itself. If GPS is only a minor problem, as above...watching for a market correction in September/October.

-- Mad Monk (, July 13, 1999.

I concur with David Bowerman's excellent post above. First concerns will be financial, Sept.-Oct. (Incidentally, at the T-200 Y2K Action Day Conference on June 14th, Ed Yardeni and Gary Beach, editor of "CIO Magazine," both said they expect Y2K awareness to increase considerably starting in Sept.) Mutual fund retrenchment, etc., always tends to make October a shaky month for the stock market anyway. Then from late October on, concern will shift to more basic issues, especially since there will probably be enough lingering uncertainty about some basic infrastructure matters even in the U.S. to prompt "what if" questions. As a friend pointed out, when a chill gets in the autumn air, at some subconscious/gut level some people are going to wonder about basic things like heat. Also, as Carolyn Grace pointed out in response to one of my posts on the other forum, November is "sweeps month" for the broadcasting companies (she works at one), and it's likely that then there will be at least a few Y2K programs ("sensationalized" or not); the networks aren't going to sit on this issue forever. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see some major TV news reports on Y2K, akin to the "60 Minutes" program six weeks ago, popping up as early as September. This fall I also expect to see, especially on channels like FOX, various programs on millennial predictions, millennial religious beliefs, Nostradamus, millennial terrorist threats, you name it. All of this will add to a quiet but persistent sense of unease among many people. Alas, it also might make calm, logical thought harder to come by.

Personally, I've usually been rather "middle of the road" on Y2K, relatively speaking, with more focus on economic issues than on basic infrastructures ones, at least insofar as the U.S. is concerned. Yes, I know, the middle of the road is where you find dead skunks and dead armadilloes--and to lessen the odds of being "run over," I have made at least modest preps. What also has to be of concern is the way all of this is going to play out psychologically over the next few months (especially with regard, say, to the banks).

-- Don Florence (, July 13, 1999.

one important thing, is that if you are rotating your supplies and using your "stash"- don't forget to restock. I've been picking up extra food, tp, etc- BUT- i have a 6 ft 3 in teenage son and my partner has a 20 something who shows up starved and brings friends, etc- so.... have been watching the stash dwindle- it is easy if feeding extra mouths- will need to stock up once again.....

think about the idea of extra mouths to feed, etc by the way- it is amazing how fast the food is depleted with hungry young males around- especially if they're doing a lot of work....

-- farmer (, July 13, 1999.

Great thread Rob. There is enough time if preparation starts now. Stocking upon have to haves, getting important paper record copies, talking to doctors and getting medical records, and lots of other items from candles to clothes. The later preparations start the harder it will be to do. The real question is when will awareness really happen and make people want to prepare?

-- Marie (nomail@this.time), July 13, 1999.


My mom loved to cook, and she always used to say with a smile

"Those boys have hollow legs!"

-- flora (***@__._), July 13, 1999.

I think fall will see an upswing in stocking up. Fall is a 'nesting' time for alot of people anyway. Summer will see my propane tank full though. I do not want to wait any longer for that. Then my water essentials. The food is about done (except for that one-more-50- pound-bag-of-, that always rears its head), medicines are almost finished (still need the antibiotics and husbands blood pressure medicine). Every thing else is falling into place.

And I have to add, I had no idea that I could imagine so many different scenarios! And every explanation to my often perplexed spouse <"what in the h*** is THAT for?>, sounds perfectly sound and reasonable too!! LOL

-- Dian (, July 13, 1999.

when will awareness really happen and make people want to prepare? 

Marie: Well, we have had a number of false alarms, beginning with last Thanksgiving weekend and going up to the previous 60 minutes show and Senate report periods earlier this year. Each time some folks got their hopes up that awareness just broke through the barrier of general apathy and misunderstanding. Not so. With Koskinen on record as saying that his number one priority is perception management, dont look for awareness to come from government leaders. I think mostly it is a grass roots kind of thing. If enough people lead, maybe leaders will follow. Im not holding my breadth though. The best chance for a real breakthrough in awareness would be an event that makes it difficult for people to ignore Y2K anymore. Most would rather be entertained than have to think, especially about something as unpleasant as Y2K. The upside, to some, is that the general lack of awareness makes it possible for preparations to continue without much difficulty. Trying to get some idea and opinions on how long this will last was the whole purpose of this thread.

-- Rob Michaels (, July 14, 1999.

I expect things to get a lot busier by October, and perhaps September if any GOOD Y2K movies come out by then. So I will have finished stocking up on the food and pet supplies with shorter shelf life by the end of August.

Even if there is no panic until the end of December, my plan is not to have to go into a store for any reason whatsoever (other than to buy gas) after Thanksgiving. Part of that is just that I expect the stores to be mobbed when a growing level of Y2K preps is added to the usual XMAS mania. Of course, fresh eggs and milk are always welcome!

It also means my XMAS shopping must be finished by then. (I officially started earlier this month during a wretchedly hot weekend when hanging around an air-conditioned mall was just the ticket!)

I also hope to be off my credit cards and and checks any bill paying by late October to "freeze" my records.

I do think it is a mistake to equate prepping this fall with what folks would have done last winter or earlier - it will be simpler in many respects because their simply won't be the availability or the leadtime for the more complicated arrangements.

-- Brooks (, July 14, 1999.

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