Natl. Retail Federation: "private assets may be taken by government to ensure public health" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Found this little gem while I was wandering about window-shopping:

Fifty members of the NRF Survival 2000 Project spent two days working through likely failure scenarios, and how to react to them. This section will likely raise more questions than answers, but will get readers thinking.

Most of these scenarios envision temporary service loss. At press time, most observers were saying that, in general, service outages will be relatively short-lived. Protracted service loss, however, could be devastating. If this happens, you may find that key public services are restored to full availability before private businesses are. In addition, private assets may be taken by government to ensure the public health.

Found under "Failure Scenarios." There may be other gems to be mined at this site.

-- Old Git (, July 19, 1999


Hi Old Git!

(You were right, we can't stay away long from this site. Too much breaking news right now!)

I found that link particularly interesting in light of the oral and written testimony presented by this organization at the May 25, 1999 at the Senate Special Committee Hearing on the Y2k Technology Problem.

As I recall, the overwhelming message from national retailers was that if people were going to prepare for Y2k, they wanted them to prepare before September (somebody correct me if I'm wrong.) I do know for a fact that retailers are concerned about "panic" in December.

In fact, I remember a quote (old-timers will remember that I PAINFULLY transcribed both hours of oral testimony and offered it up to this forum) in which Kathy Hotka, Vice President for Information Technology for the National Retail Federation stated something along the lines of "we want people to shop for scarves in December, not just buy a gun."

Having said that, somebody want to volunteer to "mine this site" and post your findings here? Could be very interesting.


-- FM (, July 20, 1999.

Fabulous site. These people are as good as the U.S. NAval War College--only different aims. Thanks.


-- Mara Wayne (, July 20, 1999.

Bonding alert!

Three journalists on one thread!

Hi again 'Old Git" and Hey there "Mara."

(We have noses for news. Wonder how many on this forum really appreciate us? Ha!)


-- FM (, July 20, 1999.

Yes, FM, I DO remember your painstaking work. I had transcribed the Food Supply hearings, not nearly such a tedious job, so I DO appreciate your migraine for the cause. And I remember the scarves remark. I seem to remember Hotka also made some comment about retailers weren't ordering anything special not even extra batteries.

BTW, I first got to the NFR site through the British government Action 2000 site. I forget how it came up--maybe I went to the US govt. site from there and there was a link. Anyway, sorry to be so vague, but every now and then I have to reboot because my hard drive gets appalling indigestion and I had to reboot in the middle of my window-shopping. Action 2000 has some interesting links to various government Y2K sites, which is great if you speak Russian or Greek, but there are some English-language sites. Cery telling--there are 66 links to foreign gov. sites, but only 26 of those countries are included in a report that Action 2000 has put together. It's all self-reporting, though, Action 2000 won't give its views on the preparedness of other countries.

Action 2000 home page:

And if anyone has a new URL for the Taskforce 2000 site, please pass it on. The guy who heads it, Robin Guenier, used to be the government spokesperson for Action 2000. Something went wrong and he formed the private group, which often disagrees with government pronouncements re Y2K. Trolls describe him as "the British Gary North," which is not at all accurate (although North often quotes Guenier).

-- Old Git (, July 20, 1999.

Year 2000 Retail Contingency and Business Continuity Planning Survival Beyond the Century Change.... National Retail Federation Survival 2000 Project April 1999

Failure Scenarios

-- Linda (, July 20, 1999.


Funny. My career actually has been as a trade journalist. I tired to copy and quote part of the material there, but obviously it got erased by the system. Oh well. It's quite intriguing material.

-- Mara Wayne (, July 20, 1999.

Failure Scenarios

Consider how you'd deal with the following scenarios.

Telecommunications failure - long distance service Scenario: Seven of your stores are located in a rural area where the local phone company did not have the opportunity to test with your long distance provider. After midnight, these stores have local service but no long distance - stores cannot phone headquarters, and headquarters cannot reach them.


First, how do you know that this is the case? Consider putting in place a system whereby stores will check in to report their status to the war room. This lack of long distance likely means that the store does not have access to outbound voice or data communications. Headquarters may not have payroll information on this store, for instance. Do not assume that you can fall back to cell phones. Nearly every expert expects that cell phone capacity will be maxxed out immediately in the event of a wireline phone problem. If you had previously made arrangements with a second carrier, you might be able to continue to make calls. Dialarounds may work. Have one of the affected stores try dialing 10- 10-XXX (these services rise and fall in popularity) to see if they'll work. Dialarounds give you access to a phone company other than your primary one. If this works, use it sparingly - rates can be very high, particularly if you haven't done your homework on prices. If you use telecommunications for key in-store processes, such as obtaining insurance company payment approval for prescriptions, you may have to wing it. One retailer recommends using the last information you had - if the customer had a $3 co-pay the last time the prescription was filled, you might assume that that's still the case. Your central office won't be able to poll the affected store(s) for daily sales data. Can the store dump data to tape, or would you rather pull register tapes and do a manual reading that way? Telecommunications failure - local service Scenario: Your local phone company fails, and stores in its service area have no dial tone.


Do you want to open those stores? If so or if not, how will you tell your employees? You may be able to use a cell phone periodically. Don't rely on cell - there isn't enough capacity to replace wireline service. You may have to complete payment card transactions using "old fashioned" manual methods. Do you have the manual imprinter and forms? Are you willing to use floor approvals? You might want to consider providing store managers in advance with override codes so that they can set their own limits on credit cards. There may be local ham or CB radio operators who can help; do you know how to find them? Your central office likely won't be able to poll the affected store (s) for daily sales data. Can the store dump data to tape, or would you rather pull register tapes and do a manual reading that way? Have customers getting a prescription filled or refilled sign a waiver if you're unable to check for drug interactions. Telecommunications failure - equipment Scenario: Nobody checked the PBX in Store #166, and it shows. No inbound or outbound calls can be received, and there's no voicemail.


Do you want the store to open? If there's an emergency, staff won't be able to dial 911. Should store associates show up? If you want them to, or if you don't want them to, how will they know? Should there be pre-established procedures for store associates to determine if they should arrive or not? If store associates work, how will you know how many hours they worked? How will you be able to tell the bank how much to pay them? [This could be a very severe problem if a whole county or state loses telephone service - you'll want to have effective procedures in place to guarantee compensation to hourly employees.] Will your company's financial staff be able to audit the payroll expenditures that are made? Your only choice will likely be to replace the PBX or other failed gear. Your provider may or may not be able to deliver a replacement soon. Some companies suggest offering more than the list price for the gear in order to get it more quickly. Have customers getting a prescription filled or refilled sign a waiver if you're unable to check for drug interactions. Your central office won't be able to poll the store for daily sales data. Can the store dump data to tape, or would you rather pull register tapes and do a manual reading that way? If customers are using cash instead of credit/debit cards, will this affect the method you use to transport cash to the bank at the end of the day? -snip-

Telecommunications failure - satellites

Scenario: Communications between earth and a major communications satellite are interrupted. It might take a week for this problem to be resolved.


You may be unable to handle payment card authorizations if you are in a satellite-dependent location (some malls and convenience stores, for instance). Does your staff have the equipment and procedures to complete payment card transactions manually or by dial-up? If more customers start using cash and less use payment cards, will this affect the method you use to transport cash to the bank at the end of the day? Are your key employees' pagers working? -snip-

Power failure - headquarters/stores Scenario: Embedded chips in a major municipal electrical system fail, taking out power in a 100-mile radius. Your headquarters and five stores are located there. Lights will come back on for an hour or so, then fail again. Municipal authorities estimate that the power will be back on in a reliable way within a week.


Can you accommodate a power outage at headquarters for a week? Can you work at headquarters without telecommunications, PCs, e-mail and so on? If you cannot accommodate the outage, do you have the option of relocating your headquarters short-term? Where would it be? Where would staff live? Would a backup generator(s) keep your store running? Do you have one or several? What fuel do they use? Is that fuel available? Do you have a backup truck generator? Since generators are routinely stolen during outages, do you have a way to secure it? Can you use a disaster recovery site to continue data processing? If the outage also affects a store, would you open that store? Will your cashiers know how to make change? You might consider having a number of inexpensive calculators available for cashiers, and instructing them in the basics of totaling bills without using a computer. Will you modify payment card and check acceptance as discussed previously? (A "cash only" policy may limit damages, but may offend clients.) Do you have provisions for recording sales in all cases if power goes out? If the outage occurs while the store is open and customers are shopping, do you have a plan to escort the customers out? A lack of power means that you probably have no alarm system. This may not be a concern if you run a pet store, but if you run a jewelry store you will likely want to have a backup security system in place. The power outage will likely affect the ability to dispense gasoline and other motor fuels. Do you sell motor fuels? Do you operate trucks or fleet cars? If your fleet drivers use a corporate payment card to purchase petroleum products on a contract basis, have you contacted your petroleum provider to increase your expected supply before the end of the year? Your bank(s) could also be affected. What kinds of transactions does your company conduct with your bank(s)? If they experience disruption, what effect might this have on your operations? Did you make prior arrangements with your bank or payment card processor for sales on paper records? -snip-

Municipal failure - water/sewer Scenario: Computer-controlled electric pumping stations fail, leaving the city with very low water pressure. Your taps produce only a drip.


Some municipal fire codes may require buildings to close if there's not enough water to operate a sprinkler system. Do you know what the regulations say? If there's not enough water to maintain the functionality of flush toilets, some municipal regulations require the establishment to shut its doors. If you are not located in these areas, it may be enough to simply post a "no public restrooms" sign. Do you know what the regulations say? Establishments that serve food are almost always required to have fresh running water. Do you serve any food? Some buildings have fire alarms that may react to low water pressure by turning themselves on. Do you have the documentation for your systems? No water probably means no air conditioning. While this may not be a problem for many people in January, it may mean that the air handlers used by larger mainframe systems could be affected. Some very large companies have their own water source to get around this problem. If you're in a cold climate, a lack of water could result in burst pipes. Keep the heat on in your facilities to help alleviate this problem. If you're using gas/hot water systems or oil/hot water systems, you could find that lack of water pressure will result in a failure of your heating system. However, many of these systems are closed systems that don't rely on water pressure. Many utilities have priority lists for resumption of services (hospitals, for example) that you probably are not on. -snip-

Financial issues - extra cash in the money supply Scenario: The Federal Reserve issues $50 billion in new cash, in larger denominations, to accommodate Americans' desire to have some extra cash on hand just in case.


If a number of customers arrive at your store with $100 bills during a given day, can you make change? Is your store in a neighborhood where customers might face danger if they're thought to be carrying large bills? Might you face liability if they're attacked on or near the premises? If customers prefer to use cash instead of payment cards, this may increase vulnerability to theft and pilferage, will this affect the method you use to transport cash to the bank at the end of the day? - snip-

-- Linda (, July 20, 1999.

I had occassion to speak with a V-P for one of our larger timber operations. They do their own trucking and maintain diesel and gasoline stores. He said that he read the county emergency plan for y2k and was surprised to learn that those fuel stocks were listed as a source of fuel for county vehicles in an emergency. The timber company had never been consulted on their availability.

Under the concept of eminent domain, property can be taken for a legitimate public purpose:

Reference: John Bouvier, A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and the Several States of the American Union, Childs & Peterson, c1856.)

"DOMINIUM EMINENS, the right of the public, in cases of emergency, to seize upon the property of individuals, and convert it to public use, and the right of individuals, in similar cases, to commit a trespass on the persons and properties of others, see the opinion of chief justice McKean in Respublica v. Sparhawk, 1 Dallas, 362, and the case of Vanhorn v. Dorrance, 2 Dall. Rep. 304. See, further, as to dominium eminens, or the right of the community to take, at a fair price, the property of individuals for public use, the supplement of 1802 to the Pennsylvania compromising law, respecting the Wyoming controversy; also, Vattel, l. 1, c. 20, Sec. 244-248; Bynkershoek, lib. 2, c. 15; Rousseau's Social Compact, c. 9; Domat; l. 1, tit. 8, Sec. l, p. 381, fol. ed.; the case of a Jew, whom the grand seignior was compelled by the mufti to purchase out, cited in Lindsay et al. v. The Commissioners, 2 Bay. S. Car. Rep. 41. See Eminent domain."

This is a primary precept of most, if not all societies. Under the original social compact as recognized in the U.S. and state constitutions, property is also secured by the right to "just compensation" for such a taking. This means that the person is to be made entirely "whole" for the value of whatever is taken.

Our nation was formed on "compact." This means that every individual, in entering into the society, parted with a power of controling certain alienable rights equal to that parted with by any other. All the members of the society contributed an equal portion of their alienable natural rights towards the forming of the supreme power in exchange for an equivalent in the form of security of their persons and property. When the "equity" of the compact becomes unbalanced by a necessary "take" of private property, the person subject to the "take" must be fully returned to a state of equality with all others. This is Constitutionally guaranteed in the form of "just compensation" under the Fifth Amendment.

This probably means that they will pay you in some sort of funny money or I.O.U. that won't be worth a damned. plus collection will be mired in bureaucratic B.S.

-- marsh (, July 20, 1999.

Plus, they're sure not to take into account the public ridicule one had to endure to manage to have the goods after 01-15-2000, the labor of organizing and storing it, the personal danger of protecting it, inventory carrying costs, or the change in worldwide perceived value of SPAM.

Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers--regrets.greenspun), July 21, 1999.

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