Be prepared to be blamedgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I don't get it? I have been in retail sales most of my life. We are currently going through the largest consumer-buying period of the year, Christmas. Most retailers are working their butts off trying to get you to spend your money with them. They buy in advance to accommodate your need to shop. They count on your need to shop. For many retailers, this season makes or brakes them. I have never heard a retailer, supplier or manufacturer ever complain about somebody maybe buying too much. I've never heard a retailer say; "I hope I don't sell all my merchandise." I've never heard a producer of vegetables complain that people are stockpiling broccoli or cabbage or asparagus. Instead, they just count the money. I would think that any producer or supplier of a product, whether it be food, drugs, phone service or electrical power would be just sitting back giggling watching the money pouring in to his Y2K compliant business. And he is thinking; "Well, we told them not to worry but if they insist on giving us their money, we'll sure take it!" It is not normal for normally greedy people, people who will spend millions to get you to spend your money with them, to tell you; "Oh no, please don't buy our product"? Or, "Oh no, please only buy one don't buy two." So what gives? I can only surmise the following. All these businesses are Y2K compliant and by the consumer over buying a product during a given period, he skews the consumer purchase database for just in time manufacturing. This would cause future ripples in the inventory levels held by manufacturing causing profit structure problems. Or, there really is a problem and they are doing their best to keep us from knowing. Or (and this one seems to be the ticket) they are setting up the American public to be the fall guy if things go wrong. I think retailers really don't mind you giving them your money for generators, solar panels, 12 volt lighting systems, storage containers, batteries, flashlights, oatmeal, ho-hos and ding-dongs. I think if business could have dreamed this one up, they would have except it wouldn't have been so close to Christmas. In fact once a year would be fine, however, if things go bad with this event (and we suspect they will and they don't know they won't) somebody has to be blamed. That is why the government and business are saying; "We're ready and the only thing that can screw this up is if people over react." Meaning when it goes bad it's not their fault, it's YOUR fault. Be prepared to be blamed. We are the doom and gloomers who caused the panic and created the shortages. Now I get it!
-- UR2Blame (email@example.com), November 27, 1999
NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission Briefing On Y2K
PRESENTERS: JOHN KOSKINEN, Chair, President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion
Thursday, February 11, 1999
... That brings me to my request of the Commission and the staff and the industry. That is that our other major problem and risk in the United States will be overreaction by the public to the perception of what this problem could look like.
We are concerned that if a few people decide to change their economic behavior, it won't make a lot of difference, if even a reasonable number of people do that, but if 200 million Americans decide to do anything very differently all at one time, the system is not geared up to deal with that, and we could have a self-fulfilling prophesy where we have a major economic problem even though the systems basically are functioning appropriately. ...
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 1999.
I have to wonder at the "no return" policy of some of the retailers and suppliers. I have a friend who needs a new generator for his construction business. He's waiting until after the 1st of the year to buy one for pennies on the dollar, unused in the box (he's a "nothing going to happen" person). Wouldn't it make more sence to take these items back (or say you will buy back and charge a high restock fee), instead of lossing a sale after the 1st of the year. These retailers might be just taking an extended (read, forever) vacation if there products can be bought on the street for next to nothing.
-- P.A. (willowfarms@noproblem.Y2K), November 27, 1999.
Why don't they want us to buy everything on their shelves? That's easy. Unruly crowds. If the shelves at the supermarket are bare people will smash doors trying to get in, fights will break out in the lines outside the store, etc. It will be the STORE MANAGER who will have to get up in front of all those people and say "Sorry, no more food today". And all that before a single computer fails. Nope, not exactly a rosey 'count your money' scenario...
-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), November 27, 1999.
Funny thing about self-fulfilling prophecies, they sometimes work in reverse.
I recall just a few years ago two major US cities, one hosting the Olympics, the other a political convention. Their local papers predicted massive traffic jams for weeks in advance of the events. As a result, in both cases, locals were careful to avoid the downtown areas. Results: the streets were practically empty, tables in restaurants were suddenly easy to get, all because the locals were expecting gridlock & stayed home.
Who knows. Between fear of y2k, fear of terrorists, & people forced to man their desks during the rollover, New Years Eve 1999 might turn out to be a massive NON-party.
-- staying home (email@example.com), November 27, 1999.
even if no-one buys extra supplies,they will SAY that the public caused this "panic"...."oh and now cause of you silly people who won't trust the nice gubmint we are going to have to initiate martial law...." etc....
whether it is Bad or not ,they are going to play Y2K as a disaster that NEEDS their control
-- mini (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 1999.
I am not the first to say this, but it rings deeply true to me.
The incessant message about "not panicking" is entirely related to the fear of bank runs. If the Y2K "contagion" could be somehow be limited to shopping and if the banks could be quarantined from the possibility of runs, then the authorities wouldn't be saying squat about panic.
But with Gary North's main Y2K message hammering on the banks and financial system vulnerability, the "no panic" message was devised as the only way to innoculate the public. It never fails to amaze me. When I hear the words "don't panic" I immediately sense danger must be nearby. Otherwise, why mention it at all?
-- Brian McLaughlin (email@example.com), November 27, 1999.
I agree it's strange seeing retailers treat folks with suspicion if they appear to be stocking up. Money is money, right? Some economists, Yardeni included, predict an inventory recession early next year as the buying drops off. However, to blame individuals is crazy, if only a few of us are stockpiling. Corporations sitting on their inventories will leave a bigger hole in the economy, and nobody is blaming them or asking whether they are buying stuff for Y2K.
Maybe it's up to the economic system to adapt to consumers, instead of government and big business trying to beguile consumers to conform to the system. I'm not talking revolution here, just recalling what happened in Japan this year. The consumers were blamed because bad times made them save money and cut back on spending, which led to more bad times, etc. The government tinkered with the "system" and lowered base lending rates to ridiculous levels. Didn't work very well. However, nobody over there passed any laws against saving too much, that I recall. Nobody was fined for inadequate consumption. Their economy is still looking for a new equilibrium, and that is what USA will have to do come Y2K.
Recessions / depressions happen. Y2K will make the next one worse and bring it faster (assuming a "polly" outcome of 5 or 6). In the meantime, I do not accept any blame for TPTB incompetence and ignorance, when they could have made rollover much smoother for very little effort.
-- Margaret J (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 1999.
A wise man, Brian. It _is_ all about the money, and the goods are only a device for them to get at more of the money (which to the ultra-wealthy is itself but a device to get at the biggest assets -- estates, people, corporate dynasty -- and power.)
Stocking goods for a corporation causes an inventory blip -- just a displacement in time. But corporations don't starve. People need to think about this month, and next month, and the month after. They can't survive an inventory blip. The disparity is notable.
But then, I'll bet you can answer this question easily: Doe the economy exist for the people? Or do the people, in the views from "on high", exist for the economy?
-- jor-el (email@example.com), November 27, 1999.