Y2k stash (Tasmanians are panic hoarding up a year's supply of food...)

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Y2K Stash By GEORGIA WARNER 15dec99

TASMANIANS are panic hoarding up to a year's supply of food, fearing the millennium bug will bite.

The supplies pictured above are the basic items one shopkeeper has been selling to her customers as the bare necessities for the journey into Y2K.

Cheryl Banks of Huonville's Mustard Pot health food shop says she has sold from two weeks to a year's supply of food to at least 60 people.

And it's not only at health shops that the rush is on.

Chickenfeed has reported a 300% leap in battery sales. It has sold more than 130,000 packets in the past three weeks. Purity Supermarkets has doubled stocks of "Y2K survival" items such as long-life milk, batteries and tinned food.

Tasmania's largest organic wholefood distributor, Bio-Distributors of Sheffield, has sold five one-tonne pallets of rice and other wholefoods to people from around the state who, when asked, have said it is in case of possible Y2K problems.

Several half-pallets also have been sold. And the company is unable to get its hands on any more organic long-grain rice.

But the State Government yesterday moved to discourage panic buying, saying: "All evidence points to those hoarding specific products as being a small minority

who are overreacting to the issue of Y2K."

Tasmania's Y2K project manager Peter Barnett said the Government's final Y2K readiness report would show Tasmania was 99.6% ready for the transition to 2000 when it is released later this week.

Chickenfeed boss Rudie Sypkes is in no doubt why battery sales are going through the roof.

"They are stocking up just in case  and that's probably been helped by the fact we got such a good buy," he said.

"It was a deliberate move  we ordered them in especially for Y2K."

The run on Y2K stores in the Huon Valley began in winter, according to the Mustard Pot's Ms Banks.

"It was seeds to begin with  people have planted vegetable gardens or increased production especially for the Y2K from the Loone River to Dover, Glen Huon, Lower Longley, Crabtree, Cygnet ... right across the valley," she said.

"There would be at least 50 families who have done that  some for spiritual reasons, because they believe something other than the Y2K bug is going to happen, others because they expect the power to go at the very least.

"They (the Government) say we're compliant, but we've had two black-outs in recent weeks.

"We don't want people to get upset or panic, and you have to remember it's an alternative lifestyle down this way, but we do suggest to people they get at least a week or two in."

Ms Banks says she will stash away enough supplies to last her a couple of weeks.

She also plans to fill her car with petrol on New Year's Eve, has ordered a load of wood, has bought extra candles, firelighters and matches and will ensure her water tank is full on December 31.

But Mr Barnett says there is nothing to fear.

"Tasmania's electricity businesses are recognised nationally and internationally for their preparations for Y2K ... all evidence points to it being business as usual over the year 2000 sensitive period," he said.

Bio-Distributors, meanwhile, has been taken aback by the surging demand.

Ms Easton said: "With some it is not just a matter of buying a few things here and there to tide them over for a few days ... it's honestly storing away for the winter sort of stuff, it's been quite bizarre in a few cases and they've been asking us about warehouses and places they can store it all."

Purity boss Michael Kent says some entrepreneurial sorts are now attempting to cash in on Y2K survival marketing in New South Wales.

But while Purity has four weeks' supply of "survival stocks"  ranging from batteries to long- life milk and tins of baked beans  on hand instead of the usual two, Mr Kent says he is yet to see any evidence of pre-millennium hoarding.

Chubb security guards will be paid triple time for working additional rosters on New Year's Eve.

And those who would have been working anyway on December 31 will get time off in lieu.

Yesterday's Mercury report that said Chubb staff would be offered incentives such as time off in lieu or dinner out applies only to staff in the company's electronics division who have volunteered to work on the night.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), December 14, 1999


Tasmanians are devils

-- (satan@lucifers.billabong), December 14, 1999.

Hungry little devils.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), December 14, 1999.

When you live on an island, you realize how difficult the supply line can become...

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), December 14, 1999.

Tasmanians are odd. I live fairly close (second closest city to Tassie), I've been there and I can assure you they are quite strange in various ways. The words "inbred kooks" would be a little harsh, but if you've ever seen "Deliverance" you'll know what I mean......

-- guess (rawdonl@hotmail.com), December 15, 1999.

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