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Y2K fear growing


SYDNEYSIDERS are hoarding up to six months' worth of food, water and batteries as millennium bug panic builds in the lead-up to New Years Eve.

Uncertainty over what effect Y2K will have on services such as electricity, water and banks has led families and businesses to stock up on survival supplies.

Dozens of stores throughout Sydney report increased demand for canned food, bottled water, candles, batteries and solar-powered equipment, with some selling up to ten times more than their usual trade.

Food processing giant Heinz-Watties has increased production of popular canned goods as demand grows.

Many retailers are battling to keep up their stocks and fear they will not be able to fill their shelves quickly enough to meet demand.

While some businesses are winding down for the holiday period, canned goods producers are planning to step up their production less than two weeks before the New Year.

Birkenhead Batteries and Solar Power owner Rodney Nyman said his customers had been preparing for the millennium for the past year.

The most popular purchases made at his store have been power generators, solar generating equipment and 24-volt battery-run refrigerators.

Campbell's Cash and Carry manager Phil Coggan said many people responded to a mailout advertising a Y2K Survival Pack.

And major banks have reiterated there is no need for the public to be over-cautious about the safety of their funds.



-- snooze button (, December 19, 1999


Well, I live in Australia (in Victoria, the state that has recently passed the confiscation laws) and let me tell you that the atmosphere of indifference about Y2K is amazing, and everywhere.

Most people don't want to talk about it or think about it. The government's strategy - to minimise panic by keeping the issue away from the public's attention - has worked spectacularly well. It's almost as though Y2K is something that is impolite to discuss. There are averted gazes everywhere.

Reminds me of a time I was walking along a path in the country, and looked a few feet to my right to see a big (5-6 feet) black snake sunning himself on a discarded sheet of roofing iron. He turned his head and looked at me, just so I would know that he knew... I looked away, and kept walking, and didn't look back, even to see whether he was moving towards me. My point is this: my instant, instinctive, reaction was that I didn't want to know about him. So I ignored him. Which might or might not have been the right thing to do with a snake, but is it the right attitude for something like Y2K?

Most people I know think so. They don't want to know about it. Therefore they won't make any preps. None.

The old lady who lives next door to us told me yesterday that Y2K is going to be nothing because "the Americans are sending some scientists out".

"Sheila," I said, "that means nothing," and I watched her attention do that glaze-over thing as I tried to explain (not for the first time) Y2K-101. She didn't get it.

Neither does my dad. He's 65, doesn't know anything about computers, and can just send a fax, but he prefers to get his wife to do it. He says that Y2K is nothing, because "they'll fix it".

The government's strategy has worked well.

BTW, we got the Campbell's Cash and Carry junk mail about the Y2K Survival Pack. It was just a normal supermarket type, tins-of-tuna and chocolate bars and detergent brochure with "Y2K" splashed across the top. It was nothing special.

-- David M (, December 19, 1999.

Too bad they gave up their right to protect themselves (our 2nd Amendment). God save the Queen !

-- Rob (, December 19, 1999.

Oh, no think about the riots if they have to ration Foster's!!!!! "The humanity. " There is no 3 day storm that cannot be easily corrected by a state of martial law.

-- Squid (, December 19, 1999.

>God save the Queen ! <

And all of us!

-- Not Again! (, December 19, 1999.

Have you ever worked at a place where everyone pretty much KNEW that significant layoffs were imminent, even though management was not officially saying anything? (Quite common with many companies in the early '90s.) Everyone sort of just goes through the motions of work, making appointments, setting deadlines, etc., for next week or next month, all the time knowing that it might not actually happen due to the big change that is about to happen.

Things that make you go Hmmmmm.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 19, 1999.

Three day storm!!

I *really* wish the Aussie gov would tell people to prepare even for that, but no, nothing. Everything will be fine. No need to do anything!

People are preparing though, but not much, one of my key indicators has been propane bottle stocks in the local Big W (major general retailer). They've been selling very well, I suspect that they'll be out of stock of the 20 lb ones when I check at lunch time today, unless there's been a big stock up over the weekend.

I bought my propane fridge last weekend at the largest camping equipment place in Canberra last weekend, the assistant said she had seen a number of people stocking up various camping equipment for Y2K, but she was not doing much herself, a few bottles of water, a little food, she didn't seem very worried until I told her I was Team Leader of a Y2K remediation project. I think that fact, combined with the fact that I was spending several hundred dollars on the fridge, which I freely admitted I had no use for if Y2K was a BITR, (I hate camping) may have indicated the possible severity of the issue.

I'm vitually where I want to be prep-wise personally, this week I will be buying up the Fosters (really will, no rationing for me Squid), some more champagne and smokes and that's it.

There's nothing left now but to wait and see, God, I really hope I've been wasting my time. Whatever happens I hope this board continues in some form, I'd miss *everyone* here if it was gone. Happy Christmas to you all!!


-- Ron Davis (, December 19, 1999.

Ron, I agree - I hope I'm wrong and that the preps that we've made turn out to be a waste of time. I hope that the friends who think that we've been deluded over the last year or so can say "we told you so" in a few weeks time.

But I don't think so.

One of my clients is a small business that provides educational services. They rely totally on four (by my last count) computers, networked, running W98 and various spreadsheets and databases. Their idea of "readiness" was to ditch one of their databases and put it into MS Access. And they moved to MYOB for their accounts. That's it.

This is a typical small business situation - about 10-12 employees, a manager who knows squat about computers, and an "office chick" who actually does all the computer stuff. I asked her what she was going to do about y2k issues and she said "pray". They've tested nothing, they've spent some time playing with their new database, and they've got no contingency plan.

But if asked, they tell people that they're ready.

They're "compliant".

They talk about business dates in the first half of January as if there is going to be nothing much going on.

I mentioned to one of the managers that we've been making some preps at home and she laughed. They don't get it.

I think we can safely multiply that scenario by a few thousand times across Australia.

-- David M (, December 19, 1999.

On the west coast of Australia things are pretty much quiet. Went to the shops yesterday and it was jam packed full of people buying all those pressies.

Was watching everybody else purchase with plastic, I felt out of place when I was paying cash for my stuff.

Anyway now it is summer here, school holidays just started this past weekend. Usually heaps of families go out into the countryside about this time and even more so just after Xmas day. Some of the country towns here really rock on New Years Eve.

I fully expect to notice an increase of sales and people leaving next week. I'll keep you posted.

Regards, Simon

-- Simon Richards (, December 19, 1999.

Well, I was right, Big W now have no 20lb propane bottles, no 10lb, and only 5 of the 2 smaller sizes, which are too small for anything serious, in my opinion.

The 30-35 feet of shelf space which used to contain them is now filled with double inflatable air beds, so I don't think they'll be restocking any time soon.

If you're in Australia and you have been putting off getting your gas, do it now, while you still can. If you have a gas bottle you're thinking about getting filled please check the expiry date on the bottle, if it's expired they won't fill it and you'll have to get a new one. Make sure that you're not in this situation.


-- Ron Davis (, December 19, 1999.

That must just be down there in the southern states , up here in Far North Queensland , there is still very little sign of preperation. All the camping and disposal stors are still stocked to the hilts. The supermarkets have their normal levels of stock , no panic evident anywhere , YET.

-- XOR (, December 19, 1999.

Hi XOR (eXclusive OR?),

I'm certainly not saying there's any kind of panic, it's just that I have been watching the Gas Bottle stocks in Big W because they're by far cheaper than the camping stores and I need a lot of gas!

I mentioned it to some folk at work and they said "a lot of people go camping at Christmas". True, I guess!

Another sight of note was a person with a shopping trolley *full* of long life milk, nothing else, just milk. Now there's no gas bottles left to monitor I think I'll swap to UHT milk and candles!

I don't know what to make of it, just wait and see what happens. What else can you do?


-- Ron Davis (, December 20, 1999.

Ron Davis: you said "If you have a gas bottle you're thinking about getting filled please check the expiry date on the bottle, if it's expired they won't fill it and you'll have to get a new one. Make sure that you're not in this situation."

I assume that you are talking about propane. What is this "expiry date" thing? If "what" is expired they won't fill "what"?

Been told that propane will last decades and longer. Is this some of your government bureaucracy nonsense regulation down under or what?

-- S. David Bays (, December 20, 1999.

you is right about the price thing, camping stores have got a rather inflated price. It is also true that a lot of people go camping for xmas/new-year but one thinks that those people would already have gas cooking equipment , and would refill their cylinders at the service station on their way out of the city. thus , there must be a lot of people that have only recently decided that they are going camping and decided to purchace the equipment. Or it is the first signs of a last minute rush for supplies. Like you said , not much to do bar watch and wait.

-- XOR (, December 20, 1999.

S David,

Yep, Govt red tape. In Australia, (and you will note I said "if you're in Australia...") all gas bottles are stamped with a date which is initially 10 years from the date of manufacture. When this date is reached the bottle must either be disposed of or checked and restamped (with another date 10 years hence) at an Authorised Inspection Station. I've never bothered so I don't know how much it costs or any details. I assume you don't have such requirements in the USA?

Filling stations are generally quite rigorous in checking the date because they can lose their license to sell propane if they fill an expired bottle.

It's a safety thing, not really a bad idea I guess, but one does get a bit sick of being treated like a clueless moron by the government all the time. But then, so many people *are* clueless morons.


-- Ron Davis (, December 20, 1999.

Reading this thread I keep thinking of that Nevil Shute book and movie, the one set in Oz where they were all waiting to die after a nuclear war in the North of the planet...

-- Andy (, December 20, 1999.

Well Andy. Fancy seeing you on this thread, with nary a mention of ....whisper the word.... g-o-l-d....

But if you really want to see the end of the world, and what makes Aussies tick, go to a casino as I did on Saturday. Wall to wall punters, who, if you asked them about Y2K would respond, "4 to 1 tops. Which race again?".

Aussies are great. Great mates, drinkers, lovers (Ha!) and GREAT at letting the State take over their lives. Aussies live in a true welfare state, similar to Sweden, where we have abrogated our responsibilities and rights in return for 'support' from a "benevolent" government from cradle to grave. Many people choose, and go on, welfare, all their lives. Work is purely optional.Public servants are, largely, bloated parrasites feeding off taxpayers (any of the above posters such parrasites responding to this thread whilst at work, I wonder?) We've also been effectively disarmed.Paul Hogan's portrayal of the lean , mean Aussie, wrestling with crocs was a joke then, and meaningless now.

WTSHTF, as I think it will, very shortly, Aussies will, by and large, be reduced to wimpering, blubbering heaps of lard, pleading for the government to "DO SOMETHING". (anyone with Canberra licence plates better not stop near my place.)

BTW Andy, I know we've had the occassional stoush, but I want you to know, you're not all bad. Bit mad, maybe, but not bad. (Remember that philosphical type post, about geting what we deserved, life after life, where you popped up and said "That's how I think too")?

I'm out of here shortly, so wish you well. And Andy, gold WILL go to $3,000 oz but only when the Dow crashes and everything else is ashes.

-- Asking (, December 20, 1999.

Good luck Asking, sink a few tubes for me!

-- Andy (, December 20, 1999.

Don't be married to a Y2K person (whatever you do!)

Regards to all wives and lovers out there.


-- Clair Davis (, December 20, 1999.

Asking , I would prefer to live in a country where you can send your kids to school , without fear of them getting into a gunfight. While you may have a point about a good 70% of the population here, I bet that a greater proportion of Americans will be killed when TSHTF than Australians.

-- XOR (, December 20, 1999.

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