The Herd finally stirs : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ever since I got serious about Y2k about a year ago, I've felt that regardless of the severity or non-event of direct computer failures there would be a general panic at some point that would clear store shelves. I thought that there was some chance that it could happen as early as September. But then the general public mood was to discount Y2k after the hyped dates of April 1, etc came and went without _visible_ problems, so I reduced my expectations of any panic prior to Christmas. I started a thread on this forum last summer seeking any input of an actual computer failure that would occur that would spook the herd. link to thread last summer I didn't get any specific examples in reply, but rather a bunch of nonsense such as bank runs sparked by withdrawal limits imposed prior to any actual problems.

November came and with it the horseless carriages in Maine, and "Y2k" the movie. I didn't think that the movie would spook the herd. link to thread last month There was some disagreement with me on this, but the movie came and went and the consensus agreed with the movie previewer I referred to that the movie was _awful_. No panic ensued either.

I think that Y2k is a complex problem and NO ONE knows what will happen (and those who tell you they KNOW what will happen are likely trying to sell you something). With that caveat, this is what I expect based on my experience and observations.

My observations: During the past week I have been in various stores finalizing my preps prior to next week which I expect to be the top shopping week of my lifetime. In Wal Mart about a week ago, I saw a shelf of 1# propane cylinders cleaned off, then a few days later replenished with additional stock added on an upper shelf. By Thursday all of this was gone, but in KMart their shelf was about 1/2 full and Sam's club had plenty of propane. Yesterday I went grocery shopping for the next two weeks, buying that much bread and milk which I am freezing (yes, I know power could fail but don't think it likely -- and I've got plan B if I'm wrong on this). In one regular grocery store, I didn't see any signs other than an aisle-end display of bottled water which was mostly ignored. But in another discount grocery store I saw very depleted shelf stock, with hardly any of their house-brand Spam and no bottled water. Someone who works for this chain said that this started on Wednesday and the empty shelves are due to increased demand rather than stock reduction for year-end inventory.

My interpretation: I believe that there are a few new GIs who have started preparing at this point, clearing out propane. This latest wave of GIs are more likely to shop at discount chains. I try to recheck my interpretations to see if they are colored by my expectations, and feel that something significant is beginning to happen.

My expectations: There will NOT be martial law declared on the 28th in anticipation of problems. I don't think that the situation will be bad enough for a national declaration (martial law or emergency or whatever it could be called), but that in a few cities there could be a curfew imposed.

The demand for camping supplies will become more intense next week, spreading to items other than 1# propane bottles. Grocery shopping will intensify and spread to other grocery store chains, with the increased demand apparent to the most ignorant DGI by Wednesday. The stampede will then begin in earnest. This will mostly be orderly, and handled in many cases by stores imposing quantity limits but a few locations will require the involvment of law enforcement. Possibly news reports in some location of people fighting over the last can of pet food. By Thursday evening gas lines will form as people try to top off their gas tanks.

On Friday evening I plan to attend a New Year's Eve dance I normally would go to. Attendance will be off from a normal New Year's Eve. At midnight the power will stay on in my city, except where a prankster pulld the main circuit breaker for a building. There may be a few power companies with problems, but even these may be masked by low demand on electrical power and served by the grid. There will be some embedded processor failures, perhaps turning heat off in a building. The wild card in this is terrorism -- I would not want to be in Times Square when the ball drops.

On the first weekend of the new year, the pundits are out in full force telling us what ninnies we all were. It will take the first week of the new year to get store inventories back to normal.

On Monday, Jan 3 when people return to work, the Y2k problems will begin to manifest themselves in earnest. I was told by someone that they have not been able to set a date next year in their accounts payable package (not an accountant but I think it had to do with scheduling a payment but probably someone else will tell me I'm full of BS on this). When software used for business transactions (accounting, scheduling, whatever) does not work, people will be required to work long hours attempting to work around the problem. I don't think this will be TEOTWAWKI, but a mild recession and spot shortages will result. A few businesses will be caught in a squeeze directly or indirectly and fail.

Once past February, the discovery rate of Y2k problems will abate, but the fix-on-failure effort will continue for several months. Foreign countries will be hit a bit harder initally, but will recover as well. By the _actual_ first day the next millennium, things will be mostly back to normal.

I know that this does not fit in with the general gloom and doom on this forum (and maybe will get me banned as a troll). I not ridiculing anyone who's prepared for something worse than I expect (I have). On the other hand, I hope no one has prepared to the extent that it will be TEOTWAYKI. That's as "YOU Know It" because your preparations have been to move to the hills, overdraw on your credit cards, etc. But perhaps these people have already bugged out and will not be offended by anything I've written.

Hoping that I'm being pessimistic in my expectations.


-- Mikey2k (, December 25, 1999


The most interesting thing about the actual rollover is that it will hit the worst, first. That is with the exception of Australia, the worst prepared countries will be affected first and the USA last.

We might see some pretty colorful things happen as the day rolls in and when it hits here we might have alot of people biting their fingernails and then it wont be as bad here.

Less than one week to go. Remember, it starts at 5am Eastern time on Friday, the 31st.

-- hamster (, December 25, 1999.

Actually, Mikey2k, your scenario sounds reasonable to me. I hope you are right. Anything worse than you described will not be fun.

-- JoseMiami (, December 25, 1999.

Mike2k, don't expect me to "flame" you, "holler" or, jump up and down on your case. I find that your assumptions are well taken and, by all the gods, I hope you're right. I truly respect your observations and can't find fault with your conclusions.

I can't however say, that I fully agree, but then that's just a matter of viewpoint.

My biggest concern isn't the amount of goods on store shelves being (or not being) moved. Of even for that matter the tennor of the people over this matter.

Rather, my conclusions are based on the actions of not only our government, but many other governments in the extreme preventative measures that have been and as of this moment are being taken.

I am very content with the present state of my life style, and at my age, am not really looking forward to any extreme changes. However, call it intutition, a gut feeling, or whatever, there is something amiss.

While I hope your synopsis is correct, I believe, "something wicked this way comes."

-- Richard (, December 25, 1999.


Good post. FWIW, my DH is a police officer in a small town near here. He has been asked to work on new year's eve from 10:00pm to 6:00am at the local grocery store. The store will be CLOSED during these hours. DH and the assistant manager will be there all night. I asked DH what they thought might happen and he responded that the assistant manager said it was all part of their "contingency plans". This grocery store is a Brookshires and supposedly this same scenario will be true for every store in the state of Texas.

-- Sharon (, December 25, 1999.

That seems like a very reasonable scenario.........

Of course all those that propogated the martial law crap for December 28th will never accept that they are will all be a part of a greater conspiracy to have leaked that date so they can spring it on us later unexpectedly.........

There are enough wingnuts out there........let's hope there are no more idiot Atlanta Braves out there spewing their vitriolic hatred to spoil our new year!

-- Craig (, December 25, 1999.

Every scenario seems plausible and even practical. Yeh, that sounds good, I roll with that one. Then you hear one even better, yeh, that sounds even better, I'll swing that way like a branch in the wind. If one stops to think about our infrastructure and what it takes to keep it going, we are talking about one fragile system. One glitch in the oil sector can cause a panic. One glitch in the food supply chain could be disasterous. One glitch in the auto parts industry can bring down the system. I can paint any scenario for each one mentioned and more, but Infomagic, Paul Milne, the Joanne Effect has done a pretty good job of painting the scary picture. Six days to go and I have nothing to lose, I am prepared for whatever scenario anyone wants to paint.

-- let's get it on (let'sgetiton@let'sgetitonn.xcom), December 25, 1999.

Ah, the hard core doomer finally wakes up from his afternoon nap. "Damn, where did all these pollies come from?"

You paint a picture of the infrastructure being a fragile system. One glitch can bring it down. Sounds like everything has a single point of failure that's on the verge of breaking. The food supply chain is not a single chain but a number of parallel chains. One auto manufacturer could fail to get radiator grills and that production line is shut down, but that is not the entire industry.

Funny you should mention the Jo Anne effect -- where has it occurred with enough severity to be visible, other than incidents such as horseless carriages in Maine?

Yes, I acknowledge the potential for the Infomagic scenario. Enough simultaneous glitches _could_ bring down the system, but I don't think it's likely. I believe that the "Iron Triangle" will remain intact, but there will be problems in other areas.

You say that you are "prepared for whatever scenario anyone wants to paint". So here's one (even practical and plausible): a 50-ton meteour falls on your house.

I wonder if your handle indicates your _desire_ for Y2k. "Let's get it on, I have preps to exercise."


-- Mikey2k (, December 25, 1999.

on CNN today across bottom of new:

Indiana: sales of water and propane brisk due to y2k.

Yes, I think some of the herd is prepping....for a 3 day storm

-- More Dinty Moore (, December 25, 1999.

Mike2K--No radiator, no pumps, no vendor = no parts. No oversea shipments of auto parts or components to put a vehicle together or repair and no delivery of service. No delivery of service means no goods delivered. Case in point, didn't VW start using parts off of other vehicles in their new car assembly line, wasn't that a major snafu? Since we import goods, one little glitch means no tenny shoes, socks, underwear, outer wear....hell, we can all become one big nudist colony...King of Spain, this is right up your alley!!!

-- let's get it on (let'sgetiton@let'sgetiton.xcom), December 25, 1999.

to "let's get it on"

I haven't said there won't be any problems, but you are exagerating the fragility of the system. According to you, "One little glitch" can bring it down. Now you are saying that loss of imports = loss of domestic transportation.

If foreign trade stopped completely and abruptly, there would definitely be an impact but we wouldn't go hungry and naked. Our clothes would not decay instantly nor would our vehicles quit working instantly either. There would be some time for adjustment. Not saying that the situation would be fun.

For an example look about 100 miles from our shores at Cuba. The embargo has taken a toll but people are still alive down there. Next you'll tell me that Cuba still has some foreign trade. Well, I think there will still be some foreign trade after the rollover.

But I don't know how the KOS will get by without that imported mud he uses.


-- Mikey2k (, December 25, 1999.

"Funny you should mention the Jo Anne effect -- where has it occurred with enough severity to be visible, other than incidents such as horseless carriages in Maine? "

This is not a Jo Anne Effect.

The Jo Anne Effect involves fiscal year problems of sorting.

It is not ANY lookahead failure.

please read more about The Jo Anne Effect

-- plonk! (, December 26, 1999.

italics off.

-- plonk! (, December 26, 1999.

OK, so I misunderstood what the Jo Anne effect is. (At least I spelled it properly.) Thanks for your link, even though you were plonking me.

But I have to ask again: Where has it occurred with enough severity to cause problems we would suffer or at least recognize? Aren't a lot of companies in Fiscal Year 2000 already?


-- Mikey2k (, December 26, 1999.

The big unknown factor is the condition of the world oil industry. If there are significant problems with oil, we will have a serious recession which could turn into a depression.

-- Danny (, December 26, 1999.

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