BOSTON GLOBE: "In Las Vegas: Many hold onto fears of Y2K bug - just in case " - 'They say this Y2K stuff could go on for six months. I'm not paranoid about it, but I am concerned' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In Las Vegas: Many hold onto fears of Y2K bug - just in case

By Lynda Gorov,
Boston Globe Staff, 1/2/2000

LAS VEGAS - Taxi driver John Chance wasn't taking any chances, and he still isn't.

With Y2K concerns already a nostalgic notion for many people, Chance plans to keep the bottled water, the canned goods, the spare batteries. Just because societal order didn't break down at the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve, he said, doesn't mean it won't later this year.

''Absolutely I'm relieved, because if something did happen it would be miserable,'' Chance said. ''But I figure something could still happen. They say this Y2K stuff could go on for six months. I'm not paranoid about it, but I am concerned.''

Up and down the neon-lit Strip yesterday, the people who live and work in Las Vegas casinos said they believed the odds were with them all along.

Several bellhops and bartenders, who hadn't even bothered to stock up on the basics, boasted that they had never bought into the hype. At most, they made sure the gas tank was full. Assistant restaurant manager Eva Mangas's survival strategy was to store a flashlight in her car.

''Everyone I knew didn't think twice about Y2K,'' said bellhop Marc Ellis. ''I'm a little hung over from it, that's all.''

But others who had adopted a better-safe-than-sorry attitude remained glad that they had. Most everyone used the word relieved. No one mentioned feeling foolish. In a city where casino employees regularly see fortunes made and lost in minutes, they said they intuitively understand how fast luck can run out.

''I made sure I had extra money in my pocket and the basics you were supposed to have at home,''said blackjack dealer Bill Piper. ''I thought it was the wise thing to do. I still do.''

Around noon, hairdresser Sally Nguyen was still laughing over the scene that greeted her when she arrived home after 14 hours at the salon. Her two youngest children, ages 18 and 11, had taken the family's Y2K supplies and stacked them in one room. They also refused to answer the door when a delivery person rang the bell, fearful that chaos had broken out and he was a marauder coming to rob them.

''We were worried,'' said Nguyen, whose husband left his cellular telephone with the youngsters because he had to work late, too. ''But they were worried more.''

The tens of thousands of partyers who poured into Las Vegas over the weekend appeared to have few such concerns, although some did line up at the last minute to get extra cash from the casino ATMs.

Whatever might happen, they said, the hotels had more than enough food to feed them and backup generators to keep the lights on and slot machines spinning. Their fears were of losing big rather than terrorist bombings.

Cab driver Michelle Miller, a Las Vegas native who has never played the gaming tables, said she didn't give it a thought until the cab company's computer crashed for a few seconds Friday. ''Then I thought, `Uh oh,''' she said. ''But it turned out to be no big deal.''

Added bartender Brian Schumacher, ''Nothing was going to happen and nothing did. Now we're hearing it's not really Y2K. It's next year we have to worry about. They just can't let it go.''

As the Strip and much of Las Vegas emptied out yesterday, Katherine Bariring was back at work selling show tickets and letting go her fear of Y2K-related riots. But she said she couldn't relax altogether, and wasn't ready to dig into the week's worth of supplies she had amassed for herself and her two children.

''Everyone I knew was pretty calm about it, but I didn't want my kids to be starving,'' said Bariring. ''I'm not even sure it's over yet. It's only Jan. 1. How can you know?''

This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 1/2/2000.
) Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company. [ENDS]

-- John Whitley (, January 03, 2000

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