First glitch for Y2k surfaces: ATM card problems called 'very limited'greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
First glitch for Y2K surfaces: ATM card problem called 'very limited'
By Dale Kasler Bee Staff Writer (Published Jan. 3, 2000)
While companies re-tested computers Sunday in preparation for the start of the first workweek in the new millennium, the first honest-to-goodness Y2K glitch of any significance surfaced in Sacramento.
Some 500 members of the Golden 1 Credit Union discovered that their automated-teller machine cards wouldn't work at grocery stores and other outlets that take ATM cards. The cards worked fine at cash machines, said Golden 1 Vice President David Thompson.
For some unexplained reason those 500 cards, issued at three Sacramento-area Golden 1 branches, had been programmed to expire Dec. 31. The expiration date was encoded magnetically in the black strips on the back of the cards and wasn't visible to the customers, Thompson said.
Normally the cards don't carry any expiration dates, he said.
Technically the problem isn't a Y2K issue, Thompson argued; it's not as if some computer malfunctioned when the New Year arrived. Instead, the cards were faulty to begin with.
Still, he said it was understandable that customers were given a case of the Y2K jitters. "It's, 'Uh, oh, my card doesn't work and it's Jan. 1 or 2,' " he said. "Happily, it's a very, very limited problem."
Several customers were issued replacement cards at the Florin Road branch, which was open Sunday afternoon. "They can come into a branch and we'll fix it, or we'll mail it, whatever's more convenient," he said.
The problem surfaced, ironically, just as scores of Sacramentans began unloading their Y2K cash -- the dollars they'd withdrawn from their bank accounts before New Year's in case Y2K closed their bank, fouled up their credit cards or disrupted other essential services.
It was too soon to see whether there would be a significant "Y2K effect" on an already juiced-up economy. But it appeared that consumers were going to spend their extra money instead of putting it back into their accounts.
"I'll probably keep it and spend it," said Sacramentan Hung Nguyen,who was taking a break from shopping at Arden Fair mall. He said he withdrew several hundred dollars from the bank prior to New Year's.
Meanwhile, companies continued testing their computer networks in advance of the start of the workweek. In many respects, todaywas considered as big a test as midnight New Year's Eve was for determining whether the nation's computers were fixed.
"For banks and insurers and pension funds and anybody else who's working Monday to Friday, 8 to 5, Monday'll be the bigger day," said Larry Martin, the deputy chief executive officer for the State Teachers'Retirement System.
Martin said STRS' computers checked out fine over the weekend. Other businesses also chimed in with glowing reports, declaring that their employees will be greeted with Y2K-ready workplaces.
"They're going to have a regular workday starting at 7 a.m.," said Anita Giani, spokeswoman for the Siemens Transportation Systems Inc. factory in south Sacramento. "Everything is absolutely OK."
Added Juliet Don of Bank of America Corp.: "We continue to review our systems. We're well prepared. It should be seamless to our customers."
In a further sign of assurance, the workweek began flawlessly in New Zealand and Australia, the first industrialized countries to go back to work. Offices and factories opened there Sunday afternoon California time.
"There are no disruptions that have been reported (in those countries)," said David Lema,head of the state's "Follow the Sun" program, which has been tracking events by placing state employees in strategic points around the globe. Employees were stationed in New York and Washington todayto monitor the opening of the major financial markets.
At the state Office of Emergency Services' command post on Meadowview Road, the mood was decidedly relaxed. A dozen or so employees stared at computer screens; television monitors showed football and golf. The center was expected to shut down at 7 p.m. today.
While declaring that everything was fine, OES Director Dallas Jones urged Californians who'd stockpiled food, generators and other emergency supplies to hang onto their provisions, "in case we should have another event, like an earthquake."
Converting supplies back to cash might be a problem, with some stores imposing a no-return policy. One Sears store in San Jose was taking back portable generators, but charging a 20 percent "re-shelving fee."
Those who'd stockpiled defended their efforts, saying it was better to be safe than sorry.
"All of us got a little too caught up with the moment," said Denis Korn,a Nevada City resident who'd stored about a year's worth of food and other provisions. "However, you couldn't help doing that. Everything indicated a need to prepare."
The consolation for Korn was that Y2K was a source of revenue; he runs a company called Essentials 2000 that sells emergency supplies through catalogs and via the Internet. Sales approached $2 million over the past 18 months, although business tailed off in recent months, he said.
Korn said no customers have asked for refunds yet. Nor is he about to dump the food he'd personally stored.
Bee news services contributed to this report.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 03, 2000
How is this a Y2K bug? The cards were set to expire on dec 31. this has NOTHING to do with a y2k programming error. Do you even read what you post?
-- Realist (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 03, 2000.
I thought the title was funny as well...first glitch? hardly...significant? hardly.
These were more interesting, and some were due to y2k problems (though some were not, see classifications): http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=002BT7
-- FactFinder (FactFinder@bzn.com), January 03, 2000.
How many "1st" glitches can you have during an event. No wonder things are going so well...the clowns doing the counting can't get past the first finger.
Homer-thanks for the post, this isn't directed at you.
-- stupified (email@example.com), January 03, 2000.
"...their automated-teller machine cards wouldn't work at grocery stores and other outlets that take ATM cards. The cards worked fine at cash machines, said Golden 1 Vice President David Thompson".
If the cards were programmed to expire on Dec 31st, WHY did they work fine at cash machines????
-- Sheila (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 03, 2000.
Tsk, Tsk, tsk .... Sheila, SHEILA!! Please no lay questions of our panel of experts, Messrs. Realist and Factfinder .... These matters are highly technical in nature, and you simply wouldn't comprehend the explanation.
-- SH (email@example.com), January 03, 2000.
That sounds like a "vehicle hit a utility pole" problem.
-- The New Excuse (firstname.lastname@example.org?), January 03, 2000.
>"...their automated-teller machine cards wouldn't work at grocery >stores and other outlets that take ATM cards. The cards worked fine >at cash machines, said Golden 1 Vice President David Thompson". >If the cards were programmed to expire on Dec 31st, WHY did they >work fine at cash machines????
"Normally the cards don't carry any expiration dates, he said. "
The cash machines probably weren't programmed to read the expiration dates.
-- Realist (email@example.com), January 03, 2000.