On This Day Pre-Y2K

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January 19, 2000 Permalink

I am more convinced than at any time up till now, that the extensive preparations we’ve made were very prudent.

Something whispers to me deep down: “Be still. Wait. Watch. None of it was in vain.”

I believe that by mid-March it will become quite clear that those who prepared will be geatly relieved that they did.

Layoffs following a severe Market plunge will chill the economy almost suddenly. Recession will be extremely short. The Depression eclipsing it will be brutally long and difficult.

The truly wise will resume preparing in earnest within a month, IMHO.

Look at what oil has power to do in the past. It is moreso now, in spite of mass-incredulity.

Frightening changes are now inevitable. Feel the wind.

—Joseph Almond, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 01/19/00

Along with many others in this forum I have had mixed feelings about having prepared so extensively for what has so far turned out to be a minor event. However, something happened to me today that made me feel not so foolish.

I went to the local post office (suburb of northern Calif.) to mail a late Christmas package to a relative that I didn’t have time to deliver personally. As I got to the front of the line I saw that many people were turning away in dismay or worse. When I got to the counter the post office workers informed me that the power was out and they could not do anything. ALL the scales, ALL the rates, and ALL the clerical bookkeeping and records were electronically generated and maintained. I told the clerk upon hearing that they could not weigh my (small) package that I would gladly save time by overestimating its weight by a few pounds. The postal workers responded that they still could not do this because I also wanted insurance and return receipt, and they could not enter the package into the system for assignment and tracking. All of this was explained to me in LOUD, CLEARLY ENUNCIATED, SIMPLE SENTENCES in a very condescending manner. I left the line in dismay or worse.

As I left, I considered that this was the central post office of a relatively large city. I observed that they evidently had *NO* contingency plan for operating with power out. I estimated that 9 out of 10 customers were being turned away, or an operating efficiency of about 10% (being generous to the post office). From reading other postings on this bulletin board (although my local agencies refused to answer my repeated requests for information) that most emergency agencies across the country were bracing for a potential electrical downtime of up to 3 weeks. If Y2k had caused a power outage, how many other large entities that we normally rely on and take for granted would have been caught with their proverbial pants down? And what would the consequences of those cascading failure modes been?

I think our society is not nearly as stable as some pundits among us would like us all to believe, and that the money I had spent in Y2k preparation on behalf of my family was not at all ill advised. One subsystem failure away from societal disruption is as close as I would ever want to be from that dark possibility.

The relatively few people at work and around the neighborhood that I had quietly informed of possible risk have mostly approached me and gently inquired about how I felt now. However, my real feelings these past three months have been of relative calm, due to the knowledge that I had done all that I feasibly could have done in preparation for possible problems. The peace of mind has been and continues to be worth the price.

Thanks very much, Ed & all.

—zygote, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 01/19/00

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