On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

February 8, 1999 Permalink

You can’t possibly think of everything you need to buy, so buy more of what you do think of. You will be able to barter it later.

Toilet paper, toilet paper, toilet paper!

Remember the “Twi-Light Zone” where Burgess Meredith loves to read? All he wants to do is read books but his wife and job are constantly keeping him from his books. He spends his lunch break reading in a bank vault and emerges to discover a holocaust of sci-fi proportions (he’s the only one left alive). He’s understandably shaken but quickly becomes excited as he approaches the Library. Finally, he can read all he wants. Then he breaks his glasses! Moral: go buy at least two pairs of glasses.

Don’t say, “I’ll buy it later.” If you think you should have it . . . get it now and take it home. Unless you have leather skin, it is not your responsibility to warn everyone you come in contact with. Concentrate on the important people in your life. I’ve found that a steady dose of facts can convince even stubborn ostriches. Encourage people to see Y2K in economic rather than purely technical terms. Let them know that 01/01/2000 will only be the start. The parts shortages and layoffs (in a best-case scenario) will play out over the first two quarters of 2000.

—Anonymous programmer, garynorth.com, 02/08/99

Stocking up on supplies will actually tend strongly to _buffer_ the problems, should they occur. America has incredible manufacturing and agricultural systems in place, and so people taking advantage of these systems in advance can only be good.

Which scenario is better:

Scenario 1: Very few people have food in their houses, water stored, medicines, heat sources, etc. They rely on being able to stop every day at the Pizza Hut or Burger King for food. They have no extra medicines at home. Outages in Y2K leave them with almost nothing, and long relief lines are common.

Scenario 2: Many people have stocked up with a month’s worth of canned goods, macaroni, etc. And with propane camp stoves, lanterns, blankets, water. Medicine to last a month or more. They can ride out the Y2K outages, if they occur, without standing in emergency lines.

Will such buying “cause” panic? Not per se, but, then, who cares? The prepared will still be prepared.

—Tim May, comp.software.year-2000, 02/08/99

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