I've Seen The Herd Move Last Week

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Last week I've seen the herd move, and move fast they did! Within one half hour, the price of gas went up in the Greater Toronto Area by 10 cents a litre or around 44 cents per gallon.

I was out and about mid-afternoon in the west end of Toronto in Mississauga, when I noticed an unusual phenomenon. Line-ups at gas bars were growing unusually long extending out into the street and blocking the curb lanes. At first, I couldn't understand the rush since the posted prices were what they normally are, give or take a few cents up or down on any given day.

I tuned my radio to a CFRB 1010, the news/talk radio station with a listenership close to a million during the John Oakley Show, probably the funniest, wittiest talk radio guy in the world (John, you owe me for this plug buddy but I won't come on to 'make funny' about Y2K), and they were announcing the price of gas was increasing moving westward from the east.

Within minutes of the announcements, people were speeding westward trying to find the lower priced outlets and shorter lines. This in itself was unusual as it was around 2:30 PM, about an hour before the afternoon unofficial race begins. The people who made it to the pumps were grinning away in 108 *F temperatures while saving themselves an average of about $8.00 per tank yet only if they were close to empty!! What some of the participants were paying in additional insurance costs for their $50,000 luxury cars and SUVs, made the scene actually comical.

The police were coming along trying to clear the lanes and intersections using their rude-sounding fog horns but as soon as they would force the cars to move along, others behind the cop car would turn on their turn signals and block the roadways while waiting to enter the gas bars. The hell with the people behind them trying to get somewhere and continue on with their work day, some without air conditioning. Totally a 'me first' attitude.

Consider Y2K coming up in a few short months. Could you imagine if the News cuts-in on regular programming in December to announce that rice is still available at the so-and-so with a limit of two bags per customer?!!!

Now, facts to consider to dispel what happened in Mississauga was strictly a 'local' thing of temporary insanity to save a few dollars and that it's not likely something to happen when prices rise or shortages occur elsewhere. Mississauga is one of the most affluent communities anywhere. The average house here is priced at around $225,000 dollars and is home to most of the high-tech Canadian Head Offices in Canada. The city is debt-free with a reserve account approaching one billion dollars. They have been working on the Y2K problems since 1989 when they went to a LAN network system yet even up until May/99 was still looking for a compliant transit scheduling system (one was found in London, Ontario). As to the common citizens attitude to Y2K disruption liabilities and the need to prepare, a suffice description would be one of down-right smugness and confidence about the event.

The last minute personal preparations, stockpiling of basic foods and home supplies everywhere, come this fall, will make last week's incident pale by comparison. You've read this. Please heed the warning and beat the rush.

Gary Allan Halonen

-- Gary Allan Halonen (njarc@ica.net), July 17, 1999


This is a tipoff to what the future could hold for those who have fallen into the Ed Yourdon syndrome (as much as I admire his work), where he recently stated something like its not going to happen, better to prepare for after 2000. We have been in the doldrums for a while, but the human herd tendency (a nation full of sheeple), could imitate the quick turn of a flock of birds, once something brings the realization home, that the possibility of the consequences of y2k being of a large order are not remote enough to ignore, could inspire anything to panic buying or just rampant anxiety or whatever. And we who "get it" would best be laying the groundwork so that the sheeple will have something to turn to (like low-tech self-sustainable practices) see http://bagelhole.hypermart.net (still waiting to be fixed up by 6 volunteer webdesigners, anyone else is welcome). Love ya, Bagelhole1

-- Tom Osher (bagelhole1@aol.com), July 22, 1999.

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