Instead of celebrating the New Year on December 31, 1999, many people across the world were anticipating a global meltdown that would directly affect financial affairs. The Y2K Bug (or Millennium Bug) was an issue found in the coding of computers and computer systems that many feared would wreak havoc on anything operated by computers and result in major social disruption.
Prior to the year 2000, computers read years as two digits (67 for 1967). People thought that once 2000 rolled around, computers would interpret ‘00’ as 1900 instead of 2000, throwing the whole system into disarray. This notion caused people to go into a state of frenzy since almost everything in the modern world runs on computerized systems. There was panic that air traffic control systems would go down, the 911 system and hospital equipment would fail, there would be banking and accounting irregularities, nuclear power and bombs would be affected, and food shortages would occur, among other things.
To prepare for the prospect of financial and social turmoil, many people took action to protect themselves and their families. It wasn’t uncommon for people to withdraw large sums of money from their bank accounts in the months leading up to December 31, 1999. People also made sure to stockpile essential items that might help them survive in the event of widespread chaos. Backup generators, nonperishable food items, water, and medical supplies were popular purchases during this time of panic. Some people also made sure to secure their residences to protect against unwanted intruders and looters.
Of course, January 1 came and went without a fuss and it was just another New Year’s Day.