Computer remediation and grocery store : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This evening, I went to the grocery store. A very large chain in the Southwest. Posted at the entrance was a large sign asking the customers to be patient while the store upgraded it's computer and software systems. it Y2K related? Who knows, but seems very suspicious considering the timing. I thought the grocery stores were supposed to be alright. Why put a big sign at the entrance of the store. Are they afraid the people might panic?Is the problem that bothersome that they have to tell everyone to be patient with them?

-- B.Clark (, October 26, 1999


I don't know. Once you got inside, did you need patience? Could you tell there was a problem? Was anybody jones'in for their Rice Krispies, or their place in line, or to slide their card thru the slot?

-- (normally@ease.notnow), October 26, 1999.

There is a store that I frequent where, if I pay by credit card, I have observed that the clerks use an expiration date of "9912" rather than the real one (Nov 2000). This has been going on for months.

Tick Tock.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 26, 1999.

Moor mud-wrestling.

-- Andy (, October 26, 1999.

Have thought the possibility the store may be trying their contingency plan for Y2K, by doing it the old way.

-- CC (, October 26, 1999.

I put a lot of credit card authorizations thru VisaNet. Some cards with expiration dates of 2000+ work and some do not. Some, of course, won't authorize because of legitimate reasons, but I usually try the 12/99 just to see if it is a date thing or a balnce thing. It is not card specific.

-- Darla (, October 26, 1999.

As someone who worked for a company that handled banks credit card transactions, I can speak to this issue. I was in technical documentation for Total System Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Synovous, Inc., in Columbus, GA in 1996 and 1997. In late 1997 we received word that we were to write a bulletin describing a change in the system that was to go out to our clients, who were the banks themselves. Working with the banks for months, our programmers were apparently trying to fix the problem of expiration dates on credit cards that were starting to be after 12/99 that obviously weren't going to work. They attempted to change the hard coding for the expiration date but we're talking about a HUGE proprietary mainframe system. The system itself was housed in three different huge buildings in Columbus. They realized there was no way in hell they could change or even find all of the date indicators to make sure it all went smoothly. (As most systems, this one, too, had new code piled over old code, layered over older code, placed on top of even older code, etc). You know what the big solution was? DISABLE the field! Yep, that's right. Any of you who use a POS (Point of Sale) credit card machine (the swiper) try putting in any expiration date after the current month and year, of course. It will work! I recently worked at another company where I got a chance to try this and it does work. When we wrote the bulletin about the change, we had to have 17, count 'em SEVENTEEN different meetings about how to word this thing so that we got the point across to the customer service operators (who would be reading it) without exactly getting the point across, if you know what I mean. We couldn't just come right out and say that the field was disabled. That was about the time my husband and I started getting it.

-- Preparing (, October 26, 1999.

Question for Preparing...

Will the "deleted field" temporary fix work after 01/01/2000?

Just curious...

-- Uncle Bob (UNCLB0B@Y2KOK.ORG), October 26, 1999.

Uncle Bob--the field wasn't deleted, it was disabled. Much easier than actually changing and fixing all the date fields. And I am guessing it will work after 12/31/99. Expiration dates of anytime work now, only because the field has become meaningless. You can put almost any value in it and it will work, unless they have fixed it in the last 9-10 months. In other words, since the field was disabled, it doesn't care what you put there. Has no bearing on anything. As I understand it, that's how they got the mortgage loan ending dates of 2027 and such (that is when mine is paid off, WOO-HOO!) to not cause any problems. Just disable the little pesker!

-- preparing (, October 26, 1999.

So, Preparing, what you essentially just stated is that even expired credit cards will work, right?

-- OR (, October 26, 1999.

For the banks who are clients of the operating system of Total System Services, Inc., YES. As of early 1998. (I kind of doubt if they couldn't remediate all the date fields then, that they could have done it now.)

-- preparing (, October 26, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ