Observations: Water and Banking (Columbus, Ohio)

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Columbus, Ohio, 11:30 a.m. December 31, 1999

In Columbus, the hot Y2K item is water. Local bottling plants are running second shifts to keep up with demand; at Aldi's yesterday, the bottled water section was empty. At Meijer's both bottled water and 5 gallon "Emergency Water Containers" were the prominent features of their Y2K display shelves - the only other item to be found in that section was paper towels. Local news stations and newspapers have noted that residents are stocking up on water and canned foods.

I entered the local branch of National City Bank this morning with some trepdiation; I had hoped to be there by nine a.m., when the bank opened, as lines yesterday had been long. To my surprise, few customers were in line, although by the time I left, the lines had lengthened. I asked the teller if she had seen any unusual withdrawals; she said that one customer had emptied his account.

I then asked a bank officer for a print-out of several accounts, and asked what kind of y2k activity she had seen. She said that only "a few" customers had withdrawn large amounts of money, but "many" customers had asked for print-outs of their accounts. When I told her I'd written a y2k novel, she asked me what I thought would happen. I said the equivalent of nobody knows, but it's good to be prepared. She then indicated that she had batteries, water and extra food.

It's quite warm here, by the way, for December - weathermen are predicting temperatures in the high 40's.

-- Nancy McKibben (nmckibben@worldnet.att.net), December 31, 1999

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