Now that nine out of ten Americans have heard of the potential Y2K computer failures, we're realizing that we may have nothing to fear but each other. It's people, not machines, that will be the biggest problem on January 1, 2000, according to the 1,002 respondents to Wirthlin Worldwide's April National Quorum telephone survey. Most expect that panic buying and stockpiling will create artificial shortages of goods, even if there are no glitches in manufacturing and distribution.
One industry everyone is watching, though, is banking. Brittain Associates in Atlanta polled 1,015 adults in March, and now estimates that consumers could sock away $32 billion in coins and currency by December 31. That's based on the 53 percent of respondents who said they planned to have a little extra on hand, just in case.