William Fulwider, director of press relations at the Office of Thrift Supervision, Department of the Treasury, took issue with Y2K-crisis author S.F. Tomajczyk's recommendation (Style Plus, June 2) that consumers keep at least two months of cash on hand to get past the first few weeks of the new millennium.
That advice is overreaching, Fulwider says. "To keep that much cash on hand, you would pull it out of a bank, thrift or credit union account, or cash in some stock. Not only is that completely unnecessary, [but] if many people followed the advice, it could be extraordinarily disruptive, creating the very problem the advice is meant to avoid."
Over the past three years, banking, thrift and credit union regulators have helped the nation's financial institutions prepare for any Y2K problems, says Fulwider. Between 97 and 98 percent of these institutions are on target to be ready for the date change. Of the institutions that aren't up to speed, he adds, "we expect most if not all to make it. We cannot guarantee that all will go without a hitch. We expect some glitches, perhaps caused by external forces. But we think they'll be moderate and temporary."
Financial institutions are also completing contingency plans to handle unexpected Y2K problems and maintain business as usual. Meanwhile, Fulwider says, the Treasury Department isn't recommending how much, if any, cash might be prudent for consumers to keep on hand. The "Y2K Checklist for Customers," a list of six steps that's available on the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion's Web site [www.Y2K.gov] and most other fed Webs, warns that making large withdrawals puts the money at risk of robbery and losing valuable interest.
Boning Up on Milk
More than two dozen people cued up at the Milk Mustache Mobile last Friday at George Washington University to try out as the next frothy upper lip in a national milk ad campaign.
Plastered with pics of previous milk-mustachioed celebs and the "Got Milk?" slogan, the cross-country caravan stopped by the Alexandria Waterfront Festival Saturday and three other local sites on its 100-city "Cruise for Calcium" tour this summer. The message for consumers: Medical science says Americans, especially teenagers, need more calcium in their diets to combat osteoporosis and help reduce high blood pressure, and milk is calcium rich.
Milk Mobile visitors received free one-minute, bone-density sonometer tests, blood-pressure tests, and photos of themselves with milk mustaches. "We had an orangutan do it in Mobile, Ala., and a panther in Tampa, Fla.," said one of the milk marketers encouraging participation, human and otherwise.
One photo from each city will appear on the national milk Web site [www.whymilk.com], and a national winner will appear as a future milk ad in People magazine. If you missed out, don't cry over spilled opportunity: The milksters will make their final stop in Baltimore on June 26, noon to 5 p.m., at the Maryland Science Center at Inner Harbor.
Oh, and if you ever wondered, the white mustache in those ads? Vanilla milkshake.
Got a consumer complaint? A smart consumer tip? E-mail details to firstname.lastname@example.org or write Don Oldenburg, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, 20071.