Feeling hot, hot, hot

Fan frenzy strikes metro as heatwave continues

Published on July 31, 2014
The Bowring Park Splash Pad was filled with children of all ages trying to keep cool Thursday. Elsewhere in the city, stores faced a run on fans as people everywhere tried to deal with the heat. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

If you are lucky enough to have a fan in your house, cherish it. The St. John’s metro area is facing a fan famine.

With temperatures reaching record highs this month, people have been trying desperately to keep cool. But the high demand for fans and backyard pools have stripped store shelves bare, leaving consumers high and dry — and very hot.

Cooling equipment in general is scarce in metro. Retailers have little or no fans, cooling systems or backyard pools in stock and anything they do have is flying off the shelves.

“As quick as they come in they’re gone. We had a shipment here yesterday, they filled up their shelves, and this morning we had nothing,” said Denika Hennebury, duty manager at the Canadian Tire in Mount Pearl. “Every second phone call is, ‘Do you have any swimming pools? Do you have any fans? Do you have any air conditioners?’”

Hennebury says fan sales have doubled from last year.

“It’s been like this ever since the beginning of July, but the last two weeks have been crazy.”

Her store is not alone; finding a fan is now nearly impossible. Canadian Tire, Walmart, Future Shop, Rossy — all have been stripped bare of the hot-weather necessity.

Sandra Sharpe works at Rossy in the Village Shopping Centre. She says they get dozens of people looking for fans every day.

“Our regular fans have been gone for two weeks,” she said. “I’d say we could have sold at least 200 more”

“We don’t have anything at a decent price. A $500 Dyson is pretty much all we have left,” said Brian Carrera, sales manager of Future Shop, who sold out completely on Tuesday.

Carrera says Future Shop may have more in next week, but in the meantime people are getting desperate.“Someone was coming in today looking for a $30 fan and bought a $250 one, because that’s all we had.”

One couple travelled to St. John’s all the way from Bay Roberts in search of a fan.

“We’ve tried everywhere. There’s nothing anywhere. There’s nothing in Bay Roberts, and there’s nothing here,” said the woman, as she stared at the empty shelves at the Walmart on Topsail Road. “We were borrowing a friend’s fan, but now we have to give it back because it’s so hot and they need it.”

“I’ve tried all the Walmart’s, all the Canadian Tires, everywhere,” said another customer. “I’m keeping cool by staying in my car, but I need a fan for my home. It’s so hot.”

Backyard pools are no different. One Walmart employee says they have not had any for at least a month.

Because fans are a seasonal product, most locations were uncertain if and when they would have a new supply.  However, Future Shop says they may have new stock in by the middle of next week. Canadian Tire on Elizabeth Avenue has a small supply of 10-inch box fans.

The Telegram