After hearing pleadings from colleagues, Twitter users and family members about where to find a fan, we decided to investigate the situation further. Is there cause for a state of emergency in Auckland? Are people turning into sweaty, inconsolable messes due to sticky summer temperatures hitting as high as 28 degrees? rn
For those not based in Auckland, the humid conditions have been described as similar to nestling inside a large damp sock. It’s serious. We contacted The Warehouse, Noel Leeming and Kmart to see if reports were true about fans being a sell out.
It seems not many wanted to front the hot topic, as only Kmart responded, with a spokesperson saying they had checked stock levels and fans were still in stock.
A search on The Warehouse’s website revealed one 15cm white desk fan still in stock for $15, while the black version had sold out. There were no product listings to be found on the cooling fans section of Noel Leeming’s site.
A thread on Reddit confirms Aucklanders are hot, bothered and looking for answers, with someone asking on January 31, “Is anyone else unable to find fans in Auckland? Talked to a few employees and the fan prices have doubled, most places are completely sold out.”
One person replied, “I work at Noel Leeming and every single store and supplier is out of stock. There is a shortage of fans throughout the whole country.”
Real Groovy had a helpful suggestion for a Twitter user searching desperately for fans, offering a picture of Nicolas Cage enjoying a cool breeze caressing his long locks.
“Hope this finds you well/cools you a bit,” they said.
— Real Groovy (@Real_Groovy) February 3, 2016
Meanwhile, an enterprising Nelsonian listed a $400 fan on Trade Me for the “fanless Aucklanders”.
“Look guys, we feel sorry for you really,” the write up on the item read.
“I mean we are having a fantastic summer here too, but we have space, and beaches we can ride bikes to and rivers we can play in. So given you are all stuck in a traffic bound city, with no space to move, no air to breath, I’m going to offer up my beat up old fan to ease your woes.
Mortgage a few cms of your section to fund it, and this evantair floor fan can be all your once you pay for shipping as well.”
Unsurprisingly, the fan didn’t sell. It seems Aucklanders aren’t desperate enough for fans to tolerate pot shots at their city from a South Islander.
Data from Trade Me and PriceMe shows that people are taking to the internet to find themselves a cooling device.
Trade Me spokesperson Jeff Hunkin says the sweltering summer temperatures have been reflected in activity on its site.
“In January we saw a 31 percent lift in the number of fans sold (in the home & living > heating & cooling > fans category) when compared to the same month last year,” he said.
“We also saw a lift in the average sale price of fans in that category – ticking up 23 percent to just under $50 per fan sold compared to last year.”
He said there’d been a huge lift in searches for fans or anything related to fans.
Fan-related searches on Trade Me over the past 50 days
The top five search items were: fan/s, pedestal fan, cooling fan, ceiling fan, and electric fan.
PriceMe owner Henrik Johansson said referrals for electric fans increased 13 times in the last seven days compared to the summer average.
Air conditioners were also in hot demand, increasing seven times in the last seven days.
He said the average product price that consumers were interested in was $251.
So, what relief is there for fanless Aucklanders who are desperate for a gust of cool air?
Trade Me isn’t short on fan listings and not everyone is an opportunist, as some are listed for as little as $4.50.
Kmart says they still have fans in stock, while Mitre 10 is also said to be well stocked.
DIY, no-cost options include putting your feet into a bucket of cold water, frozen hot water bottles or asking a loved one to blow air repeatedly on your face, a la Nicholas Cage.
Small children could also be paid pocket money to stand there and fan you with a large leaf like the pharaoh you are.
And if you’re really desperate, you could always camp out under your desk in your icy, air-conditioned office until this heat wave has passed.
But all silliness aside, those who think this fan shortage blows (as well as retailers under pressure) need not fear: temperatures are predicted to drop to low 20s in the second half of February, bringing to an end the humidity that’s plagued weary Aucklanders the past month.