The hunt for the last fan in Sweden: How the heatwave left Swedes sweating

The hunt for the last fan in Sweden: How the heatwave left Swedes sweating
File photo of an electric fan. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT
Sweden's prolonged heatwave this summer has left locals scrambling for ways to keep cool, and led to unexpected consequences. The Local contributor Viktoriia Zhuhan went searching for the last electric fan in Sweden.

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The only electric fan you can find in Malmö’s Jula store is the one cooling down the client service desk. In chain Bauhaus, which is located in the nearby Svagerstorp area, the situation is the same. As Sweden is going through another “hottest summer day in history”, stores had long run out of fans and air conditioners and the next supply is not arriving anytime soon.

READ ALSO: Sweden experiences hottest July in 260 years

“Anyone knows ANYWHERE that still has fans in stock?” reads a desperate message in a Malmö expat Facebook group on July 25th. Emma Gould from Eslov, 30, checked out a dozen household appliances stores in Malmö and Lund. “Basically every place we went to said they had completely sold out,” she tells The Local in a message, and “most staff laughed when we asked as we were obviously not the first ones”.

The Local’s request about fans or air conditioning was the “59th since (the) morning,” according to the Bauhaus worker. He recommended calling the store shortly before visiting as any new supply gets sold immediately. German chain Mediamarkt still had a sign up reading “we are sold out of AC and fans” when The Local visited, but the staff showed several dozen boxes with floor fans that had just arrived. Their recommendation was similar: if you want to get it, buy it quick.

With good reason. A petrol station in Nättraby sold a fan for a four-digit price at an auction on July 30th, Expressen reported. According to the station owner, it was “the last fan in Sweden”.

Staff at Rusta, Electrolux, and Elgiganten in Malmö told The Local they were not getting any more new fans this season; at Jala, Bauhaus, and Mediamarkt the staff said they were receiving a small supply that will run out quickly. 

According to the press officers at Bauhaus and Elgiganten, sales this summer went up so much that the stores went out of stock across the country. Electrolux, which manufactures air conditioners, produced more this year for the Swedish market but they sold out at many of their retailers. 

“We are doing everything we can to provide more ACs to Sweden, but the lead time for production and transportation of the products is unfortunately long and it takes at least three months for the products to be back in stock,” wrote Arba Kokalari, Electrolux Group PR manager, in an email to The Local.

Justine Yuk Hua Chan from Malmö, 41, is not impressed with those explanations. She hasn’t seen fans run out of stock in six years in Sweden until now.

“The weather was already unusually warm into spring so you’d think the stores would capitalize on this and ensure the supply. I reckon people would be willing to pay to just grab a fan from the stores,” she wrote. Frustrated with the limited supply, Chan bought her fan through Amazon.

Sweden's national weather forecaster SMHI thinks differently, arguing the 2018 summer heatwave was not easy to predict. And early this spring, when cold weather embraced the whole country, nobody expected such a drastic turn to incredibly hot weather soon after.

READ ALSO: Tropical nights and lightning storms thunder through Sweden

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