People are WAKING UP.... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've got some news from the cold country. I live in the fastest growing suburb in the state of Minnesota--just outside St. Paul-- (I KNOW, I KNOW), and a funny thing happened to me at the fireplace store today.

My husband and I were checking out woodburning fireplaces (found a great one that heats the *entire* home with no drafting)--and the salesman casually mentioned, "Say, you wouldn't be looking for an alternative heat source for Y2k, would you?"

Needless to say, we were *surprised* to hear anyone up here mention *that* word, but we looked him right in the eye and said, "Yes, why?"

He was a pretty nice guy--very open about things--and he said, "Well, our "woodburning" stove/fireplace business has increased FIVE FOLD over the past 6 months. We get at least 15 phone calls a day just asking questions about Y2k and heating options. I'm expecting a big rush in July or August. Come September, I don't think people will be able to get these stoves or fireplaces." I asked him if that was because the manufacturers would not be able to keep up with demand, and he said, "No, it's because there is just not enough of the *stack* materials to go around." So people may get the stove--but no stack to install it with!

Needless to say, we're buying a fireplace this weekend! :>) More people are preparing *quietly* than I thought. This guy also said he's expecting a panic towards the end of the year. I thought this information was interesting because this is a very upscale neighborhood (3M territory)--golfcourses everywhere--and it seems people are waking up. Can't wait till September....

-- Scarlett (, February 24, 1999


Maybe your salesman is right about the new interest but then again maybe he is just taking advantage of the Y2k craze. It's a personal judgement call when you hear any saleman taking that route but as for me I never have and never will trust anyone that is trying to sell me something. There is just too much motivation to make a sale, for me not to see, that these people will tell you the sky was falling if they thought it would help them sell you an umbrella.

-- (No @ sale . com), February 24, 1999.

I think it's true about folks quietly preparing. I finally downloaded some stuff from very mainstream sources (FEMA, UTNE reader Y2K stuff, the Portand Oregonian article) to bring to work. Thanks to whoever sent the link to the Portland Oregonian...anyway we all got a nice bonus in our most recent paycheck and I handed him the materials and said that maybe it would be a good time to put this info out as some folks are living paycheck to paycheck and Y2K prep would be as good as any use of the "found" money. He then told me that ha had been attending seminars at his church for months regarding Y2K preparation. I can't say I was surprised by that just more surprised that he didn't say anything about it to us.

Then after work I went to one of our better grocery stores and one of the few places that we can get certain things in bulk and the bins with whole pepper corns, whole wheat berries, split peas, and some others were completely empty. Very unusual for this store.

I do think that there may be more "herd" movement than prevoiusly suspected or maybe the NBC coverage caused a short term buying spree?

-- Cathy (preparing@alaska.usa), February 24, 1999.


I have to say, "No, no, no." Sorry...this guy was about as "low pressure" as you can get. He even told us to wait until the "Home Show" next week--as prices would be going way down.

-- Scarlett (, February 24, 1999.

The dealer from which we purchased our wood stove last year has the same concern about chimney materials. In January, he ordered 3 semi-trailers full of chimney pipe and rent warehouse space to store it. He said that during the energy crisis in the 70s he was badly bitten by lack of pipe and does not intend to be caught flat-footed again. He has also purchased an inventory of woodstoves roughly 8 times his normal inventory. He runs the largest stove shop in this part of the state and said that he fully expects to be the only dealer in the area with pipe by mid-summer. His woodstove installs are currently booked through May 99.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, February 24, 1999.

In spite of the voiced skepticism by, I can confirm the issue of shortage of chimney stack. I have been keeping in contact with certain businesses which I view as "awareness barometers"... one being that of the wood stove business. My home is already heated with wood and has been for years .. so I have no vested interest in purchasing any chimney pipe or other materials. In a recent fact-finding foray, my travels took me to two unrelated wood-stove retailers. Both independently of each other mentioned a shortage of Class-A fireproof chimney stack material. One mentioned that much of it was manufactured in Canada... and that they'd been backordered for weeks.

They hoped to get more in "soon" .. but weren't sure when.

Just another couple of data points.

(Incidentally .. I too am in cold-country .. but not in Minnesota.)


-- Dan (, February 24, 1999.

PS, with regard to my above post, it is important to note that he did not tell us this until after our stove was purcahsed and installed. At the time we purchased last year, no mention was made of Y2K by either us or them. We have since been a bit more open and I believe he is only responding to realistic demand.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, February 24, 1999.

Howdy, neighbor.

In Wisconsin its about the same. But I would like to say also that Ive found most salesman pretty helpful, and even knowledgeable, about Y2K. Ther isn't mush reason for most (generators, wood stoves, fuel, a host of other things) to worry about pressuring anyone! They pretty much have their hands full already!

-- Jon Johnson (, February 24, 1999.

I bought a wood-burning stove late last summer. At that time, our stove dealer asked me, very politely, almost hesitantly, why I was buying it. I told him ... he said he had 20 calls and walk ins during the prior week...all of which were buying for the same reason...10 of which were programmers. He pulled out his trade industry magazine and read me an article in it, it explained the y2k problem, told dealers to stock up now and expect to see an increase in out of season purchases and a general increase overall, to urged them not to go for the buck by selling units that require electricity, but instead to steer their customers toward buying units that would function without electricity.

Frank has stayed in touch, and his business has taken off...I went by two weeks ago and couldn't get a chance to talk with him cause so many people were there (a few buying BBQ's) but most looking at the wood burning stoves....

-- Shelia (, February 24, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ