Thanks to snow, a run on roof rakes

The consumer demand for roof rakes – a device that many consumers didn’t even know existed until this winter – has grown to a feverish pitch, according to media reports around the country. 

At R.W. Hine Hardware in Cheshire, Conn., several hundred people lined up outside the store after a delivery came in, according to the New HavenRegister. Police had to be called to direct traffic. Another local dealer, Branford Building Supplies, had a waiting list with a couple hundred people who paid deposits. 

State and local officials in New England have been warning residents about the dangers of roof collapse because of heavy snow accumulation. This has set off a panic among some consumers, who have emptied the shelves of roof rakes, which are essentially long poles attached to a flat piece of metal used to shovel snow off roofs. They usually sell for between $20 and $60. 

News stations have carried images of senior centers, schools, car dealerships, and other businesses that have been damaged by their roofs caving in, adding to citizens’ fears.  

At Westport Hardware in Westport, Conn., George Plaitis told the Westport News that he hasn’t sold a roof rake in 10 years – until this winter. Now, like most of the dealers in the area, the store is sold out. 

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