Paddling pools become precious commodities

Simon Brouder

YOU could call it the great paddling pool famine of 2013. With Kerry basking in glorious sunshine for more than a fortnight there are a few precious commodities that are now in short supply across the county.

One of the most sought-after of these summery items is the humble paddling pool which can't be found for love nor money anywhere in Kerry.

Families with children are desperate to get their hands on them to help keep the youngsters cool but such is the demand that it's nigh on impossible to lay your hands on one in the Kingdom.

Toy shops and outdoor stores have been sold out of the little inflatable pools for weeks and even the main national suppliers have run out with nary a pool to be hand in Ireland or even in the UK.

The demand for the pools, which are being snapped off shop shelves as soon as they've been stacked, has even seen some larger outlets set up waiting lists. One major retailer has told customers seeking one to come back next year!

One shop that's been dealing with hundreds of calls from parents and families desperately seeking a paddling pool for the kids is Caball's Toymaster toy store on Tralee's Bridge Street.

Proprietor Anne Laide, whose supply of the portable pools ran out within days of the heatwave starting, says she been inundated with calls from people looking for them.

"We had a stock of them sitting upstairs for the last four years and we were beginning to wonder if we'd ever sell them. We'd actually just dropped the price when the heatwave started to try and move them. Then the heatwave started and they were snapped up within days," she said.

"Now we can't get them at all. The problem is even the national suppliers here and in the UK are also totally sold out. You can't get them for love nor money and every second call we get is from someone looking for one," said Anne Laide.

Even as The Kerryman visited Caball's Anne was on the phone making a call in which she managed to secure a solitary paddling pool

While Caballs have been cleared out of paddling pools they still have a huge range of beach and garden toys which are also proving hugely popular.

"We've sold a huge number of waterpistols and other items like goalposts, footballs and other toys. We've got sandpits for gardens too and the bags of sand having been selling very well but we do have plenty of those and I don't think we've ever sold as many buckets and spades," she said.


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