The riots in England have had effect all over the country, even putting the opening fixtures of the English Premier League in jeopardy. One side effect was a run on baseball bats. While tents and camping equipment saw a rise in sales in the U.K. along with some other sporting goods, bat sales surged over 5,000 percent. Hopefully quick profits for bat sellers won’t be a lasting phenomenon, and the English riots will come to an end.
Were the purchases from people looking to protect property, or those who wanted to cause mayhem? Probably the latter for the most part. Here’s a look at other unexpected surges in business following disaster or strife.
Japan earthquake, nuclear disaster
The spike in sales of potassium iodide tablets and even Geiger counters might be expected after a major nuclear disaster – especially when the Fukushima event developed over weeks and looked like it was being covered up. Alongside those there were other, less obvious sales increases.
Underground bunker reservations surged, and more women are seeking to get married in Japan. U.S. companies saw spikes in doomsday bunker sales of up to 1,000 percent. From shelter tents against nuclear, biological, and chemical events starting at $9,500 to underground lairs priced in the millions, more people started paying money to buy survival.
Marriage agencies in Japan saw more women signing up in hopes of finding a partner. The face-to-face Japan had with disaster prompted a rethinking in many life areas.
Rodney King riots spark surge in gun sales
English hooligans buy bats, Americans looking to rampage like their guns. Why buy a bat when you can cause mayhem with an AR-15 and a sawed-off shotgun? A good portion of the sales went to fearful suburbanites and newly armed housewives as well, according to the Los Angeles Times. It wasn’t the first time strife in America brought a rise in gun sales, but it was one of the first well-documented by the media.
The election of Barack Obama and fear buying
After the election of President Obama, right-wing fear merchants began making money off the concerns of average people who were suddenly afraid. Gun sales rose sharply, and ammunition even more so. Gold shot up in value because of concerns about the dollar, hyped up by radio hucksters.
One of the more bizarre sales pitches were for seeds. Termed “survival seeds,” collections of garden seeds started being sold for $149 and came in a can which “could be buried to avoid confiscation.” Commercial bits promised that “in an economic meltdown, non-hybrid seeds could become more valuable than even silver or gold.”