Customers get creative after Seattle stores sell out of snow supplies

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SEATTLE -- Shelves are empty at local hardware stores as customers stormed in for supplies early Tuesday to clear the snow and ice.

At Stoneway Hardware in Wallingford, customers keep asking the same question: Do you have de-icer?

"We do not have de-icer, I'll have some more on Thursday morning," store manager Jerry Smith said over and over. Eventually, he put up a sign in the window.

"The city is out," he said. "So the phone rings off the hook and you try to accommodate people as much as you can."

His store might be out of snow shovels for the time being, but he fixed up a customer with a regular shovel with a sharp edge.

"Thanks for the 'snow' shovel!" the customer calls out.

"Well, I'm glad we had something that'll work for you," Smith replied.

Instead of salt, Smith doled out sand bags. It's the type of creative substitution seen on the streets of Seattle.

Outside Bishop Blanchet High School, two men are throwing down pellets of water softener, typically used for mineral-hardened water at the school.

"People using it for water softener -- well, we're using it as an alternative," Vladimir Firsov said. "No other choice now, they bought everything. We used to have these kinds of bags, Ice Melt, lots of it. Gone."

Firsov is hoping the school gets more Ice Melt in before the next snow storm hits.

Down the road, Colleen Engle is using a broom to sweep snow off of her electric car after warming the car from the inside to cause the snow to melt.

She also showed some more innovation by insulating her car plug using a plastic shopping bag.

"I wrapped it around real good and then I secured it with a chip clip," she said, laughing. "It worked! Really, it did!"

At the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Some stores are taking pre-orders for snow supplies to be delivered ahead of the weekend storm. Smith predicts he'll be selling de-icer right off the truck shipment on Thursday.

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