The security zone starts right next to an abstract image on the wall. A black box, 1.17 meters wide, two meters long, about two meters high, weighs 1.1 tons, the walls are normal steel. Then lock the door and all is well. For 10,138 euros you can take a deep breath.
10,138 euros, that’s what the shelter costs, which is located here, as a display, next to the desks, directly on the wall of the office of the company Bunker-Schutzraum System Deutschland, BSSD for short. The Pergamon Museum is directly opposite the company headquarters.
If you also want to be safe from machine gun bullets in such a shelter, you can order it with armored steel walls, but then it costs 15,000 euros. The box is a display, a presentation for customers.
It is good that there is still a shelter at least in the office. The BSSD store is completely empty. “Garages, security cells, filter systems, everything is gone,” says Katrin Piejde, owner of BSSD. “There are still some steel plates left, nothing more.”
The aftermath of the Ukrainian war. The boss says that when the war started, “access to our website increased tenfold. Before we had 100 to 300 a day, then more than 10,000 overnight.” More inquiries mean more orders.
“The number of orders has increased considerably,” says the owner of the company, but does not give exact figures. “Most called and said, ‘Can I get it tomorrow?’
They are symptoms of fear. The fear that the war could also reach Germany, that it could break into peaceful areas. That is why a company that builds bunkers in gardens, offers tank garages and shelters, and protects technical facilities and embassy buildings is booming.
Delivery times have lengthened considerably
The boom is already causing delivery times to be three months longer than before. Typically a standard shelter is with the customer six to eight weeks after ordering, now they have to wait months. In the first two weeks of the war, when the rush was greatest, BSSD manned the phone line from 8 am to 10 pm; ten calls from clients and interested parties arrived every hour to the six telephones. The eight BSSD employees were under constant stress.
And a handful of those customers were of a special breed. They saved the phone call, they also saved an email, they saved any questions, one look at the BSSD website was enough. After that, they just clicked on their PayPal account.
“We had five customers who saw what they wanted on the home page and immediately transferred the money,” says Katrin Piejde. And it wasn’t about 15,000 euros for a hostel. “Suddenly there were sometimes more than €200,000 in our account,” says Katrin Piejde. “Panic buying. They paid in advance to make sure they get their protection. But then they want it delivered right away.”
You can get a bunker for 200,000 euros
For the money you get, for example, a bunker or a special type of garage or an excellently equipped shelter. In mid-March, a client had ordered a bulletproof garage with a contemporary eco design. The facade cladding is mixed with rapeseed oil. Cost: around 200,000 euros.
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But immediate delivery, of course, is not possible. Especially not with bunkers sunk five meters deep. First of all, you need a building permit. On the other hand, the idea of transferring money immediately is not so bad strategically. “Prices,” says Katrin Piejde, “are increasing every day.” Suddenly the armament companies need a lot of steel, costs are going up in general and BSSD is also affected by this and is passing on the increases.
The manufacturer of filter systems drastically increases its prices
His company also supplies nuclear, biological and chemical filtration systems for installation in the shelters, but the equipment maker, which supplies BSSD, has already announced a 70 percent price hike for April 1. A filter system in BSSD currently costs between 10,000 and 12,000 euros.
Katrin Piejde says that her company will probably sell 100 filter systems in 2022. “There are usually only 30 to 50 a year.” There were buyers “who ordered filter systems without asking if they were suitable for their respective room”.
Of course, most customers want to know more about it. “Many have been thinking about buying a shelter or bunker for some time,” says the head of the company. “But they always put it off. But now they order.”
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Interestingly, in the first two weeks of the war almost only women called. “Usually it’s much less,” says Katrin Piejde. This gender distribution suited him perfectly. “When women call, they usually make a purchase decision as well.”
The calls are also a seismograph of the level of anxiety in society
BSSD calls are at the same time a kind of mental seismograph of the degree of fear in society. Most of the time, these are not normal, rational discussions with clients; the restlessness, the panic, the feeling of helplessness resonates quite frequently. Katrin Piejde had a young single mother on the phone who desperately said, “I am so scared. I already called the police and other authorities, but no one could take my fears away.” Katrin Piejde asked carefully, sensitively trying to calm the woman down.
But the mother lived in an apartment, so the chances of BSSD are limited. In reality, Katrin Piejde could only recommend a shelter, similar to the one at the BSSD office.
A theoretical solution, there was no order. But the conversation had a positive effect. “I got the feeling that he was happy to be able to talk to someone,” says Piejde.
An elderly couple wanted to have their basement equipped with a shelter. The two of them sent a very nice email to BSSD, their biggest request: please get the job done as quickly as possible.
However, there was also a very enlightened client, an older man, who affably explained to Katrin Piejde over the phone that his grandchildren had bought a property and, to her amazement, discovered a bunker. “It’s nice,” the BSSD chief replied. -“Do you believe?” -“Well, because of the current situation, that’s good.” -“The bunker is 30, 40 years old, can it rot?” -“You can’t, steel doesn’t rot.” -“Yes, and now what do I do with it?” -“Put a table, a shelf and groceries, then you’re ready.” -“Okay, if you think so “.
Yes, that is what Katrin Piejde meant. She couldn’t offer anything else. “The most we can do is review the system.”