Life in the time of Wuflu, Part 25: Supply chain distress

The supply chain is hurting.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve seen example after example of supply chain issues. If I’d seen just one or two, I could write this off. I’m seeing signs, sometime subtle signs, just about everywhere I go.

Local big box home improvement store: Normally, summer items would be on markdown or gone, fall items in stock and Christmas items heavily displayed. Summer items are still there, nothing marked down. Not much in the way of fall stuff. Three Christmas items in evidence.

I was actually there for some stainless steel fasteners. Oddly enough, two employees were busily going through those, pulling out opened packages (because if you just want one, go ahead and steal it) and reorganizing the remains. They were not restocking. The drawers looked to be about half full, with many common sizes of things like washers not available. These items are all sold under the Hillman brand and are all imported from China.

Interesting note: One wood splitter in stock. I should have checked things like chainsaws, axes and splitting mauls.

Grocery stores: I have not been to one grocery store in 3 towns that has not had empty spots, oddly stocked shelves (recall my story about drinks in the cleaner aisle), brands not normally sold in that store (many from Mexico) and higher prices. Items in short/no supply vary from store to store and day to day.

Gasoline: Prices are varying as much as 20 cents/gallon between stations. Prices seem to vary as a new load of gas arrives. Neither of these are normal in my location. 

Prescription drugs: Yes, I’m on some unusual things due to my migraines, but I’ve been on them for quite a while now and they’re not a new item for my drug store. The last few refills have been delayed due to availability. Never more than a couple of days, but still not normal.

I’ve had several folks tell me their shopping trips are now as much an exercise in “buying what we can” as they are “buying what we need”. You need eggs, they have peanut butter but no eggs, so you get peanut butter.

A couple of friends in the medical field tell me that PPE in hospitals is still a pain point. One said she had to wear the same single use, disposable mask all day-they are allowed one per day. The ones they have are not of the same quality as before the Wuflu. She said they often are “fuzzy” and shedding fibers. Made in China.

Topping off the things I’ve personally observed or been told, this shows up during my morning new troll: “Worried about more shortages, grocery stores are stockpiling goods“. 

My sense of snark fails me. All I can say is that anyone who isn’t stocking up is late to the party.

I’m starting to add yet more to the stocks here at The Freehold. Mrs. Freeholder’s normalcy bias is starting to break down just a smidge, and I’m taking advantage of that. I’m expecting an interesting winter.

Edit, 1249: Just found this article referenced at Commander Zero’s place. Get busy, people.

2 thoughts on “Life in the time of Wuflu, Part 25: Supply chain distress

  1. Tried to replace old worn bearings in my hay trailer this week . 3 axles and 6 bearing sets . Local supplier only had two sets . There made in China now and China is pissed at us . Meanwhile the old Timken shop in Bucyrus is mostly shut down . Mu Aunt and Uncle both retired from Timken with very good benefits . Make Timken Great Again !

  2. The supply chain issue may also be a transportation issue as well. I live in the California Central Valley where a lot of food is grown or raised. The prices of food items here is actually dropping. Skin on bone in chicken thighs (a staple for us because of some of my wife's food allergies) has been 89¢/lb for several weeks now. Whole pork loins are 99¢/lb. Both of my freezers are now full. Potatoes are $1.28/10lb bag. Canned veggies are 50¢/can and the shelves are full. The paper goods area of the store is full as well.

    I hadn't seen anything in the news, but have been wondering about the dropping food prices in a time of uncertainty. It doesn't seem logical unless you factor in shipping problems.

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