If you have been shopping at all in 2021, both online or in-store, you have probably run into bare shelves or dreaded "out-of-stock" labels. It's very frustrating when you want to buy something and it's just not available. So why are so many stores sold out of so many things?
2020 presented a multitude of challenges during the pandemic, and into 2021 it has not let up. The shutdowns have caused a ripple effect which is lasting well into 2021 and will most likely not subside until sometime in 2022. When the shutdowns happened, production stopped. Even when factories were able to reopen, occasional covid outbreaks would temporarily shut them down again, along with ports of entry, postal sorting centers, and fulfillment centers. During the lockdowns, stimulus checks were given that caused an influx of buying power. More people were shopping! With a decrease in production and an increase in demand, it caused a supply chain slow down for many businesses.
Due to so much increase in demand, it's caused an influx of imports into the country. Port workers are struggling to keep up with how many cargo ships are waiting to deliver goods. Many cargo ships wait off the coast for permission to dock for quite some time.
Cargo shipping is taking much longer than usual, as well as domestic carriers such as USPS and UPS being incredibly backlogged with packages to deliver. Small businesses are doing everything in their power to get consumers their orders on time.
So what's a shopper to do?
- Place a pre-order if you can. This will reserve your product so that when it arrives, it's all yours! No need to wait for it to be restocked and no worrying if it goes out of stock again!
- Be patient. Shipping delays are common these days. Communicate about your order if you have questions. Small businesses love to hear from their customers!
- Don't place a pre-order with an expectation to have it by a certain date. If you are ordering in hopes to have it by a certain holiday or special occasion, make sure to be prepared in case it doesn't arrive by that date. "Expected" dates are not guarantees.