Forklift Tractor loading package boxes into shipping container at dock warehouse. (Photo: Shutterstock).


By Mary Lynn Bruny

Who knew the phrase “supply chain” before the pandemic? Who knew about cargo containers and distribution channels and delivery quality control? Only people you didn’t want to talk to at cocktail parties, that’s who. Many of us have been spoiled living in the land of plenty for so long that we had no idea how good we had it. Now we think about these flipping supply chain issues every day.

For example: “Gosh darn it, they still don’t have any of Bubbie’s favorite dog food in stock! Dang supply chain!”

And it’s not just poor Bubbie who is suffering. Anybody ordering anything is finding it frustrating not only because of low or non-existent inventory, but also due to the lack of delivery quality control. For instance, my eldest son, who is in the midst of a remodel, ordered a new bathtub from a home products store. When it finally arrived (late, of course), a representative called to tell him it was damaged; my son needed to come in and decide if he wanted it. He went to the store and discovered a forklift’s two front prongs had gone through the tub; it had two giant holes on one side.

“So do you want it?” the store clerk asked. “We can give you a discount.” I’m not making this up. I wish I were.

I’m wondering who would possibly take possession of a bathtub with two huge holes? Perhaps the folks who make Cialis™ commercials? For some unknown reason they show older people in side-by-side bathtubs in outdoor settings. Who does this? Is this what younger people who make commercials think older folks do – remain clinically apart at all times? Do they think this is “acceptable older people sexy” – no actual physical contact? Lord help us.

Anyway, back to supply chain woes: Due to the lack of products (or the possibility of such), many of us are feeling like we need to stock up on the stuff that’s important to us. It seems the fastest way to get people to buy things is just to hint that perhaps they won’t be able to do so in the future. What a fun psychological experience for us all!

For instance, the first week of the pandemic I ordered lipstick and undergarments. Turns out these were not terribly in demand in our household during quarantining, but I stand by these choices. It takes a mature woman about 20 hours of ego-challenging time to try on undergarments to find satisfactory products. Once we find ones we like, we want to stock up before manufacturers stop making them. And lipstick is just fun. An inexpensive swipe of happiness. No wonder lipstick sales go up during wars or recessions, but probably not during worldwide pandemics due to the whole mask issue.

But now at month 21 I’m stocking up on my favorite wine (due to a wine bottle shortage I once read about) and Soft Scrub™ (as it flies off our grocery store shelf). But let me make clear that my purchases do not mean I’ll be cleaning while drinking wine (and wearing lipstick and comfortable undergarments). Maybe by month 30, but not yet.

What will month 30 hold for us all? Who knows? I say we all try to enjoy the holiday season despite everything – shortages or more bad pandemic news. Maybe things will get better sooner than expected. We can only hope. At least hope needs no supply chain, though a little wine and lipstick can probably make it appear a bit brighter.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]