This is about Covid, but not in the way you might think. So, please, don’t tune me out just yet. So, last year, and this, I have tired of hearing everything being blamed on Covid. Late deliveries, lack of product availability, etc. However, after reading a letter from one of the online companies that I regularly order from, and talking to various people, I am beginning to see, that it is our response to the virus that is to blame. I guess you could extrapolate that out to say it’s the virus’s fault.
Shipping delays: One co-op that I order hard to find bulk foods from sent out a letter explaining the following: On the day after our nation shut down last year, a couple things happened. People panicked and started stocking up. Locally that resulted in the famous “toilet paper shortages”. Our co-op saw orders quadruple in a single day. While that may seem a good thing, think about this; demand quadrupled, workers to process the orders did not, inventory did not, delivery trucks did not, available drivers did not. How to get four times the product to people with the same amount of drivers, trucks, inventory, workers to process orders, etc. became a logistical nightmare!
Product availability: Fast forward a couple months. Back ordered products become a regular occurrence. Certain shelves in the supermarkets and other stores continue to be empty. Why can’t I find a cheapy, plastic ammo box to hold some homeopathy vials in at the local sporting good store over a year later? That was finally explained to me by the gal who runs a metal recycling company locally. She shared about a relative who worked in manufacturing. Many times in manufacturing, workers work shoulder to shoulder on an assembly line. Let’s say you have 100 workers. With the advent of social distancing, you now need six feet between each worker. Roughly, that means you can now only have about twenty workers on that line. That means your production drops by 80%. That’s a huge drop! But it costs the same to run the machinery for a day. Thus, less product availability.
Inflated prices: Now, f you can’t enlarge your building, you are gonna have to lay off employees. If you have to run a night shift to have to try to keep afloat, you are spending more money to produce less product (now you can do 40% of what you were doing). Prices get raised for the finished goods in hopes of keeping the company’s head above water until this passes. I’m mainly talking about the little guys, but some big corporations are really feeling it too.
Why is this still an issue a year later? Workplace social distancing is still in effect. It takes time to train semi truck drivers. Companies are wondering if the increase in demand will continue, and if so, for how long. This uncertainty may keep companies from hiring too many employees, or growing too fast. our workforce has changed dramatically also. Many who were initially laid off, didn’t go back to work later because of the government making unemployment benefits more lucrative than their jobs were. Why go back? I think many moms realized that after paying daycare expenses, they really weren’t bringing in enough money to make it worth working. Families are learning to live off one income. Companies are having to offer higher wages to lure people back, and to cover that, prices for goods and services are rising.
Add to all of this the vaccine. More and more pressure is being placed on the skeptical to relent, give in to the science. Employers are having to make decisions about hiring the unvaccinated. If the unvaccinated numbers for the nation remain low (currently around 40%), and employers get on the “mandatory vaccination” bus, how will that affect the supply chain? what about the cost of mass transit (planes, trains, buses, etc) if the unvaccinated have to drive or cease traveling? The lost revenue will have to be made up somehow.
All that said. I am beginning to understand a bit more how interconnected everything is in this society we Americans have created. And, just how fragile it is. This pandemic storm has toppled our U.S. house of cards. Our world is changing. I am trying to change with it. Trying to see into the future and plan accordingly, without panic or fear. That has been a challenge for me. I have family overseas. Will I ever be able to physically hug them again? I try not to think about it often. The rules are so fluid right now about everything right now. One day at a time is all I can handle. Today, I remind myself, “take no thought for tomorrow; for tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”Matthew 6:34
Today, I walked to get our printed newspaper. I saw the sun rise above a mountain. There were cows In the neighbor’s field, and a pheasant making his cool call to the ladies. The sky was still blue today. I am still breathing. Yahuwah God’s mercies are new every morning. Thanking him for that. .