Frankly, the fact that the supply chain in this country has not been more disrupted than it has been during the pandemic is a minor miracle.
Energy has remained abundant because we produce more at home and thus are less dependent on foreign sources; I can't imagine how much worse conditions would be if there were the type of gasoline shortages some of us experienced in the early 1970s and again in 1979. I remember it well; at times there were odd and even days on when you could buy your gas depending on your license plate and $5 limits. Add that fuel to today's fires and I don't even want to think about it.
We saw toilet paper shortages early in the pandemic, but they mainly were driven by demand as consumers stocked up due to fear that they'd run out. We saw it with meat for a while, with limits placed on chicken purchases, at least in our area. We saw it with empty shelves of butter, but that no longer is an issue, either.
Cleaning supplies still seem to be in short supply; my wife is endlessly looking for Clorox wipes with little success. Thankfully, ice cream remains in abundant supply, as does coffee.
But good luck trying to buy a bicycle these days. Due to a combination of factors, including higher demand and falling exports, bike shelves are quite bare. Earlier this year I was contemplating purchasing a new racing bike, but instead had my 15-year-old bike rehabbed. I couldn't buy a new one now if I wanted to.
We ordered one of our daughters a beach bike in May; three months later it's still not here. Evidently it has been shipped but is sitting somewhere in California. Here's where things get interesting; my wife was told there has been no movement due to a shortage of FedEx trucks.
Shipping clearly has slowed due to the pandemic for a lot of reasons, but the one that has affected our twice-a-week garbage pickups by Waste Management (WM) is perhaps one of the most interesting. Pickups have been so sporadic that the company finally contacted customers in our area apologizing and stating it simply doesn't have enough drivers, so there is a labor shortage. Whether that has been driven by pandemic-related unemployment payments remains to be seen, but that's got to be part of it.
Last but not least, there has been another run on guns and ammunition. FBI background checks were up 79% year over year in July as folks have been arming themselves amid chaos in parts of the country. It isn't quite what I observed back in the ammo lines in 2013, but I've again seen ammo in shorter supply and some stores putting limits on ammo purchases. Guns have been selling like hotcakes, and some are in very short supply. Gun names such as Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) (up 67% year to date), Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI) (up 159%), retailer Sportsman's Warehouse (SPWH) (up 114%) and ammunition name Vista Outdoors (VSTO) (up 198%) have soared.
Overall, however, we've been fortunate so far in terms of being able to get what we need amid very strange circumstances.