Friday, November 5, 2021

Tell Me of Shortages


   Most of us now have seen or experienced shortages of one kind or another following the COVID-19 debacle and the events which have occurred afterward. We are told these are generated a number of ways. First, China who makes a great deal of the products sold in the US has experienced supply chain interruptions as a result of upheavals following their own COVID experience. There are interruptions at differing levels of the supply chain there, and this is resulting in less product overall.  Secondly, we are being told that there are massive numbers of container ships from Asia waiting to unload in primarily West coast US ports, and that due to vaccine mandates, there aren't the numbers of people required to unload them. My first thought was that other than some paper plates, gift wrap, and a few non-essential items, it doesn't hurt me much not to be able to get access to Chinese goods. Most of the gifts I buy for family for Christmas are American made.  So I haven't been all that concerned.

              I have been aware that everywhere from pharmacies to Dollar General, Family Dollar, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, other Dollar-type stores and everywhere in between have experienced some rolling shortages. First, there were shortages of toilet paper, then masks, then isopropyl alcohol, then hand sanitizer, then liquid hand soap, then medical gloves, then chux (which have all sorts of uses)  Then, there were shortages of yeast and a variety of different foods, including breads. There were sharp rises in the cost of meats. Now there are shortages of first aid supplies, nebulizer kits, etc. Of course, the types of shortages you may notice depend upon your area to some degree, what you might be seeking, your family size and your use patterns.  Keep in mind that with gas prices having risen under the Biden Regime from $1.79 a gallon last year to about $3.50 a gallon that this too will reduce widespread or complete distribution of goods to you and your family. A lot of the goods you won't be able to get won't matter, but some of them certainly will.  Many of us use dog coats in Winter, and since they rarely last for years, we buy them as Winter is coming. Most of us have not been able to locate the broad range of sizes of these we need.  In some areas, children's acetaminophen, loratadine, acetaminophen in regular strength, and ibuprofen have been in short supply or available only in the versions of the drugs many of us do not use.  Gauze roller bandage has been in short supply, as it is frequently made in China, and when it hasn't arrived, clinics and hospitals have snapped up all the American made versions, leaving little to none for the rest of us.


                What are your abatement strategies ?

First,  don't buy up things you don't really use because you think they might be in short supply.

Second,   Stock ahead on prescription and OTC meds your family uses wherever possible.  Leave what you do not normally use, on the shelf.  All these things do expire. Let them be on a pharmacy shelf.  Stay ahead on nebulizer supplies if you use these.

Third,  Assess your first aid supplies.  Beef up anything you need there.

Fourth,   Holiday shop a little early this year with a focus on the locally or American made. Focus on the practical not the fanciful this year.

Fifth,  Consider having "breakfast for dinner" one night a week. Breakfast can be an inexpensive dinner.  Eggs, bacon and pancakes, can be made in many different ways.  If eggs are plentiful, consider a dinner quiche.  Consider new ways to use what you have. You can stir fry spam with vegetables, even though many of us, aren't big spam fans. Enlarge your mealtime repertoire.

                 We will get through this, and when we do, we will have clearer ideas about what we use, and what we don't.   Take care of yourselves during this unusual holiday season. The things that matter were never the material gifts anyway.