Notice the empty shelves in the stores again? Here’s why

September 28 – The seriousness of the supply chain problem is hitting local grocery stores and restaurants.

Signs are up in local restaurants and convenience stores apologizing for the lack of inventory, but the product is apparently backing up.

Some of it has even resulted in price increases, especially for restaurants.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced limiting purchases on certain kinds of whiskey, bourbon, vodka and wines because of supply chain issues.

Inventory is very low all around.

A front page story above the fold in the Wall Street Journal yesterday discussed this very issue. Big box retailers are once again limiting how many items you can buy, like paper towels.

The story points out there are tens of thousands of these cargo containers in the Pacific Ocean that just can’t get into ports. The inventory is there, floating in the ocean, but the boats can’t dock – it’s like a parking lot on water.

So what’s the problem? It’s a labor shortage.  

Some of the boats are being delayed as much as three weeks until they can get trucks to get the products to be shipped around the country.

There is literally no one at the dock to unload the ships. The ports used to operate 24/7, but now they’re at 60 to 70 percent capacity, so the products can’t enter the country and get transported to stores.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “When you go into your stores and you see nothing on the shelves, that’s what it’s about. They can’t get these products into the country due to these labor shortages.”

The big question is where or when will it end?

The chilling response is there may not an answer. A quick fix may not be in the cards here. So until something shifts, it looks like we may have to do without or pay more to get it.