I’ve been reading and hearing a lot lately about problems with supply chains, affecting many goods we all use and take for granted that they will always be there. Whenever I pass an automobile dealership, I notice the paltry amount of inventory of new automobiles on the lot. Just the other day a major producer of household cleaning products announced that they were planning to increase the price of their products. Fast food restaurants are having difficulty hiring and retaining staff. We’re all getting a quick lesson in the basics of economics: supply, and demand.
I just came from my friendly Walmart Super Center to do the weekly grocery shopping. I couldn’t help but think about how all the customers, myself included, were unconsciously meandering amongst the aisles to select all the items on our list. Weekly visits have programmed us to go straight to where each item is for which we’re looking; not very much search effort required on any of our part. While doing this, I also couldn’t help but think about how things were a year and a half ago when paper products were in short supply. Demand was high, catching producers off guard. Do you remember images of selfish, greedy hoarders, who raided stores and loaded up their vehicles with paper products back during the first half of 2000? They unquestionably contributed to the difficulty you and I had finding paper towels and toilet paper on the shelves.
We’re not in a world war, militarily speaking; however, the battle with the microscopic enemy, coronavirus-19 is still with us. There does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as governments and scientists are making heroic efforts at getting the battle under control. But the damage to our economy and the infrastructure that moves it along has been done by the coronavirus. It makes you wonder about the strength, or fragility of systems in place to feed, cloth, heat, water us all. It also makes you wonder what would happen if everything collapsed suddenly. We’ve all become so dependent on systems operated by people we don’t know to produce, ship to market, and sell us what we need, so we can stock our refrigerators, pantries, and the like. Unlike our ancestors, we haven’t the capability to produce for ourselves the food stuffs and dry goods we need to maintain body and mind.
Will it be there when I need it? I certainly hope so. If it’s generic, that’s okay.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.