Desks in Short Supply Due to Pandemic

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The pandemic has disrupted the supply chains in unpredictable ways. It seems nothing is safe.

Previously there were shortages of cleaning supplies, toilet papers, cans and coin, Dr Pepper and boat.

Now, there are shortages of desks and chairs in some parts of the nation. It seems nothing escapes the effect of the pandemic.

Moreover, with the kids logging in to virtual school, parents are scrambling to find furniture.

This had left many people wondering: when did desks become the next hot topic? People are scouring unknown distances for furniture. Many are even making their own.

Elizabeth Rossmiller, a teacher, working from home, had to improvise her work-space, even if that means using an upside-down laundry on a nightstand.

This is because the desk she wanted was out of stock. She tried Amazon, Target and even Walmart. Nothing helped.

"All the desks are sold out..." said Teyhla Brown, who frequently shops at IKEA, California. Brown has been looking to find a desk for weeks. Brown even took a two-hour drive to another IKEA to get one.

Moreover, available desks are too pricey and wouldn't be delivered before October. Even second-hand items are hard to come by.

Therefore, improvisation became a crucial tool. Many parents started reaching out to cabinet suppliers. When the word got out, other parents got in on the action.

Todd Johnson, co-owner of a carpentry business, says he has received 10 to 15 orders a week.

However, Target and IKEA have been restocking home office supplies. Online sales of desks, chair and lamps rose by 283 %, according to Rakuten Intelligence. Rakuten Intelligence analyses shopper behavior.

During the pandemic, interest in desk had double, and so did their prices. That includes Amazon and OfferUp.

Huzar told USA TODAY that there is a huge demand for desks as students prepare for virtual learning. Moreover, there has been a triple-digit increase for kids’ desk.

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DIY Desks

Many people started thinking of innovative solutions. For instance, Megan Fry went the DIY route after failing to find desks under $150. Megan Fry started a new customer support job from home.

She made her table using a $30 legless table top from IKEA and two short bookcases from Amazon that cost $42 per piece.

Many parents also went with crates to build a desk. The Baltimore University Administrator built it in two days. He spent $70 at Home Depot to buy four crates and aboard.

Searches for "desks" in Amazon rose by 600 per cent between 11th July and 15th August. It was the second-most searched item besides face masks. Moreover, according to a newspaper, the word "kid desk" hiked by 3,783 per cent and "computer desk" by 257 per cent.

The pandemic, however, made it impossible to get anything. Every item is backed up and out of stock. According to Ms Eberhard, owner of North Nine Designs says, "I can't get a sofa, can't get dining room chairs, can't get dining room tables."

The Coronavirus massively disrupted the global supply chains. From laptops, beer to Clorox wipes, there was visible evidence of the pandemic plague.

Back in March, many companies halted orders that started a ripple effect. Factories started shutting down; some halted their production, people lost their jobs, and products became unavailable.

Good that used to come from China within three to four weeks now takes three months.

In the meantime, consumer behaviour also started changing. It became quite unpredictable.

During quarantine months, families made an unexpected run on items, such as heating lamps, desks and blow-up pools. People also started buying canned foods and soda to drink, which created a shortage of basic materials like aluminium.

The pandemic, this way, started impacting the supply chain at every level.

Homebound Americans like spending money furnishing their homes. Home furnishing stores, such as Pottery Barn, Wayfair and West Elm, saw a 66 per cent surge in online sales.

However, there was a disappointment as well. Most of the people did not get the stuff they ordered.

Big brands such as Pottery Barn, Serena and Lily, and Ballard Designs thought long whether it was better to hold out on an item or cancel an order.

Timeframe for More Inventory

While some were available, other items were delayed indefinitely. It is clear how pandemic complicated global trade without any quick fixes.

According to Mr Hong, "It's going to be months still, if not years, before we get to a level of normalcy in the way that we can satisfy these needs".

People have learnt to reset their expectations and make use of everything they had. The delays are certainly affecting.

A school in Maine delayed their start of school by a week, as they were waiting to receive 1,500 chairs and desks. According to Mr Judd, "And now that we've had this wrench thrown in, we should use this time to look back and say, 'Hey, you know, it's going to get here when it gets here".

Till then, waiting is a promising option.

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