The local moving company, the one that will be delivering my things to me after they’ve been off-loaded from the Mayflower truck that picked them up from the local moving company on the other end, called me yesterday afternoon. When I saw the name come up on my phone, I felt a rush of excitement.
“Tell me you’re going to be able to deliver tomorrow as promised,” I said. “I’m afraid not,” replied the nice woman on the other end of the line. “We don’t exactly know where your things are. They were last reported somewhere in Ohio.”
“The good news,” she went on brightly, “is that we do know they left Ohio around 2 this afternoon, so should be arriving in Minneapolis in the next couple of days.”
As I’ve said before, geography isn’t my strong suit, but I knew I hadn’t passed through Ohio to get here. I Googled Minnesota to Ohio. Yep. Someone overshot by five hundred some miles.
“But,” she continued, not quite as brightly, “even if they get delivered to our warehouse tomorrow or Friday, there’s no way we can deliver to you until early November.”
Early November. That’s Monday.
“We definitely can’t do it on Monday,” she said. “We’re completely booked. And we can’t schedule it until we have it. We’ve learned that the hard way. Just not enough drivers to plan ahead.”
I got an email this evening from the CEO of Eddie Bauer. After hoping that he finds me (and all his other customers) in good health and good spirits, he gets to the heart of the matter:
“By now you have all heard of supply chain challenges and disruptions across many industries. We are in the same boat, perhaps quite literally in one of the many delayed container vessels shipping our products to us for the holiday season. Normally we receive most of our inventory by late October, but this year some of those deliveries are running many weeks behind. Similarly, tight labor markets mean there isn’t enough capacity to keep up with demand…That applies to goods coming into ports, trucking, warehousing, tracking and shipping, all the way to the delivery to your front door.”
Before leaving Seattle, I took my silver Soul to the Kia dealer for pre-trip servicing. In the past, I’ve wandered around the lot while I waited, looking at used and new cars, having thoughts about the colors, checking sticker prices, comparing, fantasizing, appreciating. Now, there were exactly four new sticker-bearing cars, all of them small sedans, with the exception of a $55,000 Stinger. Whatever that is.
I went into the showroom. Empty. Literally. Not a single car in a large open space designed to hold three or four or even five Sportages, Souls, Sorentos, Tellurides. The polished floor, rather than mirroring the undersides of new cars, glittered pointlessly.
A salesman came over. Even behind his mask, I could tell that his smile was both rueful and resigned. “Where are the cars?” I asked, gesturing around the showroom. “There aren’t any,” he said. “We’re lucky if we get one or two in a month.”
“And no used cars either.” I pointed outside. He shook his head. “No point in trading in your car if there’s nothing to trade it for.”
“Wow,” I said. “How do you manage?” He put his hands together and looked heavenward. “We pray a lot,” he replied.
I know how he feels.