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One man's shopping trip-turned-scavenger hunt shows how the supply-chain crisis has created an 'everything shortage'

One man's shopping trip-turned-scavenger hunt shows how the supply-chain crisis has created an 'everything shortage'


Mary Meisenzahl/Insider




The supply-chain crisis turned one man's quick shopping trip into "multi-hour odysseys."




Historic delays at ports and across the transportation industry have spawned major shortages.




Executives warn the delays show no signs of stopping and will continue into 2023.


A global supply-chain crisis has emptied shelves, creating a cascading effect of shortages and price hikes that have become increasingly difficult to pin to a single item.During an everyday errand run, The Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson said that he found that snarls in the global supply chain have created an "everything shortage." Thompson said what should have been a quick errand run for a take-home COVID-19 test, some paper towels, and prescription drugs turned into a sort of multi-store scavenger hunt.The shopper went to a CVS, whose at-home COVID-19 tests and paper towels had sold out. Then he went to a Walgreens that had run out of everyday prescription medications, as well as a Target, whose ransacked shelves were "alarmingly barren, like the canned-food section of a grocery store one hour before a hurricane makes landfall."Thompson's plight - read his full account here - represents a common scenario in US retail stores. At the onset of the pandemic, panic-buying of household goods like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes pushed jarring shortages across the country, spurring price hikes as well as rationing. While the shortages seemed to abate as 2020 came to a close, 2021 has brought its own shortages. From short supplies of chicken wings, diapers, and toilet paper to homes, furniture, computer chips, and cars it seems no market has escaped the impact of the global supply-chain crisis.
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