You cannot turn an economy off, then turn it back on. Here are the results when hubris makes you think you found the magic switch. Part 1.

Random stock outages are still common. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The supply chain in most industries is tangled up somehow somewhere.

The people in federal and state governments with the staggering level of hubris to think they can wave their hands and make the entire economy do their bidding are willfully causing disruption in your life and in my life.

Five anecdotes of what I have seen in my little world before we transition to articles describing the economy wide disruption.

One friend works for a company that constructs a key component of the equipment they assemble.

They cannot find one teeny tiny little part with cost under a dollar that goes into the part they make. This otherwise trivial part cannot be found in the United States. Oh, they could order it directly from a manufacturer in Asia but only in volume that would provide their needs for many decades. Oh, and the cost to ship it would be 15 times higher than it was a year ago.

An acquaintance who leases and sells forklifts cannot lease or sell any.

He cannot even get a replacement seat cushion. Why? There is no foam. The manufacturer whose equipment they sell has a couple warehouses filled with equipment they cannot ship. Why? No seat cushions. Why no seat cushions? No foam. Turns out that manufacturing foam requires a continuous process production line. If it is stopped either because of labor disruptions or lack of key ingredients the entire line has to be shut down, cleaned, and restarted. Thus, no foam.

Another friend visited a new car dealer.

When greeted upon walking on the lot, the sales person advised them that every car on the lot has an $8,000 dealer markup. Usually the list price is a high starting point for negotiations downward to get to final price. No longer. The list price plus $8,000 is the starting point. I’m guessing that’s a take it or leave the price, because if you don’t like the price there will be someone on the lot tomorrow or the next day who will be glad to pay that premium just to get the car. Eight grand over list as the starting point.

A car dealer recently located to be adjacent to a freeway I’m on frequently.

Have noticed something odd of late. Normally you would expect that the long parking lot facing the freeway would have a brand-new car or truck parked in every diagonal parking spot. From the freeway your should be able to see a humongous row of sparkling new cars and trucks ready to roll off the lot. No longer. For more than half of the width of the lot they have one truck parked across four parking spaces. They are so thin on inventory they cannot even fill up the one row of parking facing the freeway that is their best advertising.

Couple of weeks ago my wife and I were on our regular grocery trip to our favorite store.

The refrigerated case which stocks Lunchables(tm) can hold probably eight or 10 rows with four or five items across, with each space holding up to maybe a dozen products. Where there would otherwise be several hundred products for sale there were less than a dozen. There were no Gatorade(tm) products on the shelf. The freezer case holding a variety of frozen breakfast items which would otherwise have a couple hundred items had less than a dozen, none of which I liked. We asked the checkout clerk whether they were having trouble getting inventory. He said absolutely. A variety of items are out of stock at their store, other stores in their chain, and he has heard from customers those items are not available at other chains.

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