9 items still in short supply after 6 months of pandemic

Credit: Sarah Franks

caption arrowCaption

Credit: Sarah Franks

It was back in March when cleaning items started disappearing from grocery stores, in the initial pandemic panic.

Remember the runs on toilet paper? For three months, you couldn’t find any.

But here we are, six months later, and many items are still in short supply.

1. Lysol and Clorox wipes

Next to hand sanitizer (which is now readily available), disinfecting wipes remain the Holy Grail of grocery items these days.

But with hospitals, schools, and businesses snapping them up by the truckload, grocery shoppers will be among the last in line to get them as long as the pandemic rages.

You can add Lysol, Clorox spray and Formula 409 to the list, for the same reasons.

2. Paper towels

Unlike toilet paper, which is now readily available, paper towels remain hard to find.

Paper producers devoted the summer to increasing toilet paper production, and now there is almost too much. Some stores put toilet paper where cleaning products used to be to fill empty shelf space.

But paper towels are bulky to ship, and manufacturers have not increased production as much, according to the Wall Street Journal. So don’t expect much to change soon.

And they are as in-demand as all cleaning products.

3. Yeast and baking flour

The springtime lockdown saw millions of Americans turn to baking, and that in turn led to huge shortages of baking products. Luckily, these shortages are just about over, as we return to bakeries and restaurants.

4. Canning jars and lids

With worries of food shortages that never happened, millions of people started growing tomatoes and other vegetables that now need to be harvested and canned.

The result: an uncanny shortage of canning supplies that is expected to linger through the winter. Expect to pay a lot for canning lids, especially.

5. Bicycles

This may be the biggest shortage of all, next to Clorox wipes, as the springtime stay-at-home order had people rushing to bike shops to buy something they could use.

6. Swimming pools

Just like with bicycles, stay-at-home orders meant people needed activities to do at home. So all spring, they snapped up above-ground and in-ground pools.

You now may have to wait several months to have an in-ground pool installed.

7. Appliances

When it comes to appliances, things are not as tough as finding a bicycle. But still if you are looking for a specific French door fridge with two drawers and water in the door, you might have to settle for something else.

You can find a fridge or washer if you need one, but don’t have your heart set on one particular model. With factories up to full steam again, supplies are expected to rebound this fall.

8. Laptops, children’s desks

You can thank remote, Zoom learning for this shortage. Inexpensive laptops and Chromebooks are very hard to find, as parents and schools snapped them up all summer.

Stores predict shortages should ease by Black Friday.

9. Coins

If you have been Krogering the past two months, you probably have seen signs warning of a coin and change shortage, but it’s more than an inconvenience. Some business that rely on coins, like laundry businesses, are working to adapt to the shortage.

Bonus: Beer and Coke cans

This one is not a current shortage that customers will notice, so it is not in our Top 9, but it is coming.

Yes, aluminum cans are in short supply.

The good news: there is no shortage of beer, and if you don’t mind glass, there is plenty of beer to drink. You might need a drink just keeping up with all the new shortages that seems to pop up every week.

About the Author