Christmas decorations are starting to show up in stores so that means Thanksgiving is just two months away. I know, and I agree – that’s still a long way off.
And yet not so much. Especially if you’ve been thinking that this year you would host Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners at your house and invite all your vaxxed friends and family. And to add to the celebration you’d update your kitchen appliances.
If this were a normal year, say circa 2019 or before, you’d wait until early November, head on down to Southeast Steel and pick out your new refrigerator, stove or dishwasher then rush home to wait for the delivery.
This year you might have a very long wait.
As you may have heard, there’s a pandemic going on (it’s been on all the news channels). And a number of factors are contributing to a supply shortage.
You know those semiconductor chips that are making new cars scarce to find? Those chips are used in appliances, too, though not in the same way. (I admit it would be cool if my range top would alert me if a car was passing on the right.)
Also, remember that pandemic means it’s happening worldwide, so distancing and quarantines have caused manufacturing slow downs.
And once the appliances have been built, there is a shortage of shipping containers to put them in – fridges and washing machines can’t be mailed from overseas in their cardboard boxes.
And you know that ship that was loaded with containers when it got stuck in a major shipping route? Yeah, that didn’t help either. “Things were getting better, and then someone decided to block the Suez Canal,” said Ken Miele, CEO of Appliance Dealers Cooperative, in an article at CR.
The Ever Given was refloated months ago, but the effects of the delays and rerouting are still being felt. It doesn’t ease up once those ships make it here.
“There are probably 70 ships floating off the coast of California right now,” said Stu Kimball, owner of Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse in Orlando. There aren’t enough workers to offload the containers and there aren’t enough drivers to haul them away and across the country.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have new appliances for the holidays. It just means you need to act now. And you may need to be flexible on the model you want.
“We have product” on hand, said Kimball, pictured at left. In fact, Southeast Steel just took over another 10,000 square feet of warehouse space up the road and has close to $4 million in inventory. That’s one of the reasons that same CR article recommended that consumers go to an independent dealer like Southeast. They’re more likely to have appliances on hand than big box stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s. “The sooner you buy or get in line the better your chances,” he added.
And know that shortages aren’t restricted to appliances and automobiles. I ordered two loveseats at the end of May and I’m still awaiting delivery.
And they don’t even have semiconductors.
Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse is at 63 W. Amelia St., Orlando. It is open Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-423-7654.