Supply Chain Issues

The supply chain issues haven’t caused much distress for us. When a shortage of toilet tissue was the topic of nearly every conversation early in the pandemic, we didn’t go out and buy a huge supply of the product. We simply went on with our lives and when we needed to purchase toilet paper, we found that we could buy modest amounts from stores we regularly frequented. We talked about having the luxury of an extra supply in our camper. We also knew that the quarantines meant that the church suddenly stopped using its normal supply and that there were cases of the product in the store room at the church, should they be needed. We never had a problem. We have been used to having a few supplies in our pantry because we lived a lot of years in places where a sudden blizzard could keep us at home for a few days.

I have complained about the lack of ginger snaps on the shelves of the grocery store, and still am a bit unclear about why that shortage persists. After all, you can buy ginger root and pickled ginger in the store whenever you want. Still, most stores don’t have the cookies on their shelves. I have, however, found a store that seems to always have a supply, and I’m not sure what the difference between that one and other grocery stores might be. And the bottom line is that we have been able to obtain the ingredients to bake ginger snaps all along, so we never were forced to do without them.

I took our car into a dealership for routine service and noticed that the dealer had no new vehicles on the lot and only a few used ones for sale. I guess the shortage of new vehicles is real. However, we have no need of a new vehicle. Our car and pickup will last for many more years and many more miles if we take care of them. We have no plans of shopping for a vehicle anytime in the near future.

The supply chain problems just haven’t had much of an impact on our lives.

However, I read in the Washington Post that there are some people on the east coast of the United States who are distressed because of an interruption of the supply chain. The huge cargo ship, Felicity Ace, is adrift in the Atlantic, near the Azores. The ship departed Eden, Germany on February 10, and last Wednesday a fire broke out on the ship, forcing all 22 crew members to abandon ship. Crew members were rescued without injury by the Portuguese navy and taken to a hotel on Faial Island. The fire continues to destroy cargo and threaten the ship. According to one observer, it is burning from one end to the other with everything 5 meters above the water line on fire.

Among the cargo on the ship are 1,100 Porsche automobiles, ranging in price from $101,000 to $174,000. There are also 189 Bentleys on the ship, valued at $166,000 to $348,000. Porsche has sent notices to customers tracking the status of the cars they have ordered. “We kindly ask for your patience while we work diligently on getting the Porsche of your dreams to you as quickly as possible,” the company wrote. One customer, interviewed by the Post, was left disappointed and stunned. He has been waiting since August for a 2022 Boxster Spyder made to his specifications.

Since I don’t dream of Porsches and Bentleys, I’m not losing sleep over this. Knowing that the crew has been safely rescued, my main concern over the fire is the potential for ocean pollution. A ship that big loaded with automobiles could potentially release a lot of oil and other contaminants into the ocean. Tugs are headed toward the ship in hopes of being able to tow it into a port where the fire can be extinguished.

I suppose another concern is finding the source of the fire. Initial reports point towards lithium-ion batteries that were in electric cars on the Felicity Ace. Lithium-ion batteries have been responsible for other fires and if they are found to be the source of this blaze, it could be a warning that those batteries pose a danger to people who use cars equipped with that type of battery.

I guess these are tough times for people in the luxury market. First it was a shortage of avocados for Super Bowl parties and now they might have to wait eight more months for a new Porsche or Bentley. Somehow I’m having a problem finding much sympathy for folks who are able to shell out more than $100,000 for a new car.

I have friends who live in rural and isolated areas on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota who are dependent upon cars to obtain basic necessities of life. They have to drive miles to get their children to school and to pick up essentials such as groceries and clothing. They have been surviving with a string of much-used vehicles. The ones they can afford generally have major maintenance problems. There are reasons they are on the market and other people were ready to get rid of them. But when it is all you can afford, you figure out some way to get by. I fit in pretty well with those folks. I had a car that I drove over 100,000 miles with the check engine light on. The sensor that triggered the light was corroded and not only the sensor but an entire wiring harness needed to be replaced for the light to go off. When you drive a $1,500 car you generally don’t opt for the $2,500 repair. The fact that people who have lots of vehicles at their disposal might have to wait months for their dream car doesn’t cause much distress among my friends.

It does, however, give us something to joke about while we are shopping for used tires or waiting for used parts to come from a salvage yard that we found online.

Made in RapidWeaver