#Logistics in the time of COVID

Out of Stock

From toilet paper to bicycles, board games to ketchup, the world experienced a range of product shortages this past year. Check out this listicle of “hot items” in short supply during the pandemic. #SoLogistical
Covid-19 not only disrupts our social interactions but also our material lives. Shelves in grocery stores remain empty. Delivery packages move slower than promised. The new “work/learn/stay-at-home” lifestyle has given way to new needs and demands. News of supply shortages cause mass panic, only worsening the crisis. Below are a few “hot items” that show how the pandemic has reshaped the logistical coordination of our material lives. 

1. Bicycles: In search of alternative methods of transportation, and with more time for physical activity, crowds went wild for bicycles during Covid, leading to a nationwide shortage.

Lisi Niesner/Bloomberg

2. Chicken: Scarcity of chicken and other meats followed a country-wide labor shortage, as plants were forced to close due to a rise in ill workers.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

3. Toilet Paper: Aside from pandemic panic shopping, with nowhere to go, people truly were in need of residential toilet paper for their homes. In addition, throughout lockdown, disruptions in international manufacturing and transportation processes delayed the production process, resulting in worldwide shortages of toilet paper.

Andrea Brown/The Herald

4. Yeast: Bagels, cakes and breads...you name it, Americans baked it! Within the past year, the country’s baking phase deprived store shelves of yeast (and other key ingredients), surprising manufacturers with the extraordinary demand.

Ariel Cobbert/The Commercial Appeal

5. Hair Clippers: Americans grew a little scissor happy over quarantine! Due to the shut down of hair salons, not to mention the monotony of lockdown, vendors reported low stocks of hair clippers and other hair supplies. Sales of hair clippers increased by 166% and hair coloring supplies by 23%.

Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune/Getty Images

6. Board Games and Puzzles: As families found themselves at home with children unable to attend school, demand for board games and puzzles skyrocketed. Adults have joined in the fun too, connecting with their children (and inner child) through some screen-free fun.

Tim Noack/timtrevlig/Getty

7. Ketchup: America’s favorite condiment ran low as Covid created a boom for restaurant take-out and delivery. The reopening of restaurants has amplified the shortage of ketchup and other packaged condiments.

Smith Collection/Gado/Gado via Getty Images

8. Webcams: Competition amongst webcam manufacturers is increasing as the steady rise in telecommunication has created a universal demand.


9. Desks: As many discovered during the pandemic, work-from-home has its own functional and aesthetic demands. Throughout quarantine, desks were in short supply as workers and students created makeshift workspaces, but not in vain, as the work-from-home lifestyle may be here for the long haul.

Megan Fry/AP

10. Dumbbells: The pandemic created a void for frequent gym-goers, reliant on facility equipment for their exercise. Others, stricken with boredom during the pandemic, sought out the gym equipment they never knew they needed, causing the supply for dumbbells to reach an all-time low over lockdown.

Mehdi Fedouach/AFP via Getty Images

Inventoried by Anna-Katia Batoum Bassong and Heangjin Park