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Washington Post Op-Ed: Don’t ‘Whine’ About Supply Chain Shortages, Empty Shelves
A woman walks past a monitor displaying news that the owners of the Washington Post are to sell the newspaper to billionaire Jeff Bezos inside the Washington Post Co. headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million, betting that he can apply his success in e-commerce to the struggling newspaper industry.
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An opinion piece published in The Washington Post encourages Americans to not “rant” about the supply chain crisis and other economic troubles.

As dozens of cargo ships coming from Asia remain stranded off the coast of California, social media users have been posting images of empty store shelves and expressing frustration that they are unable to make formerly routine purchases. However, Micheline Maynard — an author and contributing columnist for The Washington Post — told readers to not complain about the phenomenon.

Across the country, Americans’ expectations of speedy service and easy access to consumer products have been crushed like a Styrofoam container in a trash compactor. Time for some new, more realistic expectations.

Fast food is less fast. A huge flotilla of container ships is stuck offshore in California, waiting to unload. Shelves normally stocked with Halloween candy this time of year are empty, as I saw the other day at a Target here in Ann Arbor, Mich.

American consumers, their expectations pampered and catered to for decades, are not accustomed to inconvenience.

She again slammed consumers for their willingness to “whine” about staffing shortages:

Customers’ persistent whine, “Why don’t they just hire more people?,” sounds feeble in this era of the Great Resignation, especially in industries, such as food service, with reputations for being tough places to work.

Rather than living constantly on the verge of throwing a fit, and risking taking it out on overwhelmed servers, struggling shop owners or late-arriving delivery people, we’d do ourselves a favor by consciously lowering expectations.

Referring to food rationing in the 1940s and gasoline shortages in the 1970s, she told “spoiled” American consumers that they should make adjustments while waiting for the supply chain crisis to abate.

In response to the supply chain woes, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — who has been on paid paternity leave for months — recently emphasized that the phenomenon is a sign of economic growth.

“Well, certainly, a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year,” Buttigieg told CNN anchor Jake Tapper. “But there are both short-term and long-term steps that we can take to do something about it. Look, part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side. It’s the demand side. Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof.”

“And if you think about those images of ships, for example, waiting at anchor on the West Coast, you know, every one of those ships is full of record amounts of goods that Americans are buying, because demand is up, because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession,” Buttigieg argued. “Now the issue is, even though our ports are handling more than they ever have, record amounts of goods coming through, our supply chains can’t keep up. And, of course, our supply chains, that’s a complicated system that is mostly in private hands, and rightly so.”

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