Like most people in the developed world, Kirsten Gjesdal had long taken for granted her ability to order whatever she needed and then watch the goods arrive, without any thought about the factories, container ships and trucks involved in delivery.
At her kitchen supply store in Brookings, S.D., Ms. Gjesdal has given up stocking place mats, having wearied of telling customers that she can only guess when more will come. She recently received a pot lid she had purchased eight months earlier. She has grown accustomed to paying surcharges to cover the soaring shipping costs of the goods she buys. She has already placed orders for Christmas items like wreaths and baking pans.
“It’s nuts,” she said. “It’s definitely not getting back to normal.”
The challenges confronting Ms. Gjesdal’s shop, Carrot Seed Kitchen, are a testament to the breadth and persistence of the chaos roiling the global economy, as manufacturers and the shipping industry contend with an unrelenting pandemic.
Delays, product shortages and rising costs continue to bedevil businesses large and small. And consumers are confronted with an experience once rare in modern times: no stock available, and no idea when it will come in.
In the face of an enduring shortage of computer chips, Toyota announced this month that it would slash its global production of cars by 40 percent…
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