Monday, December 28, 2020

From a retailer's perspective

This morning I was in contact with Glenda Lehman Ervin, VP of Marketing for Lehman's in Ohio, on a matter of business.

After our business was concluded, I asked her: "How are things at the store? Still nutty, or have things calmed down?"

She replied: "Our direct sales are still very busy with the main problem being back orders. Many vendors are months behind and the reasons are varied: product supply chain issues, employees out sick with COVID, reduced capacity due to social distancing regulations....  We are encouraging people to place their orders now, to reserve their place in line as we expect spring to bring heavy demand again.

We were slammed over Christmas with high COVID demand, coupled with Christmas demand – carriers were running behind too so we had early shipping deadlines.  2020 has certainly been a wild ride!"

This, folks, is what's going on from a retailer's perspective. As frustrating as things have been for customers, it's just as frustrating for sellers who are doing their best.

That's why Glenda added in a separate email, "We are also encouraging people, in these frustrating times, to be patient.  As a consumer, I feel it myself – long lines, delays in shipping, products out of stock. It is frustrating – we all need to give ourselves and others grace (formerly defined as “courteous good will”).  We are all doing our best!"

Maybe that's the lesson to take into the New Year: Be kind to people. You don't know what they might be going through.

13 comments:

  1. Grace has been my 2020 word of the year - how appropriate is that?

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  2. If they want to reduce costumer frustration then they need to stop using USPS. They shipped my package on Dec 9, there have been no shipping updates since the Dec 19 showing it still in OH. This is shipping from OH to VA.

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    1. Tim, I live in OH very close to Lehman’s and the issue is with the USPS. In this region at all of the large mail hubs there are numerous trucks that are waiting to be unloaded. It took 21 days for a priority mail package to travel approx 100 miles. The tracking shows it started in OH, went to PA, then to Illinois before coming back to OH to sit in distribution for 7 days. This is not truly a mail issue as ballots were delivered flawlessly....it’s a political game.
      Sorry you did not receive your package timely

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    2. Tim, I live in OH very close to Lehman’s and the issue is with the USPS. In this region at all of the large mail hubs there are numerous trucks that are waiting to be unloaded. It took 21 days for a priority mail package to travel approx 100 miles. The tracking shows it started in OH, went to PA, then to Illinois before coming back to OH to sit in distribution for 7 days. This is not truly a mail issue as ballots were delivered flawlessly....it’s a political game.
      Sorry you did not receive your package timely

      Delete
  3. Patrice, I suspect that issues with backorders and poor supply chains are with us for the foreseeable future.

    I will say that I have had issues with updates from a number of vendors using USPS. I have heard (colloquially) that they are up to two weeks behind in some cases. I would also think, given the upcoming push for vaccine delivery, that UPS and FedEx will become just as bad.

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  4. Post Alley CrackpotDecember 28, 2020 at 7:22 PM

    A related question: is it just the Southeast or are you also having problems finding pint-sized Ziploc freezer bags right now?

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    1. I've never bought PINT Ziploc bags, but I bought a "case" (or whatever it's called -- a Costco quantity) of QUART bags from Costco years ago and haven't had to buy any since. Since I haven't been looking, I don't know if there are shortages.

      - Patrice

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    2. The shelf for ziplocks and tin foil and saran wrap at my local stores have been less than full since this started. They have at least a couple boxes of everything every time I've looked, but sometimes thats ALL thats there.

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  5. Yup, I've been patiently waiting for more than a month for my Lehman's order.

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  6. Nothing new here. We get our neighbors mail, our neighbors get our mail. Our magazines are 'broken in' before er get them. One expensive item was more than 2 week late, we reordered it. The reorder arrived. Three days later the original order arrived and se we had to return it. Our mail often is coated in 10 lbs of gravel road dust. Remember this if you are moving to a rural area and think Amazon will keep you supplied! Natokadn

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  7. I had an online order, from a company I've ordered from alot, in mid-Dec. Normally when they ship I have it in a couple days. 3 max. This time, it shipped on 12/14. I got it on 12/27. USPS yes. But as someone who has to deal with most of the major shippers for work I can tell you that they're ALL behind to some degree.

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  8. UPS in northern Idaho is using U-Haul trucks for rural delivery. They don't even enter the property, the just bag it and put it on my open gate. Thank goodness for cameras.

    As for USPS, it took ten days for my property taxes to arrive at the county. It is/was Xmas and that had something to do with it. Xmas cards mailed on 12/8 are now arriving.

    This too shall pass. 2020 was pretty bad, 2021 is going to be just as bad I fear.

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  9. My problem is USPS, and that was even before the pandemic, they are horribly unreliable. Stuff has always been rerouted around the country before showing up at my house. Huge delays now with the pandemic, but our actual carrier is awful, some weeks we get mail once or twice a week because they just don't want to deliver it. Same with packages, they sit at the post office for days before getting delivered. I too am still getting christmas cards mailed in November and early December.

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