Out of Stock: is this a Northeast/NYC area thing?
Sep 29, 2020 at 4:07 pm #3677887
I went to my local REI (Long Island, suburbs of NYC) yesterday in search of some camping supplies (isobutane cannisters, Ursak, some other small items) and was surprised to find the shelves empty. Plenty of clothes, backpacks and sleeping bags but none of the little stuff that you’d use on a regular basis. No estimate of re-supply.
Similarly, I was at a Field and Stream and they were wiped out of camping supplies….and guns & ammo. Are people seeing this elsewhere in the country? I have a hard to accepting that so many more people are camping (without buying those backpacks and sleeping bags!) and wonder if something else is going on.
And/or are manufacturers just unable to keep up with demand. For example, the two MSR stoves recommended in the last gear review are marked as unavailable on the website. Just wondering….Sep 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm #3677892David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I haven’t noticed any shortage of guns, ammo, stoves, or fuel here in Alaska, perhaps because Y2K, Obama’s terms, and general paranoia had everyone stocked up already. And a majority are Covid deniers. But several times recently, I’ve searched online for things in stock in the 48 states, and, yup, often there’s nothing to be had locally. REI, Walmart, Big 5, Sportman’s Warehouse, Cabelas, etc.
I’d theorize that, like toilet paper, it made no sense for manufacturers to have excess capacity, versus just enough capacity running 24/7 in normal times, to meet what had been a steady demand, so there is no excess capacity to ramp up when people start hoarding.
Once upon a time, GM ran car assembly lines from 8 am to 4 pm with a day shift. If a model got really popular, they’d add a swing shift. When WWII started, they produced military vehicles using the same equipment by running 3 shifts plus overtime. Now, the robotic assembly lines are already working around the clock.Sep 29, 2020 at 6:08 pm #3677897
Prepper stores here in NorCal are busy. Gun sales are up. Still plenty of shortages at the grocery store.Sep 29, 2020 at 6:23 pm #3677898dirtbagBPL Member
My co worker went to REI flagship store NYC, downtown (SOHO) and same thing. Shelves were empty.. what ever crap was left had no prices on anything.. and was mostly useless stuff anyway. EVERYTHING was out of stock.. store was pretty much empty.Sep 29, 2020 at 6:31 pm #3677899
I guess I better reacquaint myself with my Fancy Feast stove.Sep 29, 2020 at 6:56 pm #3677901Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
Stores have nothing because all incoming stock goes to online orders. Good luck finding iso or Coleman propane. All outdoor industry in the same boat. No bikes. No kayaks. No paddles. Will be this way til early next year.Sep 29, 2020 at 7:10 pm #3677902Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
Its partially manufacturing issues. Their teams have Covid issues too. Also a logistics problem. Stuff is sitting on docks and in warehouses because it can’t be delivered. Not enough trucks and drivers. I have mgt. friends at UPS and DHL. They’re bending over backwards, but you can’t run everyday like its the Superbowl. They dread Amazon Prime Day in 2 weeks. It will bury the delivery systems for weeks.Sep 29, 2020 at 7:14 pm #3677903Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Certainly people are camping a lot more. We wanted to go to one of our favorite state parks over Columbus Day weekend, but as we look at huge campgrounds with hundreds of campsites and only 13 not previously reserved we changed our mind. We’ve camped there in October before and it might have been 30% occupancy in the past. The same thing happened in most of the other PA state parks. The concept of sharing bathroom facilities with that many people (i.e. standing next to 3 people spitting into the sink as they brush their teeth) is just too frightening to consider for us.
We got lucky and were able to rent a modern cabin (with its own bathroom) so we’ll still have a camping experience. In short, I’m not surprised that you’re finding empty shelves. You might have better luck hitting a smaller local hardware store.Sep 29, 2020 at 7:18 pm #3677904Greg MihalikSpectator
Here in Podunk south-central Colorado we seem well supplied. Pallets of Coleman propane at Wally’s. No empty shelves at the two primary grocery stores. Plenty of guns and ammo.
Like most, shelves were laid bare as covid-panic set in, but now are back to normal.
We just returned from a three week jaunt to Minnesota and saw no shortages in the dozen or stores we hit.
Perhaps it’s “prepper-panic” in light of the upcoming elections.Sep 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm #3677907
Being surrounded by fire and many people evacuated I’m not surprised with the way things are here.Sep 29, 2020 at 10:57 pm #3677921Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
Yes, when I visited REI was wiped out of a lot of essential items, but I have noticed shortages/delays across the board. Have not been able to get a Sodastream canister in more than seven weeks.Sep 30, 2020 at 1:21 pm #3677955Russ WBPL Member
@gatome83Locale: Southeastern US
I noticed nothing unusual in Charlotte, NC.Sep 30, 2020 at 6:04 pm #3677981Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I work for a local outdooR rEtaIler in Colorado and have had a front row seat to shortages since our store reopened in late May/early June. Fuel (both isopro and propane), tents, stoves, dehydrated food, bear canisters, bikes, boats and SUPS, and car rack parts and accessories have been impossible or nearly impossibly to find or keep in stock. I think all of the reasons folks have mentioned play a part in these shortages. It’s been the perfect storm of manufacturing slowdowns and shutdowns (so much is made in Asia), distribution problems, and increase in demand since everyone is suddenly discovering the outdoors. It’s been very frustrating for consumers and equally frustrating for salespeople who don’t have the products people need and want to buy. The supply chain is just broken, although we are starting to see some things be more available again. Isopro is still scarce, though.
Thank goodness we are mostly talking about “toys” and not essentials like food. We are quite fortunate there.Sep 30, 2020 at 6:31 pm #3677988David W.Spectator
Definitely a little harder to find fuel canisters in SoCal than pre-COVID. REI’s shelves were bare in Burbank and Fresno. I was able to find a decent selection at Big 5 Sporting Goods out here. For now just using the old alcohol stove though.Sep 30, 2020 at 7:26 pm #3677995
Watch out David as you can’t buy denatured alcohol in CA any longer.Sep 30, 2020 at 7:59 pm #3678004Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
As others have said… the combination of prepping, people camping more because other travel isn’t working, and supply chain disruptions have made many things more difficult to find. NorCal stores were out of things like iso canisters a couple of months ago… but when I was in my local REI a few weeks ago they have a modest supply of consumables like iso canisters.Sep 30, 2020 at 8:02 pm #3678005
It would be a shame if the limited supply is automatically routed to online fulfillment to the detriment of the brick and mortar shops. REI is really the only shop that carries better quality hiking/camping gear near me. The next nearest place is 2.5 hours away. So I’m in REI a lot and to see the shelves empty is distressing, and when they tell you to go home and order online (not much better in terms of availability), it makes me wonder why they need a giant store and the real estate expenses associated with it. The clothes side of the store is the only part with merchandise, but they have sealed off the fitting rooms. I wonder how long they can hold out before they realize they don’t need a store there. I know they just finished a big corporate HQ building out west and already have it on the market to sell it.Oct 1, 2020 at 11:43 am #3678057Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
@Bob Kerner, REI stores in different markets have different phased reopening schedules. We have had a few fitting rooms opened now for several weeks in the Boulder store. AFA needing “giant” stores when product can’t be obtained and having to order online, that is almost surely temporary, though who knows for how long. People still want to touch-feel-try on when possible before purchasing.
To your point, one might also be asking why we need all those giant university and educational complexes and doctors’ offices when no one can utilize them. Why are we paying for infrastructure when classes are held online and your doctor appointment is over the phone? Things will eventually return to a more pre-Covid normal. I hope.Oct 1, 2020 at 12:21 pm #3678061
Jenny, I’m one of those giant university medical center people! You’re right and it’s something we see now as a liability. We’re trying to shed $$$$$$$$ worth of real estate leases now that we know people can do a lot of work from home. I hope the stores return to normal but I think some industries will not, and that’s not a bad thing.Oct 2, 2020 at 6:35 am #3678159
The next nearest place is 2.5 hours away.
Whatever happened to EMS?
Here Isobutane was not widely available for a time at REI. It’s now back there. Next door to REI is a store called Sportsman’s Warehouse – they maintained a fairly good supply even when REI’s shelves were dry. Other shops seemed to have a decent supply too.
Undoubtedly some of the problem is the mfg/supply chain from Korea.Oct 2, 2020 at 8:57 am #3678168
EMS is gone. They filed for bankruptcy several years ago. Closed almost all of the stores. The only one I know of is in Lake Placid. 6 hours is too far to drive for an MSR canister!!! and the store (as of last Nov) was mostly clothes…the few camping items they had were relegated to the lower level with coolers and camp chairs. The manager told me they kept that store open because of foot traffic and to clear out their clothing inventory. I think they still have an online presence.Oct 2, 2020 at 4:49 pm #3678212
EMS is gone. They filed for bankruptcy several years ago. Closed almost all of the stores
Hmm. I counted 21 locations in the NE. Including one pretty close to you.Oct 2, 2020 at 6:46 pm #3678224
There used to be two in the city and one out on Long Island. Long gone. I wonder if those are reincarnations of original stores, or new ones….I don’t shop in NJ at all. That one in NJ is a solid 1:2o away.
Not to go too far down a rabbit hole, but the old one nearest me was the cat’s pajamas. I spent so much time in there, first as a scout then as I learned to climb. I remember going there to by an MSR multi fuel stove, so proud I didn’t have to rely on making a fire. Then one day they moved to a smaller store. Then an even smaller store. Then REI opened up 1000 feet away and they were gone within 18 months or so.Oct 2, 2020 at 6:48 pm #3678226
That one in NJ is a solid 1:2o away.
Ok, you said nothing within 2.5 hours, so that’s why I was wondering. My bad.
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