Two things you didn't expect the world to run out of are Boba tea and Ketchup. The reasons for the stockouts are unrelated. The Ketchup shortage is driven by the shift from dining in restaurants to relying on food delivery and take-outs. When dining in a restaurant, one can use big bottles of Ketchup and unused packets are left for the next customer. When delivering food, restaurants tend to send more condiments than needed, and customers never return these or have a way of signal that they don’t need them. Over time, the demand outpaces the supply, which I am sure was stable for years.
Thanks for the math on this. I've also heard directly from clients that high value items get priority in the queue. TVs versus Tapioka makes sense on paper, but in practice can you really shuffle the queue that way? A factor to consider. Also, the WSJ talks about bull whip effect, so is it true that retailers are compensating for unusually low inventory levels and over ordering? Thanks, Grant Kellogg 2015