Many say they’re running into long waits for new appliances

Many say they’re running into long waits for new appliances

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cristina Bolling said it was an old washer. Finally, one day, it was leaking water out the bottom.

She thought she and her husband would “just go out to a big-box retailer and pick one out and, hopefully, get it delivered in the next few days.” But, as soon as they got there, she realized it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“[The salesperson] said, ‘Well, basically, none of those are available and they won’t be for the foreseeable future,’” Bolling said.

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“Definitely never thought it was going to be this hard.”

Part of it is a supply problem; part of the other -- a demand problem. Boston 25 News has been told factories had to slow down (so less supply) and that a lot of people used their stimulus money on appliances (so more demand).

“[We] went to a bunch more stores. Kept looking online. Called out to places. It was coming up empty, really, for quite a few days, weeks even,” Bolling said.

Bolling finally bit the bullet. “The laundry pile was so high. I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ So we basically went to a big-box retailer. We went to Lowe’s, and I said to the man, ‘Point to something that you have in stock that you can get me this week.’”

He did, and she bought it.

“It had good enough reviews. Probably more money than I wanted to spend, but my husband and I decided right then and there that was going to be our new washer,” she said.

Charlotte, NC appliance store manager Roddey Player said they saw it coming.

“So we started loading up inventory, orders anyway. We put lots of orders in February/March. And some of them, to be honest with you, some of them are just now coming in,” Player said.

He said that before the pandemic, customers might have had to wait four or five days for an appliance. But now, if he doesn’t have it in stock, it can take weeks.

“And it’s not just the manufacturer. There’s a parts shortage too. So the parts suppliers ran to the same issue. So getting the right parts to the right factory at the right time to make the right product has been a real challenge, really, for all the manufacturers in the appliance industry,” he said.

Consumers are advised to be patient, be willing to settle for brands and models you may not be used to, and -- if you can -- don’t wait until the last minute.