Have you tried to buy a new car, a used car, a refrigerator, a couch, or a power amplifier lately? It's not easy. And it costs more than it used to.
Thankfully, we have been able to finish our projects, find the equipment you need when you need it (aside from a few exceptions) and are having a good sales year. The demand is there. But there are shortages and things are not turning more positive overall yet, in terms of supply.
Over the past 20 years or so, the United States and much of the world became accustomed to just-in-time delivery of just about everything it needed. Raw materials flowed to factories where those materials were fashioned into components, and then finished goods, and then where they were finished just about the time US suppliers ordered 6-8 weeks ahead and filled the warehouses, just in time for retailers to have nearly unlimited free warehousing at the supplier.
Those days are gone, for now. The "chip shortage" that you've heard about is very real, freight increases are very real (and price increases, too) and we suspect that there's some profiteering among some because "everyone else is raising prices". It's frustrating, but it's our new reality, and thus, it's yours, too.
As you plan for the rest of 2021, and 2022, make sure to start early, order as soon as you can, expect to have some delays, and know that everyone is doing their dead level best to get you what you need.
Car dealers can't eat, unless they sell cars. Same with all businesses. Every bit of non-borrowed government funding comes from the profitable resale of products and services - period. Don't let Washington fool you.
The current situation is not bleak, but getting what you need might require some extra days and weeks, so don't get caught by surprise.
If your favorite retailer of any sort tells you that you better get in line now for something you need in a few weeks, get in line. Order it today. You'll be glad you did.