From storing food in Yeti coolers to washing dishes in a walk-up bathtub, consumers are facing the drawn out consequences of product and labor shortages as well as supply-chain challenges for appliance manufacturers.
Some backlogged orders are taking up to a year to arrive. In the meantime, consumers are microwaving breakfast in their bedrooms and finding innovative ways to adapt to their frustrations.
Manufacturing and supply-chain problems have turned household amenities into hard-to-find trophies, leaving consumers and salespeople alike scrambling for workarounds. Appliance sellers are doing double duty as therapists to frustrated consumers, who may find themselves eating cereal for dinner and doing dishes in the bathtub for months.
Jacqueline Feeney, an interior designer, ordered appliances in August 2020 for her new apartment in Rye, N.Y. The delivery dates kept getting pushed back, but she and her husband moved in anyway, making an Instant Pot pressure cooker the center of their kitchen while waiting for their stove. Ms. Feeney, 33, initially used a Yeti cooler to store food, but was eventually able to borrow a mini-fridge from her appliance store, a practice that suppliers said has become common among retailers hoping to soothe customers.
To save refrigerator space, Ms. Feeney said she and her husband cooked only one dinner a week, eating it as leftovers and supplementing with ready-made meals and some takeout.
“It was like playing Tetris to see how many things we can shove into the mini-fridge without the door popping back open,” she said. Their full-size refrigerator didn’t arrive until last month, after more than a year.
In Los Angeles, Mr. Calderon, 42, said he is trying to manage customers’ expectations, and to connect customers directly with manufacturing representatives to show that he doesn’t have any more information than they do about when their dishwashers will arrive. Still, he feels like it isn’t enough.
“If it wasn’t for Covid, I would go over and do their dishes,” he said.