The “Everything Shortage” is impacting everything from school lunches to fertilizer sales

Rental cars, at-home Covid tests, fertilizerBen & Jerry’s ice cream: It’s the age of the “Everything Shortage,” a fresh Atlantic coinage that refers to the sprawling series of supply chain glitches that have left grocery stores with empty shelves and an Alabama school district warning parents of a possible lapse in lunch service. Some blame the U.S. labor market, some blame globalization, some blame the mail. To complicate matters further, The New Yorker points out that the pandemic is probably masking separate issues caused by Brexit and natural disasters like Hurricane Ida. But there is one point on which experts do seem to agree: This won’t go away in time for the holiday season. Expect delivery delays, purchase limits, and—horror of horrors—fewer promotional discounts at the checkout line.