World Runs Out of Weirdest Stuff: The WOLF STREET Beer Mug Shortage

“Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line,” except supply chains.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The shortages that have hit the WOLF STREET beer and iced-tea mug are great examples of how screwed up supply chains are, how widespread the shortages are, how they hit some things, but not similar things, until they too suddenly disappear, how the uncertainty about pricing when stuff finally does become available can leave you high and dry, and how surging freight costs are eating everyone’s lunch.

First things first: The mug is not for sale. I send it out as thank-you gift to people who donated $100 or more to WOLF STREET and who specifically say that they want this mug (quite a few don’t). So there is no retail price but only my costs, which includes shipping the mug to the recipient.

90% of the final costs of the mug are provided in the US by US companies and US labor. Services account for roughly 65% of the total costs of the mugs, mainly transportation costs all around. The costs of printing the three-color art on the blank mug accounts for about 25% of the total costs.

The blank glass mug and the packaging materials account for about 10% of the total costs. They may or may not have been produced in the US. I could not confirm their origin.

Here is problem number one.

It’s not any old glass mug but the 16 oz. “Koblenz Beer Stein.” I could shift production to a different model of glass mug, but this mug has become iconic and cannot be changed, ever. This will become important in a moment.

The mug has to be precision printed with wrap-around three-color art that was created by Kitten Lopez, a San Francisco artist and author. Most mug purveyors can only put simple designs, such as logos, on mugs. We contacted a few of them, and they refused to touch this job. We had to find a specialty mug printer, and they’ve done awesome work.

The mug is imprinted with the WOLF STREET dictum, “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line.” This dictum, however, has now been proven wrong by supply chains.

This is the mug from the front. There is obviously a funny looking wolf on the other side that is howling out the speech bubble:

Here is problem number two.

Back in late May, I did my inventory analysis and determined that I would run out of mugs in mid-November, based on historical mug flow data. So on May 31, I contacted my distributor, Design-a-Shirt, a company in Arizona, to reorder the mugs.

Last time, it took six weeks to get the mugs. So I figured that it might be slower this time, given all the supply chain issues, and I doubled my estimate to 12 weeks. And I’d surely have those mugs by the end of August, hahahahahha.

The mug’s supply chain: Design A Shirt orders the mugs from the mug printer, PyroGraphics, in West Des Moines, Iowa. PyroGraphics orders the blank mugs from its undisclosed supplier in Ohio. That supplier orders the blank mugs from the manufacturer Arc Group. Arc has its own supply chain for materials and equipment.

Arc, which manufactures glassware, mirrors, doors, etc. under various brands, is headquartered in France with manufacturing plants and sales operations in the US – among its entities is “ARC Glass and Mirror Company” in Houston – Europe, and China. I’m not sure where it makes the Koblenz Beer Stein.

So on June 1, in an email, Sarah at Design A Shirt said:

“It looks like there’s some bad news from the glass world, as many industries are facing currently. Glassware stock is a big issue right now.

“Arc has announced that they are ONLY making stock of their Top 50 SKUs [“stock-keeping unit,” a unique code for every product, such as a barcode] to try to keep up with demand.

“The stein #G8664 [the Koblenz model] is NOT on that list, so they will not be making any more blank items until after Oct. 1, 2021 at the earliest.”

Sarah at Design A Shirt then quoted the reply by PyroGraphics to her:

“If the customer [that would be me] wants to wait: We need a PO [purchase order] to get in line for back orders of the stock. Once stock is produced and sold to my supplier in Ohio, I can then buy it from them to come to Iowa for printing.”

PyroGraphics then offered an alternate mug:

“The only in stock glass stein, as of today, is the 13oz #G3329. As of today, there are ~4,000pcs at the domestic supplier. All 15oz or 16oz options are out of stock, same lead time applies. Need your PO to reserve your ware – once this sells out it will be after Oct. 1 for more!”

This is where problem number one kicked in: The WOLF STREET mug has become iconic and cannot be changed, ever. And stepping down from a 16oz mug to 13oz mug – the only available mug – is also out of the question.

I explained this to Sarah and ordered the Koblenz Beer Steins, no matter what the wait.

Waiting for Godot.

On June 3, Sarah got back to me. Now we’re running into problems pricing the shipping costs and getting important details worked out if the mug should ever ship.

I had asked for a truck with a liftgate to drop off the mugs at the San Francisco headquarters of my WOLF STREET media mogul empire. There are 24 mugs in each box. The boxes are shipped on pallets. Because I have no room for pallets, I asked for help carrying the boxes across the sidewalk into the garage.

So Sarah wrote on June 3:

“Their [PyroGraphics] accounting team had us fill out forms to start reserving the stock, so there has been progress, just not with a shipping quote!

“We would definitely be able to reserve a liftgate, but the driver’s availability/capacity to help wouldn’t be a guarantee. As soon as I have the numbers, I’ll get that over to you for your decision, and we have plenty of time to update if needed.”

On June 17, we received shipping cost information from PyroGraphics. Seems like we’re going to get this worked out. Whether or not the driver will be able to help remains an open item.

On August 8, Sarah said that she’d checked with Pyro, “and they replied with more bad news.” She quoted from Pryo’s email:

“We [Pyro] just learned that this item won’t even be produced until Jan. 2022.  The glass factory recently let our supplier know that they are now pushing things out further unfortunately.

“The alt [alternate 13oz mug] that I suggested is out of stock.

“Would they [WOLF STREET] consider a ceramic stein?  Those they have plenty in stock. I apologize for this delay in stock.”

So the glass alternate 13oz mug that was still available is now also sold out, and the new alternate is a ceramic mug, still plenty in stock. And pretty soon, after everyone switches to ceramic mugs, we’re down to plastic mugs. But then there’s a plastics shortage because the petrochemical industry on the Gulf Coast got hit in February by the Big Freeze, and then by hurricanes, or whatever….

But the WOLF STREET mug is iconic and can never be changed. A 16oz Koblenz Glass Stein or nothing.

If and when I get the mugs, I will have paid for the blank mugs, the printing of the mugs, and the shipping of the mugs from the manufacturer to the Pyro, and from Pyro to me. All this accounts for less than half of the final costs of the mug.

As of today, I still have not received an actual date in 2022 when production of the blank mug will start. And since there are other folks ahead of me in the queue, I don’t know when my mugs will be produced after production starts.

The box shortage hit the mugs last spring.

I wrap each mug individually in special packing paper that I buy from a US company. The lovingly wrapped mug goes into a cardboard box that I buy flat by the hundreds from a big US company. I pick them up locally to save on shipping expenses.

But last spring, when I reordered the boxes, they were on backorder, due to the box shortage, and it dragged out, and I couldn’t get the boxes, and I finally ran out of boxes.

On May 2, I finally got the boxes. So now, I have plenty of boxes, but I’m going to run out of mugs.

Freight expenses.

Everyone passes their freight expenses on to the next guy, with the ultimate guy being me. These mugs are heavy, and fragile, and shipping them is expensive. A lot more expensive than last time. The most expensive part of the mugs, accounting for about half of the total costs, is shipping the mugs from the WOLF STREET media mogul empire global headquarters to the recipient.

I ship the box in a FedEx Pak on One Rate pricing, which takes about three business days and costs about the same whether I ship across the US or across the Bay. The pricing is lower for most distances than UPS, as far as I can tell. And it’s convenient for me.

Alas, FedEx just announced another price increase across the board, including for One Rate, “during this challenging time,” effective October 4 through January 17, its holiday special, and its rate increase #2 in less than 12 months.

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  160 comments for “World Runs Out of Weirdest Stuff: The WOLF STREET Beer Mug Shortage

  1. 2banana says:

    This weekend…inflation is raging in my little corner.

    My favorite bagel place just raised prices 25%.

    Haircuts are going up 20% on October 1st.

    The electrician called me back….no quotes or work until spring due to supply shortages.

    I do more and more myself as I am pretty handy. A trend that will continue.

    And I have started to stockpile basic items as an inflation hedge and as supply chain insurance.

    Hard to believe we are here for basic stuff. Boxes. Glasses. Bagels.

    • morty Mc Mort says:

      I will take a chance here:
      I appreciate Wolfstreet, I was reading it when it was called Testosterone Pit (Still miss the name)
      No fan of that ugly mug and art… (sorry)
      Won’t miss it a bit.
      What about a contest for best mug and art???

      • NJGeezer says:

        Hiya Morty,
        Another longtime reader since TestosteronePit days.
        I too preferred that moniker. Agree on the mug, not my cup of tea.

        However, I do love the tagline, “Nothing goes to heck in a straight line.”
        It’s not unlikely that Mr. Richter may need to append a “WTF” on there at some point.

    • ChangeMachine says:

      An O-ring website mentions supply constraints due to factory shutdowns in Vietnam. Let’s ponder implications of a global o-ring shortage.

    • Truckman says:

      Not at all hard to believe, if you had been paying attention.
      This post is not meant to be smug.
      Everything I need for the next three years I ordered in Jan/Feb 2020, except for about 20% of the stuff which I correctly guessed would still be available in March this year. I had to delay some of it because I needed to build the storage to hold it.
      I’m not the only guy round here to have worked this out. My local internet supplier ordered 5 years-worth of optical cabling in March 2020. His supplier told him he was mad. Five months later they were trying to buy some back at 3 times the price. My local one-man garage has a van body full of parts he ordered over a year ago. He’s now making serious money reselling some of the parts, now unobtainable.
      The world shifted a long time ago to a Just-In-Time system. This exploits fine adjustments by eliminating resilience and pressurizing small businesses and employees with cartel contracting. It maximizes profits at the expense of both flexibility and goodwill.
      It was always going to collapse at the first global disruption to those oh-so-smooth supply chains. The collapse has persisted, and will persist, for two reasons.
      Firstly, almost no one is left in a management position who can cope with a crisis. They were eliminated because they were “awkward”, or left in disgust.
      Secondly, the goodwill is all used up. Truck drivers en masse are saying “F-U” to the companies who treated them like dirt for 15 years, which is almost all of them. My brother was a trucker, and has told a lot of people recently where they can stick their job offers, no matter what the payment offered, and he has very much enjoyed doing so. He takes the odd job for the few who were decent to him.
      And if you know the first thing about pandemics and politicians, and I do, you would have realised that they would do nothing about the pandemic spread until it was worldwide, then over-react with economically disastrous and mostly ineffective lockdowns in an attempt to cover up their original mistake.
      When does it end?
      Can’t help you there. Idiots are in charge, deliberately-panicked electors are keeping them there, and there’s no telling what idiots and the panicked will do next.
      But it is unlikely to be an improvement.
      I suggest securing everything non-perishible you need, as soon as possible, whatever the current cost, and storing it. Don’t order more than the amount you need (plus enough for your friends) before the shelf life expires, then you won’t be out of pocket if by some miracle the situation improves.
      Where possible, get the tools and raw materials, and learn the skills. The more independent you can be, the better.
      p.s. I now have my own haircutting gear (Wahl, very good) and can make my own bagels, neither of which was the case in 2019.

  2. Educated but Poor Millennial says:

    What this has to do with the containerships stockpiled at Long Beach port?
    Is this deliberate stop , to not supply goods to consumers ?
    Why they are waitng?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Port congestion. They cannot get into the port. Everything is congested and bogged down, including rail lines and trucking companies. Total chaos out there.

      • Anthony A. says:

        This reminds me of the Arab oil embargo in 1973 when I could not buy #6 fuel oil for our plant boilers in Connecticut.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Anthony A.

          You forgot to add that back then the oil tankers deliberately circled around and around delaying arrival, waiting for the price to go up. I see that happening again.

      • Trucker guy says:

        Yep.

        Nobody in the mines to extract the materials.
        Nobody in the refineries to process raw materials.
        Nobody in the factories to make products.
        Nobody in the warehouses to load shipments.
        Nobody in trucks to drive it to retailers.
        Nobody in the stores to make sales.
        Just a line of blind consumers placing backorders with free money.

        I think we finally figured out how trickle down economics can work. Keep an endless line of shortages and give free money to people.

        “Something something running out of other’s money. Ooga booga socialism!” -Mr. Trickle down himself.

        • SocalJim says:

          Why are so many jobs unfilled? Because many people have given up on America.

          Many people who have enough to retire on have quit. Why work?

        • TK says:

          Working in customer facing jobs stinks. People are rude and entitled. Just ask any Hospital Staff. Businesses should say no service if you are rude.

        • lovecat says:

          I have been trying to get some work done cutting hedges, pulling weeds, and cleaning up a yard here in Florida. T talked to several (About 8) landscape people, and 3 of them said that they lost people due to covid and did not have the labor to do the job until October or later. Two said they did not have the labor to do that kind of work, and two were sky high in price. The last coufit I talked to said OK and the boss quoted me a reasonable price. I asked him why companies had such a difficult time hiring people. He said, “Nobody wants to work.” I said that UI was ending and the xtra simulant was gone, and people need money. He shrugged his shoulders.

          So, how are these people surviving?

          Another story. My local Walmart is advertising for help. part time and full time – $11+ per hour. Home Depot , Lowes, every grocery store, coffee shop, other places are advertising like crazy for people to work. Constantly! So why no takers?

          Are they all like Truckman above is describing? Stick it to the man? I will do what I want.

          Again. How do they survive?

      • 2banana says:

        Ports, rails and trucking companies have dealt with surges before.

        You make it orderly, bring on excess capacity, divert to other facilities, etc.

        None of this makes any sense.

        • ron macnair says:

          I agree with the 2banana. It’s like Otis Redding said. “Sitting on the dock of the bay.”

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Exactly. There is a lot to this situation that doesn’t add up.

          In Wolf’s case, though, the bottleneck isn’t shipping, it’s back at the primary point of production – no glass mugs. There’s more going wrong than just shipping bottlenecks. Production is breaking down, but why? (Reminds one of Atlas Shrugged, which I don’t agree with, but which has a similar production-breakdown plot…)

        • Wolf Richter says:

          2banana,

          I agree. It’s total chaos. My wife works in that industry; total chaos, every day. We need demand to stop for two weeks totally and allow everyone to catch up and get efficient again. The whole thing has become totally inefficient because nothing works anymore like it is supposed to. But this is peak shipping season. Nothing is going to stop for a while. It’s just going to keep piling on.

        • Trucker guy says:

          It’s a double edged sword. Everything is made and structured around just in time manufacturing and shipping. When a global shutdown occurs for a prolonged period of time you can never catch up because this surge in demand is actually temporary so it would be foolish to ramp up production and improve capacity. But without an increase of production you can’t catch up lost ground.

          JIT was like a candle burning at one end that got snuffed out while the other end was lit. Now that the flame has been lit on top, it’s burning at both ends.

      • AdamSmith says:

        Having never experienced the aftermath of a pandemic what do you see post resolution of these many issues? It seems this will result in many bizarre twists and turns hard to conceptualize now….

        • josap says:

          The post-apocalyptic fiction section has been moved to current affairs.

          There is no way to know how things turn out and when. This isn’t over and more millions are yet to die worldwide. More millions will retire early and stay home. Some people will be financially able to not return to work because their spouse earns enough to pay the bills.

        • kam says:

          I sold Caterpillar equipment in 1973/74. The order file on all key machines, D6, D8, 966c, etc built out to over a year.
          When the cracks started showing in the bloated order files (from people ordering stuff “just in case”) the order file collapsed within 3 months.
          Customers just said, “keep my deposit, but I will never buy Cat again.”
          The bottom line on shortages is the Heavy Hand of Governments creating disincentives to come to work. Period.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I don’t think anyone has any idea. We can venture a few guesses. One of them is that price increases (rampant inflation) will eventually cool demand, and everyone can catch up. Cooling demand is really what is needed. Of course, financial markets would have a cow.

      • c1ue says:

        As Wolf said – but more detail: the chaos caused by the combination of COVID and subsidies increasing demand as well as port and shipping turn around times, in turn caused a shortage of containers, which in turn makes shipping even more complicated.
        It seems likely now that the decreased supply in turn causes some hoarding/stockpiling which then makes the existing problem worse.
        The Holiday shopping season will be interesting: high prices for what there is.

        • Khowdung Flunghi says:

          At some point, priorities will HAVE to adjust. I recently saw a “review” of Halloween costumes for your cat for under $15! Seriously – I’m sure the cat will experience a traumatic meltdown without one – all the cool kids cats’ are wearing ’em.

      • Rowen says:

        The US desperately needs new ports, but there are too many vested interests. So many ports on the East Coast were built when boats were made of wood. Space is limited to upgrade facilities; harbor channels aren’t deep enough for the mega-ships; no room for rail; truckers have to fight with commuter traffic.

        But yes, there’s a massive glass shortage globally, probably because no one anticipated having to make billions of glass vaccine vials.

  3. andy says:

    Wolf, you can just start selling the NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of this mug art for double the price. I downloaded a copy. Disaster avoided.

    • cas127 says:

      Agreed, NFTs are the way to go.

      What supporters are really just looking for is incontrovertible evidence that they were with you on the “ground floor”.

      You know, sorta like Jesus and the Apostles…

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I drink real liquidity out of my mug. You cannot drink real liquidity out of an NFT.

      • Blockhead says:

        Make an NFT of you not drinking real liquid out of an NFT mug.
        Sell the NFT for millions and retire?

      • TimTim says:

        🤣🤣🤣

      • buda atum says:

        That’s so true Wolf. Pity the £100 it takes to ship to UK must have gone up further beyond my reach. I too would have loved to drink liquidity out of a “going to heck in a straight line” even though the line to this current heck wasn’t exactly straight.

      • The UK is about to run out of Co2, which is going to hit the beer industry. Most beer is carbonated after brewing..

        • Wolf Richter says:

          They used to make beer without carbonating it, for hundreds of years, and it worked fine. Carbonation came naturally with fermentation. Lets go back to the old way of making beer. It’ll be a little less fizzy, but more flavorful/

        • Harvey Mushman says:

          My buddy brews his own beer. No carbonation added except for what happens during the brewing process. His beer is GOOOOOOOOOOD GOOD!!

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Wolf,

      “US companies desperately need to produce more in the US and import less.”

      Good point but you should add, consumers should try to buy local, and US manufactured goods, even if they have to pay a little more. The money is circulated through the USA economy and provides jobs for Americans. We would all benefit in the long run.

  4. JK says:

    “…the WOLF STREET media mogul empire global headquarters to the recipient.” haha! I love it!

    Can I get in on the IPO whenever you go public?

    • 2banana says:

      Only if blockchain is incorporated.

      • Trucker guy says:

        Beer mugs are required to be 3d printed by the most latestist advanced cnc technology from military and aircraft grade materials using only renewables and American (non-immigrant) labor.* **

        *Items sourced from global materials.
        **Some assembly may come from global factories.

    • Coffee says:

      Was it just me or did others hear Wolf’s voice in your head when you read that phrase?

  5. Raymond Rogers says:

    Talked to a guy a few days back who owns a fireworks buisiness with a bunch of locations. Ordered 30 containers this year, but was told he will get 16, and doesnt know whether those will come in on time. Said his container cost last year was about 11k a container, 32k this year, and believes 41k for next year is a conservative estimate.

  6. Anthony A. says:

    I know you re multi talented Wolf….have you thought about taking up glass blowing to make mugs and have Kitten hand pint them? Better than digital NFT’s!

    Just a thought that jumped into my aging brain.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      Or if Wolf really wants to get ahead of the curve he could have Kitten travel to each recipients home ( by bike of course) in a long well planned route and paint the Wolfstreet logo on a mug the customer already owns. That way you beat the entire supply chain problem, all shipping costs, and reduce your environmental footprint in one fell swoop.

    • Auldyin says:

      @AA
      With you on that AA
      And his garage will be empty for ages for them all to work in.
      IPO’s all come from garages!
      Just Sayin’

  7. GotCollateral says:

    Well i’m glad i got mine just in time :P

  8. California Bob says:

    “But the WOLF STREET mug is iconic and can never be changed. A 16oz Koblenz Glass Stein or nothing.”

    I have one, make me an offer!

    (JK, Wolf)

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      I was really glad to get the update on the Mug Story! But I predict that Wolf will find an alternate pipeline to reward donors. (BTW, I’m noodling a new article idea…).

      Wolf, you can say “The Mug must never change”, but if the production line is out of your control, you may not get a choice. If the producer goes out of business (or just decides not to service your need ever again), then eventually it becomes time to get creative again.

      Maybe the next thing won’t even be a mug. The red “Heck” in Kitten’s design reminds me of AOC’s now infamous dress… except Kitten’s design has style, class and taste. Maybe what’s needed is a WolfStreet T-shirt?

      P.S. Does Kitten get royalties in the production chain? ;)

      P.P.S. If you ever do get a shipment and need help moving boxes, I could potentially bring a muscular crew-of-2 over.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        I might take you up on your offer of the “muscular crew of 2” if I can’t get the driver to help me.

        • Candyman says:

          Quite frequently we are faced wth the same situation at the shop. Of course ultimate responsibility is mine to unload, but we smile and offer chocolate, gets the job done. Otherwise, the driver will help but as you guessed, there is a huge fee added. Offer the driver a couple of mugs..bet it gets the truck unloaded. As for shortages, this is where WFH isnt efficient. Factories have been hit with high demand, and a shut down due to covid.

  9. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Most important supply chain in the world is the line that runs from the Fed to Wall St, supplying the later with infinite money.

    No shortage there for sure.

  10. DR DOOM says:

    Losing beer mug technology may be the black swan event that starts the cascade failure.

  11. JWB says:

    Wolf and Kitten,

    Expand your brand to something we appear to have no shortage of: covid masks. I get where the mugs are priceless and non-negotiable and not product but rather client gifts but what about a line of straight to heck masks/I was wrong about straight to heck masks/or even just Wolf and Kitten masks? Has a nice ring to it that last one.

  12. Tom S. says:

    Welcome to the jungle. Just imagine the hell that mug manufacturer is going through, raw material shortages up the wazoo and on top no labor to be found. The US better wake up or the real commodity producers are going to eat their lunch and their dinner.

    • josap says:

      Look around the room you are sitting in. How many items were made with fully sourced materials / manufactured/assembled in the US?

      My guess would be almost none in most homes today.

      How many machinists are there today, in the US, who can make the parts to make the machines we would need to manufacture what we currently import?

      And it takes many years to learn the skill to the level of expertise needed.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        The US still has 20% of global capacity in industrial machinery production. Some of this is military-industrial complex, but the point the US has huge capabilities to stand up further machinery production if the will is there to do so. The machinists have gotten a strong productivity boost from automation, computer-controlled systems, precision metrology instruments and so on.

    • Ron says:

      Solution is simple only buy what is needed we have all become spoiled bears I’m doing it my brother in liquor business says truckers tell him meat stored in cold storage is full not releasing it hmmm keeps prices high but they can’t get booze no truck drivers this is where the problem is call in national guard to deliver than real ease as drivers are hired problem solved

      • Red says:

        Their is not a shortage of drivers just a shortage of drivers willing to work for crap pay.

        • Red says:

          I work in transportation. Good time to not do overtime and use sick time. Only way to raise wages.

        • Trucker guy says:

          Sure would be a good time for a truckers general strike. It’s been a terrible abusive industry for 30 years now after deregulation. We’re already hated because we drive gigantic slow moving billboards and only the dregs of society will do it so it’s not like we’d be damaging our PR status.

          Burn all the mega carriers badly, raise wages, and hopefully unionize more. A man can dream. I’m eagerly awaiting a blowout in housing as well. But I may turn to dust before housing becomes reasonably priced again. I’d settle for a rotting trailer up in the hills but I don’t have the ability to finance it for 400k dollars.

  13. Wolf Richter says:

    Yeah, it’s everywhere on the internet. But you cannot get them.

  14. BrianC - PDX says:

    This entire supply chain situation… looks like a very finely tuned system degrading into undamped, chaotic oscillation. [1]

    Everything has been so finely tuned there is no *slack* anywhere in the system. So any small perturbation may potentially set off another chaotic swing, which in turn will be amplified and cause something else to swing out of its normal operating range. Add in hysteresis effects as people attempt to compensate, while always being behind the curve… because in systems like this once you get out of your OODA [1] loop it’s all down hill.

    I’m think this is the new normal, and it’s going to be a long time before things calm down.

    This should be a concept familiar to engineers. :)

    [1] Observer, Orient, Decide, Act. (I’m a fan of Colonel John Boyd…)

    • BrianC - PDX says:

      Ah well, hosed my footnotes. :(

      Do wish there were a few minutes to edit after posting. lol

    • Tom S. says:

      Ye ol inverted pendulum, which way will it fall?

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      A good metaphor here is a busy freeway when it hits that point of overload where a single person tapping the brake somewhere causes the person behind them to have to brake harder, cascading backward such that traffic grinds entirely to a halt for a while, with spillover effects on all connected roads.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Great illustration for what’s going on.

      • Auldyin says:

        @WS
        There’s Traffic flow math and stats for that phenominon.
        If I didn’t have to finish this whisky I’m drinking, I would get my calculator out and maybe I could write a formula to solve this whole problem. Ha Ha.
        Nah! It’s too much like work, better fun watching.
        Just Sayin’

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Yep, you can do the math for freeways… there have to be some similar tools for supply chains (Operations Research?) but the real world of supply chains + COVID + political mandates will be too complicated for any model.

      • Trucker guy says:

        So the global economy is like Atlanta. I’d shudder if I cared enough.

    • Hillbilly Hero says:

      The USMC has a similar motto:
      Improvise
      Adapt
      Overcome

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Hillbilly-always heard that one with the Rangers. older general Army: move/shoot/communicate (a equilateral triangle that suffers when any hypotenuse is broken).

        may we all find a better day.

  15. Island Teal says:

    Supply Chain Issues, many of which are discussed above including the complex multiplayer sourcing that Wolf faces, are a very convenient and time honored excuse to raise prices. I know we are in an inflationary upward spiral. How many prices increases are accompanied with the analytic data that justifies the requested increase?

  16. MCH says:

    Wolf,

    I’m going to expound on a conspiracy theory here for a minute. The trouble you’re seeing has nothing to do with the supply chain… or rather, it has everything to do with the supply chain, but not in the way you think.

    You have been telling the truth too long on your media empire. Your not so subtle dig at the incompetence of the media, the exposure of all the silliness going on. You, Mr. Richter have attracted the wrong set of attention.

    Now they are after you. Your mug shortage is their (I don’t want to mention who they are here…) way of trying to cut off your revenue, even though you’ve indicated that you’re just shipping out the mugs without charge. They are guessing that you’re lying and are making a fortune off the mugs, so now they are trying to squeeze your life line for the mugs.

    It’s step one in the effort to get Wolf Richter on board with the mainstream. They sincerely hope that they do not have to resort to more extreme methods… like making Sonic upcharge your internet service and then start routing you through a chatbot.

    The world is harsh on people who don’t follow the narrative… and as for Sara, well, let’s just say Sara is the tip of the spear.

    Heh heh, wanted to hit you with a bit of late Saturday humor.

    :)

    • Auld Kodjer says:

      Somewhere deep in the FED minutes: “Wolf Richter! I’m going to make that Mug pay”.

      As so it is.

      • MCH says:

        It’s more like somewhere deep in the bowels of the NY Fed building…. hmmm, no, not sinister enough. Rather, somewhere in the bowels of the Treasury, where the second of the appointed member of the J team, the soft spoken one that controls the USSS holds court.

        There is a list, it’s only a naughty list, and once you get on, you never get off, the only change is where you rank on the list… (kind of like the no fly list) Someone has marked the name of Wolf Richter down for daring to counter the narrative. And his name has moved up sufficiently to warrant action…

        Sinister….

        See, I can do conspiracy theory like the best of them, I should start a site… heheheh

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Someone from the Deep State has been reading my posts on Wolf Street, and they don’t like what I’ve been saying. I may have some bigger problems than a shortage of beer mugs. Free speech is gone in the USA.

  17. josap says:

    Prices increase until people stop buying. People stop buying and there are no longer shortages. And if you simply can’t get it, it does not get purchased.

    The above does not include food, utility power, or housing. The mix changes, people’s expectations change so less might be consumed in those areas as well.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      But if Congress+Fed don’t stop printing, people won’t stop buying, and the shortages will get worse.

      Then again, if they do stop printing, the markets will probably crash.

  18. Yort says:

    Wolf – I’d Paypal a $300 donation for a single J-POW shot glass imprinted with his maniacal laugh pose(r) photo as seen on the SP500 futures chart below:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_VzwjDXIAEJkUK?format=jpg&name=medium

    As far as who might be buying/hoarding all the stuff right now, Yahoo had an article on “Purchase FOMO” recently, with the summary copy and pasted below:

    The report from MassMutual, an insurance and financial services firm, polled 1,750 Americans and found the majority are experiencing FOMO as their friends and family cut loose.

    Social media is playing a major role — 39% of all respondents said they feel pressure to spend more money when they see others living it up online.

    Younger Americans are particularly susceptible. Millennial and Gen Z respondents are spending $1,016 more per month, on average, than they did last summer.

  19. Scott says:

    Keep us posted on this story, I would like to get another mug … it sounds like they will become a collector’s item.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I still have a few mugs. My run-out-of-mug date is in November. Still on track for that.

      Yes, I’ll keep you posted.

      This is just a crazy story when you think about it. But now this is happening everywhere, with all kinds of stuff.

      • josap says:

        I ordered nail polish because the two stores around me don’t carry the brand/colors I want. So sent Amazon an order yesterday. They said the delivery date is mid-Oct. Almost a month from now. For stupid nail polish.

  20. otishertz says:

    Wolf,

    Sounds like if you shorten the shipping and the supply line you could have a lot of money to play with vs what you expect to pay in the future – if you are lucky enough to even get an order filled. The insistence that the old design never change may obfuscate decent substitutes that your readers may like as much or more.

    Are there any regional glass companies, maybe a local glass blower, bottle manufacturer, or even a scientific glass maker, I don’t know, that can make a couple hundred custom mugs for you?

    You might have to adapt Kitten’s design a little but the with the headaches you describe it can’t be any worse. Then, boom, the old mug is an instant collectible.

    It’s hard to wait this kind of thing out when you are trying to make money today.

    However, retailers in general will likely order way too much and make decisions on future demand assuming the new abnormal will last forever, leading to future inventory gluts and sales where things get dumped below cost as always.

    • otishertz says:

      P.S. An old freind of mine contracted a scientific glass maker to make some very innovative and beautiful custom glass water pipes that he gave out to his big customers. Would buy 24-48 at a time. Very doable. The guy probably paid in cannabis oil though. hahaha

  21. Sea Creature says:

    I have an official Wolf Street mug.. maybe I should auction it, you know, with an NFT to boot at $1M for authenticity as the cherry on top!

    Naw…let the WFT bubble roar.. fortunately there’s still beer in the fridge and I will keep my mug 4eva ;-)

  22. ivanislav says:

    Breaking (Axios): “States that ended COVID unemployment benefits see no boost in job growth”

    How nice of the professional media to set me straight. I had foolishly believed Mr. Richter’s graphs (another article) that showed roughly twice the rate of unemployment decline in those states that ended benefits. That’ll sure teach me who to trust!

  23. drifterprof says:

    “The insistence that the old design never change may obfuscate decent substitutes that your readers may like as much or more.”

    Maybe, but having taken a look at the Koblenz Beer Stein, I really like the clean, sort of minimalist-functional beautiful style. I’ve never liked the ceramic steins, which seem like they are designed by Liberace style artists. It’s kind of tempting me to switch from smaller donations to one big enough to get the stein (if it becomes available).

    It would be a gift though, since shipping to myself here in Thailand would too expensive. I miss good quality microbrewery beers. Alcohol products are crap here in Thailand, unless you want to pay way upscale prices (gouge the tourists scenario). I’d rather not partake, which has its good side. When a flow of high quality beer or wine is available, it’s a hit on my budget even at reasonable prices.

    Also, good beer or wine-making equipment / ingredients are not readily available here 😥

    BTW, a significant plus in reading wolfstreet is the absence of nag screens, nag popups, free article limits, etc. — I have low tolerance for that kind of thing.

  24. Andy says:

    What about the extra printing cost”…except the global supply chain.”?

  25. Anthony says:

    It’s quite clear, from the maths, that the problem came from Governments locking down and then paying people to sit at home buying things. I know that, in history, every 80 years or so populations seem to lose the plot but it’s quite clear that we have now entered a period where the totally stupid rule.(some say evil) I know extra vitamins can increase your IQ but for some people it is too late….sadly there is no vitamin for true evil……

    • Swamp Creature says:

      The next thing to happen is massive public worker strikes. Metro workers, school teachers, hospital workers, etc. You ain’t seen nothin yet. I’m finishing a book “Ring of Steel” by Alexander Watson a British author, “Germany and Austria in WWI. Even the working population got fed up with the lack of food, decent wages, working conditions etc and marched off to job in droves. This will happen here.

    • Auldyin says:

      @A
      Could ‘Lemming’ be the word you’re after?

  26. breamrod says:

    all I know is that glass that is used in the Wolf Street mug is first rate. Dropped mine on a tile floor ( after a little too much libation) and it bounced right back up into my hand. Any other mug would have shattered into a million pieces!

    • 635 says:

      Breamrod, time to consider selling your mug on eBay. Scarcity value. Big mark up, take the money and buy more libations. Increases gdp and velocity of M1. Capitalism at its finest and single malt for you . A true patriot

      • David Hall says:

        The price of diesel fuel is up 98 cents a gallon over the past year.

        People have been buying shipping containers to use as storage solutions instead of shipping solutions.

        The Chinese shutdown the world’s third busiest port for two weeks in August due to their zero tolerance of COVID policy.

      • John Beech says:

        I suspect there’s not enough money in the world for him to sell mugs. These are a thank you ‘gift’, not a product being created for the purpose of being sold. If you think about it, it essentially diminishes the entire point of them if he produced them for sale. As is, they are in a manner of speaking, priceless. After all, nobody in their right mind would pony up $100 for a lousy glass beer mug.

  27. RAB says:

    This shortage will bring out the mug hoarders. On my last donation
    I requested a signed photo. This might assuage your donors in the mean time. Wolf’s “da Man”.

  28. Dave k. says:

    Readers as a joke I’m sure would enjoy a 13 oz “inflation adjusted mug”

    But seriously….where are all the people? Hiring signs everywhere, supply chain issues etc.

    All of a sudden it seems like millions of people are missing…..

    • John Beech says:

      You want to stand cheek-to-jowl with someone who may be infected? Or work the restaurant trade where the cook may have a runny nose but wipes it on the same cloth he wipes his hands with because he cannot afford to not go to work because he was released from prison two years ago and it’s this job or nothing and the business owner lords it over him whilst treating him worse than a dog because a former inmate for any crime is lower than dog poop on the bottom of your shoe when it comes to finding work? Lot of former prisoners in the country. I know because one of our guys was busted for pot about 20 years ago and thus, has a record that follows him everywhere. So worker issues are real. And extend this, and not a few cases because examples abound like, momma has been working at the hair saloon but she’s afraid of being infected and who will take care of the kids since the daycare is closed and the ones open are subject to infecting her babies and on top of that, they now want $200/week when I was paying $125/week last year! Costs less for her to stay home and turns out, she likes staying home cooking and keeping house, changing shitty diapers, and supervising her kids on the computer doing school work! And this, from someone who may only clear $200/week after taxes. My least costly guy earns $30/hr. No, he doesn’t program a CNC mill (that guy earns a lot more) but he does stand around all day feeding the mill or lath blanks or bar stock and removing semi-finished parts (for either another operation, deburring, or washing). Point being, he and his wife (husband in one instance) are living these kinds of stories. Even the ladies in pick-and-pack who earn $20/hour are struggling because if you do the math, that’s not very much money when rent keeps going up. Point being, respectfully, there are many sound reasons people are reluctant to go to work. And folks struggling on $12/hour? My heart goes out to them. You should try living on the lower end of the wage scale in America. It’ll open your eyes, I promise.

      • joe2 says:

        I’m a US Senator and I didn’t under stand a word you said. Catch you later I’m late for my tee time with a lobbyist. BTW, make sure your employees are diverse. I’ll be down to check on that.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        John – Great Comment!

      • Petunia says:

        And landlords think the people you describe will pay higher and higher rents. HA.

    • Auldyin says:

      @Dk
      Absolutely a special temporary ‘Hedonic’ edition to be withdrawn when the World gets back to normal (if it ever does)
      LoL

  29. John Beech says:

    Similar problem. I produce ProModeler servos, and while we machine the aluminum components in-house (with three other local shops handling our overflow), the motors and potentiometers come out of Japan and the gears out of Taiwan, so we’re not a Made in USA product.

    Point being, when potentiometers became an issue I was offered a clone made just to the west, which has 2/3 the price advantage. Good, eh? Nope because the thing is, the clone looks exactly the same but in ‘our’ testing doesn’t perform as long, e.g. the same, so I decline. Anyway, long story shortened, what we had been buying these with a 45-day lead time, and last fall this stretched to 90-days, and now is 120 days but we’re being guided to expect 180-days. Point being I am now buying four times as many at a time, and waiting four times as long! Note, in point of fact I am actually buying more than that because I account for growth, which while modest and does not proceed in a straight line, is trending upwards at a rate I can estimate as if it were a straight line.

    And then there’s freight, which as you mentioned does nothing but go up. Meanwhile, consumers whine about blah-blah free freight whilst mentioning Amazon Prime, or whinge how it’s too expensive, whatever. Those consumers I tell to go pound sand because they’re not worth having. Surprisingly rude of me but I can get away with it because I made the best servo in the world (I’m from the south and it’s not bragging if you can back it up).

    Major point being, this story is repeated with everybody who has a supply chain. The sole exception being Alro, who supplies us with aluminum. No problems there. Monday the truck shows up as usual and prices were actually going down a bit until last summer, but since then they have been on a tear! But no issues with actually supply, e.g. shortages.

    Similarly, we buy machine tools from GW Shultz, a local company (about 15 miles away, so local-ish), and their prices have held steady as well. Bolts, o-rings, bearings are steady-ish price-wise, too. One screw we have custom manufactured at a boutique forge in MI has doubled in cost but if you saw how many screws come in a keg you’d understand why we swallow hard at the thought but pony up because in practice we chose not to resort to an import.

    Other machine bolts are a US supplier but provenance is uncertain but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re being done overseas. Ditto o-rings, whom we buy from a Swiss supplier whose mainstay customers are watches. Meanwhile, resin prices have gone through the roof (pellets for the injection moldings). Anyway, we’re paying about $0.80/pound more than this time last year – but – supply hasn’t been constrained.

    Anyway, we’re the tiniest of the tiny when it comes to producing a product (meaning we’re insignificantly smaller than a rounding error for General Motors). So yes, we’re living in interesting times, indeed.

    Damn Confucius!

    • Ken says:

      The motor theory section section on your website looks well done! Need to read it in the morning quiet time. Thanks.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      JB-have had problems with ‘fastener provenance’ in motor racing for over forty years (the late Carroll Smith’s ‘Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook’ of 1990 has many entertaining observations/experiences of that situation (as well as superb eponymous practical knowledge/applications).

      may we all find a better day.

  30. Keepcalmeverythingisfine says:

    Can’t cry in your beer. Gee, what a shame.

  31. Paulo says:

    Stretch out to a coffee mug offering as well?

    Sounds pretty rough to be in manufacturing with necessary inputs from other sources. Even safety glass panels have been delayed in my world. Obviously sophisticated products requiring specialty electronics have supply limitations, but maybe the future for mundane products, and yes I include mugs in the category, would be best supplied local as opposed from the other side of the world? Something SF would be nice, too.

    Apologies from someone who drank a good pils yesterday out of the can, and enjoys whiskey in a coffee mug I with a sentimental attachment. Maybe we really are savages living in ice blocks this side of the border? The beer was pretty good.

    • Pool Meister says:

      Yep, add a coffee mug. Coffee mug for $100 donation, beer mug for a $200 donation. Wolf, you can’t possibly continue with the current model.

  32. Al Loco says:

    Think about how much time is spent just figuring out these issues and keeping track of them. If your not on either end you have no idea how messed up things are. Im on the supply side and I spend my entire day fixing issues related to this. Just keep in mind once you have your glass that your screen printer may not have your ink. Tio2 (the white ink)is OK now but is known to have hiccups. There’s a rumor (hopefully false) that a carbon black shortage could be coming.

    • joe2 says:

      Most people spent a lot of their lives fixing things the government screwed up, and providing the government screwy reports “under penalty of the law”, and tax documents, and employment documents, and license renewals, and proof of required insurance.

      The reason people are desperate to retire early. Oh, and get some of their SS money back before it goes bankrupt.

  33. George Cloonotney says:

    Looks like a hedonic adjustment is in order.

    Nothing goes to Heck in a Straight Line Beermug:
    Now hedonically adjusted to include LESS beer for you to enjoy MORE!

  34. Ron Acker says:

    “Where’s the entrance to the exit?”
    Popeye The Sailor Man

  35. VintageVNvet says:

    Just a suggestion here Wolf:
    Maybe you could get someone in the chain you describe to talk to Pyrex, IIRC still a high quality glass manufacturer in USA.
    We have many of their products, old and newer, and have found and still find them to be top quality, including some bowls we use every day and have done so for the last 30 years.
    Old carpenter told me as a young apprentice, “Buy the very best quality tools, one per pay check, that you can find; they will last far longer and perform better the whole time.”
    That was back in the 60s, and I still have many of the tools bought from then until the 1980s, all made in USA, and they all still work just fine, including an original ”Sawzall” with the suicide switch!

  36. Engin-ear says:

    – ““Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line,” except supply chains.”

    I’d say what went to heck is the “Just-in-time” property of the supply chains, enabled by the increasingly free and stable character of international trade of the last 50 years.

    It is precisely the Just-in-time that enabled the further specialization of the companies and consequently the productivity growth.

    As long as JustInTime is damaged, the productivity – and the yearly results – will suffer.

  37. Ctkahanamoku says:

    Wah wah wah
    Wah wah wah

    Pull one of those mugs out of the cubboard and fill it up with some non iconic adult beverage and suck it up.

    Hard to believe that you can’t find an alternate supplier or at least a lead to one out of Corning NY. They do everything glass there. I know you west coast elites snub us east coast proletariat rebut we pretty much have it going out here.

    • Engin-ear says:

      You don’t see the forest behind the trees.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Ctkahanamoku,

      LOL. What utter nonsense. Read the article. Supply chain = Arizona, Iowa, Ohio… It’s the company in Ohio that cannot get the mugs from the manufacturer (Arc) and cannot send them to the printer in Iowa which then cannot direct-ship them to me, arranged by my distributor in Arizona.

    • Alien Robot from the Future says:

      The heart of America died on 9/11, replaced by a hideously bloated and repressive security apparatus. The carcass is floating around trying to blindly feel its way into the future. Parallels with the USSR are striking. The USSR was gone a decade after fleeing Afghanistan. What’s left of USA will be gone by the end of the decade. Invest accordingly!

  38. Old School says:

    As I mentioned before I worked as design engineer in manufacturing my whole life. Purchasing managers spend everyday day chasing problems to get all parts to the manufacturing facility at the right time. It is a job I never wanted. They were constantly on the phone wanted engineering waivers for substitutions and that is when a lot of mistakes are made.

    I see extreme problems ahead because politicians are lawyers and live in an alternate universe to nuts and bolts real world making stuff. They will screw up the transition to a cleaner world without understanding supply chains and the end result will be higher prices and shortages.

    • Yort says:

      I owned a product design engineering company years ago, and usually forced substitutions were not of the same quality and reliability. Often times we had to redesign and retest around the new supplier inputs. And from my experience, when we had to cost reduce, the “updated” design and/or inputs tested less cycles before failure than the previous design, yet met the warranty guidelines for the product so we moved forward with the changes. It is going to be a rough period for product design companies to consistently turn a profit while keeping up product reliability. In summary, “shortages” will most likely reduce the quality of many products over time so buyer beware…

      The other concern I have about shortages is humans are natural hoarders, we just vary by degree. I myself have bought a pickup in January of 2021 that I did not need until next year, due to fear of parts shortages and cost spikes which did materialize as I expected (I’ve been hedging for stagflation for about 18 months, and I have friends in the auto industry who had been warning me). The truck now has a trade-in value that is almost 20% higher than what I paid 9 months ago…I guess I should have bought a dozen…HA

      I have also been “hoarding” materials for my land projects, as just last week I bought to two loaded semis of plastic corrugated drainage pipe/tile that I will need over the next few years, mostly because the price has been increasing 10% every three months, and 12″ and 15″ double wall pipe has run into massive shortages.

      Hoarding is human nature by genetic design, and why we have survived this long as a species. I’m just shocked the govt and Fed have not studied the human survival behaviors of the 1970s and 1980s to inflationary and shortage driven shocks. I’m very logical so I don’t often buy off emotions (never if I’m buying for myself only), yet I am hedging somewhat on an emotional level for a stagflation period in which shortages and higher 3-4% inflation could easily be a “transitory” issue for at least the next 1-3 years…and even longer if we get another black swan event like in 2020. I really hope I’ve hedged wrong…

      • joe2 says:

        Yes. Real world. Component substitution, new supplier reliability, incoming test, design changes, reliability over time, warranty uncertainty, insurance coverage.

        I’m glad there are still real people like you in the world. Do you think any politician would know what you are talking about? And they are in charge of it.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        I’m prepping for a remake of the 1970s myself. The parallels to the early 1970s are eerie:

        Supply shocks – check.

        Rising inflation with financial markets overpriced – check.

        Overextended government facing new challenges for which it has no toolkit – check.

        Policy mindset favoring throwing money around rather than doing the hard work to fix the systemic problems – check.

        Widespread public dissatisfaction with unpopular overseas wars and generally bad policies – check.

        Super-short skirts and crazy hairstyles – check.

        What we don’t have is a low-debt economy able to handle rising interest rates. That’s where history goes from “repeat” to “rhyme”.

        With the majority (and FedGov) all “owing” to the elite “minority”, the politics shifts as well.

        Hmm…

        • p coyle says:

          i wonder what the new punk rock will sound like.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Wisdom Seeker

          Things are much worse than the 1970s. You need to go back 100 years to find a parallel to what’s occurring here in the USA today. If you can’t read the whole book at least read the Epilogue of the Book “A Mad Catastrophe” by Geoffrey Wawro, “The collapse of the Hapsburg Empire. It makes scary reading. We are following the same path

  39. Take a look at the publishing business, that is almost entirely offshored, whether self published, boutique press, or catalogs and so forth. There is still a huge demand for printed material. Haven’t heard of any shortages though?

  40. BuySome says:

    Sparkling! See through!! Replaces all those over-priced junk vessels!!! Silly wabbit…you can’t get New-Klear Subs from a French source!!!!

  41. GSH says:

    My personal case study. I ordered three custom window blinds from a US company. We live on the West Coast. Turns out they are being manufactured in China (a surprise).

    9/9 … ordered online in US
    9/10 … got mail my order is being made in CN
    9/14 … Shipped from Guangzhou, CN via FedEx (Air)
    9/15 … Arrived in Anchorage, AK (Air)
    9/18 … Arrived in Memphis, TN (Air)
    9/21 … Scheduled delivery to West Coast (Truck)

    All in all surprisingly efficient, except the detour to Memphis via air, then truck back to West Coast. Even the simplest, low-value items are now made in China. Price was competitive ($75/blind) considering air freight from China. Will see about quality when the blinds arrive.

    • ru82 says:

      A friend told me he ordered a new front door from Pella. They had 30 doors models to choose from. They made the order. Shortly the sales guy called back and said they only make 10 models now. My friend reordered from this list. Shortly the sales guy called back and said they only make 3 now. My friend then reordered again.

      I ordered a vanity from Lowes. They said 1-4 days delivered to my home. then they delayed it a week. then another week. then two more weeks. Now a month later they canceled the order.

      • ru82 says:

        I need a vanity. So now I will need to find a substitute as I need a vanity. I have not option but to buy a different one and all the prices are higher now by at least 20%.

  42. Bobber says:

    Consistent with Federal Reserve policy goals, I am offering my Wolfstreet mug for $8,000, still in original packaging. This beauty will put the finishing touches on a basement bar of a drastically overpriced house, subsidized by the federal government.

  43. HollywoodDog says:

    And that’s how the Wolf Street beer mug became the world’s new reserve currency…

  44. SaltyGolden says:

    “Anything we can actually do, we can afford”

    I feel like we can’t actually do a bunch of stuff we’re trying to pay for now.

  45. Michael Gorback says:

    Issue a special commemorative mug.

    Suggestions:

    “Ok maybe sometimes things DO go to heck in a straight line.”

    “Things may not go to heck in a straight line but fusterclucks do”

    Make cheap mugs that say “Hedonically adjusted Wolfstreet mug”

    These one-time offerings will be collector’s items. Like steel pennies but worth twice as much.

    T shirts, ball caps, bumper stickers, plates, baby bibs, sexy underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Think outside the box. If I sold beer mugs that had a great response I’d be looking to expand my product line.

    Sentiment won’t get you anywhere. It’s like hanging on to your old typewriter.

    I’d make a snotty remark about old people being inflexible but I’m older than you.

  46. 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

    Wolf-i appreciate knowing the true and verifiable core of ALL economic research, here-“…historic mug flow data…”! (Will there be any cross-correlation graphs forthcoming?).

    Seriously, endless thanks for all you do here, and if you can give me a 48hr heads-up, always glad to head south a few hours to assist with breakbulk, if/when the bulk arrives…

    may we all find a better day.

  47. JB says:

    Thanks wolf – The mug, astutely acquired previously from your web site has become a collectible . I think I will HODL .

  48. Citizen AllenM says:

    Ye gawds, so tired of how this will lead to rampant inflation. Those higher prices will lead to lower unit sales which will mean the overhead can’t be spread like it used to be. Hence the spiral. But those lower unit sales eventually translate into the bottom tier providers exiting the businesses….

    And the new rustbelt will be in China- they too can share our economic development woes with obsolete things…

    Now, to compete one can ruthlessly cull overhead, cheapen out parts, or simply raise prices. And the MBAs will sell millions of desperate business owners snakeoil instead of solid advice that this time is not different, but a global economy has always had these vulnerabilities built in to it.

    Now comes the end of the housing boomlet as well. I just got off the phone with an old friend who took full advantage of the mortgage moratorium and now is finally going to sell the albatross of house they should have gotten rid of years ago….but they can’t even make the new adjusted payments….so the house will be hitting the market soon and it will sell, no matter the hit from the boom peak just months ago….

    Delay delay delay, and hope tomorrow brings a better day.

    The person is 86 so their tomorrows should have shed this burden a long time ago, but denial is so much more than a river in Egypt.

    Someday this war’s gonna end…

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @AllenM: “Now, to compete one can ruthlessly cull overhead, cheapen out parts, or simply raise prices.”

      Or, just possibly, develop and leverage a more resilient supply chain to maintain unit sales and then buy out the Incompetition*.

      * Incompetition = Incompetent Competition = majority of firms out there with poor supply chains

  49. Lynn says:

    OK, sure, there are container bottlenecks and material bottlenecks. But I’m also wondering if there have been a lot of factories shutting down or slowing down in China.

    I’m wondering if some workers in China are having a “slow down” as a form of protest (much safer than an actual protest. I’ve noticed some workers in the US doing so. Reportedly there are fewer protests, but more complaints about not being paid. Which also could tie into above.

    I’m wondering if the tensions between the US and China are causing some US shipments to be tossed further back in the que. I mean, why not?

    IDK Wolf, are the mugs easier to get from Germany?

    • Lynn says:

      Reportedly there are fewer protests, but more complaints about not being paid.

      in China

      • Lynn says:

        There’s something called “lying flat” in China.
        “Young Chinese protest by ‘lying flat’ against a culture of overwork for little reward”

        Same thing goes on in the US. It could also manifest as a worker slowdown, which has historically been an alternative to striking when workers could not afford to strike.

    • Red says:

      Only way to raise wages is to do a work slowdown cough cough use sick time under covid cover.

  50. Red says:

    As Yort said Just do a imprinted shot glass at a $50 donation. Just the wolf on it.

  51. kitten lopez says:

    XXXX!!!!
    (i’ll be back later… i’m beaming!)
    x

  52. joe2 says:

    Wolf. Please switch to a liter Mas mug. 16 oz requires too much time constantly refilling and 13 oz is, of course, laughable as you say. That’s why I don’t actually use your mug but one I got at Oktoberfest a few years ago.

    So I have 2 of your classics which I could let go, reluctantly, at the right price.

    Alternately, just take a friggin digital picture of the mug – 3D hologram would be better – and create a NFT and give away percent shares. Of course you would have to obtain insurance and suitable secure and bonded storage for the original like maybe the Chase gold vault in NYC.

    Kind of like the deeds to a square inch of land in Alaska I got as a kid in cereal boxes a long time ago.

    PS: Truck drivers don’t load and unload – union rules. Just pass a Benjamin or two when he arrives. Or grab some of those SF homeless we keep hearing about to unload for you.

  53. Auldyin says:

    You have my deepest sympathy for all your travails, W.
    Please rest assured I will contemplate your woes as I sip my Scotch here looking out over the harbour.
    On that point, I wonder if there will be a ‘hiccup’ in whisky availability in 8,10,12,15,20,and 25 years time. Oops, I just started a rush on whisky!
    I hate to depress further anybody who is waiting for anything from Europe. Wholesale gas has gone up by something like 45% for winter supply, supposedly due to higher demand from Asia. (of course). This will have serious knock-on effects for nearly everything, in particular things like glass. In UK a US fertiliser Co has shut down 2 plants due to over expensive gas and this has led to a shortage of food chain quality Co2 which has led to meat supply and packaging coming under pressure. The US Ceo has been dragged over to UK to explain what he intends to do about it. Sounds like another Govt back hander coming up.
    This is all bad enough but the UK/France electricity connector has also burned out and Wind electricity is way below target because the wind is not blowing as expected in the sales brochures. We’re lighting up the wheezy old standby coal stations. Sod green when you’re freezing.
    All this before we go net zero before 2030. Lurverly!
    I shudder to think what a WS mug would cost to get to old Scotia. Maybe next year.

  54. kitten lopez says:

    you all are funny.
    i’m glad to hear the mugs are durable because we freeze them every night for beers at dinner and i fear dropping one or both –GASP!—on the linoleum and shattering it.

    the new age people said fearing that would make it inevitable but New Age People = 0 … MUGS …1.

    (i lurk and have little to publicly say because i’m currently plotting and scheming and not ready yet for new deeper levels of shamelessly exposed embarrassment and confusion)

    but it looks like i’m gonna have a radio show. i could sabotage this by being myself so we’ll see how far this gets because i’ve been even MORE myself since my birthday on august 10th. it’s been like a free fall or no.. nothing so graceful… it’s been like i’ve been slam dunked awkwardly into my future… which is suddenly Now.

    xxxxx…etc.

  55. james wordsworth says:

    Boxes again hard to get.
    Used to be 1 week turnaround.
    Now I can get small quantities in a month and half, but more likely 2.5 months. And don’t ask about price increases.

  56. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    A Wolf Salsa bowl and Bottle Opener should would be nice.

  57. Mira says:

    It’s a sad but true .. wonderful story Mister Richter & it could only happen to a nice guy like you.

  58. Mira says:

    I have a story too.
    My cardio-doctor Jeremy Pereria has fallen ill .. the big C alas.
    I have a new cardio-doctor.
    Her name is Dr. Amera Halabi .. she is with Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute working on a PhD.
    Impressive right.
    She is also rigorous about the Australian medical professions hypocritic oath .. “I COULDN’T CARE LESS”.

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