As COVID cases continue to spread across the country, many people have descended back into the early pandemic habit of hoarding essential products. The panic purchases are compounded by the many shortages the U.S. is currently experiencing, creating the perfect storm for shoppers and suppliers. Now, for a bit of déjà vu, Costco is limiting how much you can buy of four specific products, as many stores did last year. Read on to find out which items you may not be able to buy in bulk.
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Costco will be limiting the purchase of toilet paper, paper towels, water, and cleaning supplies.
During a Sept. 23 call with investors, Costco CFO Richard Galanti said the company would be “putting some limitations on key items.” The affected items include toilet paper, paper towels, Kirkland Signature water, and cleaning supplies that are currently in high demand. The exact parameters of the limit were not made clear during the call. The limit on purchases of these popular goods comes in the wake of shortages and the Delta variant surge, which has made customers concerned about running out of essentials.
Ahead of this decision, customers had reported that water and toilet paper were swiftly disappearing from Costco shelves, with some locations already limiting customers’ purchases. One Twitter user shared a photo of a Costco sign that says “limit 5 per customer” in front of shelves with cases of bottled water. Another customer tweeted that their store was limiting purchases by two cases per customer.
Best Life reached out to Costco for more information on current purchase limits, but has yet to hear back.
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The limit comes as a result of supply chain issues, labor shortages, and other challenges.
There are a handful of reasons Costco cited for limiting the sale of these products. “The factors pressuring supply chains and inflation include port delays, container shortages, COVID disruptions, shortages on various components, raw materials and ingredients, labor cost pressures, and truck and driver shortages,” Galanti explained. “Various major brands are requesting longer lead times, and in some cases, difficulty in finding drivers and trucks on short notice.”
There’s also a surge in the price of many essential items.
Even when you’re able to find and purchase the products you want, they’re likely to be a bit more expensive than usual. The rise in prices is a result of a lack of raw materials, the shipping crisis, and high demand. Galanti noted that there have been notable price increases across a variety of goods, including pulp and paper products, with some marked up by 8 perfect. Plastic items have also seen a spike in prices, some as high as 11 percent.
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Costco has chartered its own ships.
Costco has decided to take part of the supply chain process into its own hands. Instead of paying shipping containers, the company has chartered three of its own ships to make the trek across the ocean. Each ship is able to carry 800 to 1,000 containers at once, said Galanti. The company predicts that it can make 10 cross-Pacific trips yearly with its small fleet of ships. Having control of at least one aspect of the supply chain may help Costco get more products on the shelves.
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