2021 has been a challenging year on so many levels. In the furniture industry we’ve had our fair share of challenges too. What used to be a 4 – 6 weeks wait for custom order furnishings has quickly escalated into 6 months and in severe cases over a year. We understand how trying this has been for our customers and staff so wanted to give you some pointers on what we’re doing and what you can do yourself to help you find what you need.
First the good news. If you’re shopping for a mattress not much has changed. Most mattresses are still available at the same or near the same pre-pandemic wait times. What has changed is the availability of foam and projections are that all foam mattresses may start to be replaced by innerspring models in 2022 lineups. However, if you need a comfortable bed in a tight time frame you’ll likely be in the clear for the near future.
Appliances are a staple of Canadian households. They were considered essential during lockdowns for a reason. When you need them you really, really need them. At McMunn & Yates Furniture we’ve been fortunate. Our partnered appliance brand, GE, has somehow been able to keep up reasonably with demand of their most common models and finishes throughout the last year. While many other appliance brands have struggled with inventory, GE has mitigated the shortages rather well. I also must give a HUGE shout out to our appliance buyer, Norman, who has stayed on top of what you’ll need before the need arises. We’ve always been a go to location for in stock appliances in the Parkland area and we’ll continue to be this for you to the best of our ability. While certain niche models can still be a tall order, such as my own personal dishwasher that took ages to arrive because I had to have a specific model – in black no less, the most popular options are nearly always available in store.
If you haven’t shopped for furniture for a few years you may be shocked when you’re told the wait times. Unfortunately, 6 months is common to wait for a custom sofa right now. There are a variety of reasons, from logistics to raw material shortages to newly introduced tariffs, the list goes on. The hardest to find is leather and harder yet is leather reclining.
But what if you’ve got your heart set on that, cough cough, black dishwasher or orange leather recliner or just a sofa set for Christmas?
Here’s my suggestions:
- Check to see if the store you’re shopping at has any of the items you’re wanting on order and can pre-sell their upcoming inventory. If your local appliance store already has an order placed for the specific model you want it’ll show up much sooner than if you place an order online with one of the big box stores. Think of it as a way to leap frog a few weeks to months off your wait time.
- Ask if you have the option of having the item shipped by itself. It’s no secret that shipping and logistics have exasperated wait times for everything. Sometimes for a small fee, sometimes for a large fee, you can have your item shipped without other goods, potentially saving you weeks of wait time.
- Shop local. Some large-scale stores have been flat out refusing to order in specialty products because of well, commission sales. Some retailers pay their staff commissions on goods they sell AT THE TIME OF DELIVERY. Yes, you heard that right. What wasn’t an issue before 2020 has become a struggle for the industry in the last year. Think about it would a commission salesman be eager to sell you a product if they don’t get their cut until 2023 or would they just tell you it’s unavailable hoping to sway your interest into something they can get their hands on quicker? If you have your heart set on something specific shop around it may still be orderable.
- Grab a floor model. If you can find a store that will sell you their current display models take them up on the offer. Most likely if they’ll let their display model go it’s only been on display for a short time anyways. It always amazes me to hear stories from customers who were told from another store that their ONLY option to furnish their new home is a 6 month wait.
- Kijiji may be your friend. If you’re open to it scour your local buy and sell groups. This is what I did during the wait for my black dishwasher. You can use a second-hand model until the one you really want arrives and then pop your second-hand unit back up onto the same buy and sell group when you’re done with it. I know it’s not for everyone but certainly an option during these crazy times.
- When all else fails remember to be kind and be aware. I’m aware of a certain supplier with a warehouse overseas whose staff pitched tents and literally lived in their factories during lockdowns to provide us in North America with furniture for our homes. A little thankfulness and understanding go a long way. Most retailers feel your pain and frustration and really want to help you find the furnishings you’re searching for.