November 2, 2020

Kosher Home Cooking During Covid-19 Created Appliance Shortage

Lakewood…Imagine your disappointment when your fridge breaks and you find out that there wasn’t much of a choice for a new one. You ask the appliance dealer for a new fridge and all he has is one model of Sub-Zero and you were prepared to spend much more than the $1250 he was asking for. But Suzie like so many others was holed up in her home for months, cooking, baking, freezing and all the while wearing down her expensive fridge. Appliance dealers say that sales went through the roof during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it will perhaps take many months well into 2021 to replenish the stock. In San Antonio, a very large city, everyone was out," a local appliance consumer noted. Shortages have hit all kinds of major appliances: dishwashers, dryers, dehumidifiers, even some of the microwaves. That's because the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into both their supply and demand. The stage was set by a springtime run on freezers, followed by refrigerators with freezers.

"We sold more freezers in two days than we did all of last year," said Steve Sheinkopf, who runs Yale Appliance with stores outside Boston. "People were storing stuff, because we thought this was the end of times, we needed food." In the kosher communities the pandemic period included Passover Shavous, and the High Holy Days, all heavy appliance usage holiday. People were ordering and replacing appliances at a record pace with supply unable to keep pace. Kosher supermarkets say that they felt the surge in home cooking by the demand for ingredients. Instead of school, said one, cooking and baking became a family activity and we just couldn’t keep up with the demand for flour, baking supplies, and even such additions as almonds, vanilla, and coloring.