Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Desk shortage forces people to get creative about workspaces

Published:Friday | September 25, 2020 | 4:00 PM
In this photo provided by Megan Fry, a desk fry constructed out of a legless tabletop and bookcases stands in her Indianapolis home on September 14, 2020. (Megan Fry via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — First it was toilet paper.  Disinfectant wipes. Beans. Coins. Computers. Now, desks are in short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions of kids logging onto virtual school this fall has parents scrambling to find furniture for them. It’s a small indignity compared with the kids who don’t even have home Internet or computers, but it’s a hassle for parents lucky enough to have the space and money to afford desks just the same.

At the same time, some people are realising they’ll be working from home for the long haul and require new furniture. To find desks, people are scouring stores near and far and even making their own.

Elizabeth Rossmiller, a teacher working from home for the first time, needed to upgrade from her temporary setup: an upside-down laundry basket on a nightstand.

The desk she wanted from Amazon was out of stock. None were available for under $200 at Target or Walmart. Her husband found a floor model at a store 45 minutes away from their home in Gresham, Oregon.

It was smaller and more dinged up than she expected, but “better than a laundry basket!”

Target and Ikea are restocking home office supplies due to high demand. Amazon and Walmart did not respond to requests for comment. But John Furner, who runs Walmart’s US stores, acknowledged low stocks of kid’s desks and laptops in a ABC News interview on September 11.

Online, sales of desks and accessories, such as desk chairs and lamps, were up 283% in August from the year before, according to Rakuten Intelligence, which tracks shopper behaviour.

Sites that offer used goods show spiking interest: On Facebook Marketplace, interest in desks has doubled in the last month from the month before. But prices aren’t necessarily cheap.

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