With stu­dents and work­ers at home, desks in short supply

Daily Press - - Market Roundup - By Joseph Pisani As­so­ci­ated Press

NEW YORK — 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 have par­ent 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 re­al­iz­ing 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 was 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 U.S. stores, ac­knowl­edged low stocks of kid’s desks and lap­tops in a ABC News in­ter­view on Sept. 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 be­hav­ior. 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.

Shay­nah Dun­gan, who needs a desk for when she starts es­theti­cian school in Jan­uary, said desks sim­i­lar to the sold- out one she wants from Ike a were over­priced on Amazon and

Of­fer Up, an app where peo­ple sell their stuff.

Me­gan Fry, who is start­ing a new work- fromhome cus­tomer ser­vice job in In­di­anapo­lis in Oc­to­ber, said she had to go the “DIY route” af­ter vis­its to Wal­mart, Ikea and other stores found no desk op­tions un­der $ 150. She made her own us­ing a $ 30 leg­less table­top from Ikea placed on top of two short book­cases from Amazon, which cost $ 42 apiece.

“It’s not as cute or trendy as a bought desk and I wish it had draw­ers for storage,” said Fry. “But I’m happy it’s clean and has a large sur­face on top formy mon­i­tors and lap­top.”

In­stead of book­cases, Pa­trick Burgh went with crates to build a desk for his 6- year- old af­ter he couldn’t find a desk at Ikea or Amazon. The Bal­ti­more univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tor built it in two days, spend­ing about $ 70 at Home De­pot on four crates and a board he painted bright blue.

Will the home­made desk make it through the school year?

“There’s goo on the top from his snack,” said Burgh.

ME­GAN FRY

Me­gan Fry built a desk with items from Ikea and Amazon for just over $ 110.

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