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What You Need to Know About Tax-Free Weekend, the Supply Chain, and Inflation

Steve Sheinkopf  |  June 27, 2022  |  3 Min. Read

MA Tax Holiday  |  How to Buy Appliances

Now through August 12th, save the tax on qualifying in-stock products plus 0% financing options

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Imagine being interviewed on the radio, not knowing what you will be talking about, and not being able to prepare for it.

If you are an introvert (like me), that's a problem. Your day will begin fretting that you will sound like a fool.

I interviewed with Joe Shortsleeve from Bloomberg Radio last Thursday. They always ask excellent questions. However, they never tell you what they will be asking.

There is always a curveball. It's usually a question you most likely would never expect.

The topics covered were Tax-Free Weekend in Massachusetts (expected), the supply chain crisis (expected), possible relief from the supply chain crisis (somewhat expected), inflation (should have been apparent, but not expected), and customer loyalty (not expected).

You can listen to the interview by clicking here. Questions about Tax-Free Weekend, the supply chain, and inflation are the last seven minutes of the show.

Below are my answers now after some preparation.

Tax-Free Weekend in Massachusetts

electric-freestanding-ranges-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverAppliances at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

First, I do think having a tax-free weekend is good for consumers. We pay a ton of taxes in Massachusetts.

State tax and sales tax are among higher-than-average taxes. The state has a surplus as well, so it makes sense.

Also, what once was the worst month now is the best or second best.

What the state loses in revenue somewhat makes up for increased employment with ramped-up sales, delivery, installation, and service.

Tax Free Weekend is August 13-14 for Massachusetts this year.

 

Read More: The MA Tax-Free Weekend Survival Guide

The Supply Chain Crisis

The appliance supply chain is a mess. When Joe called beforehand, I didn't even know I externally groaned when he mentioned it. But the supply chain is bad.

The appliance supply chain is one of outsourcing, meaning an appliance is assembled from parts sourced worldwide.

yale-appliance-product-shipping-and-distribution-graphic

If a pandemic knocks out one or two suppliers, it all grinds to a halt. Social distancing in a factory may have been part of the problem.

Layer that with exploding demand on top of this fragmented supply, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Read More: How to Buy Appliances During a Supply Crisis

Will the Supply Chain Improve?

Demand is slowing, but factories are still one year behind. Imagine stopping a runaway freight train. It will eventually stop after a period of slowing down.

By 2024, the supply chain should be returning to normalcy. 2023 will be the years of fulfillment from 2020 and 2021.

Read More: How Bad Is the Appliance Supply Chain?

Is Business Slowing Down?

This year is a bit less than last year. However, 2021 was a record-setter. Mortgage rates will slow down new housing, but people still need to replace old appliances or they choose to remodel if they can't move.

Inflation

Inflation is high at 8%. Appliances are a huge contributor with an average of 15-25% increases in just two years.

Look at two examples of popular appliances.

KitchenAid KDTM604KPS Dishwasher - $999 2020  $1299 2022

BEST-DISHWASHERS-KITCHENAID-KDTM604KPS

GE GFW850SSNWW Smart Front Load Washer - $999 2020  $1199 2022

Ge-smart-front-load-washer-GFW850SSNWW

In about one and a half years, these appliances prices have bounced from $999 to $1,200 and more. Thats far greater than the benchmark 8% inflation rate.

Customer Loyalty

Loyalty was an unexpected question. Customer loyalty is a question of execution: Did we do what you expected after the sale?

Great sales can be offset by failed promises afterward. 

You never remember the great deal, the tax savings, or the great sales presentation if poor delivery and excuses follow.

Rating our performance throughout the pandemic, we were at least transparent for sales.

Sending unwelcome news is never good, but at least we were honest about it and tried to provide options when promised delivery dates were not met.

Service is a problem.

We lost some good technicians who didn't want to jeopardize their health during the pandemic. I can't blame them, to be honest.

Plus, I was not prepared for the massive volume increase. Some of the new appliances with different parts are more problematic, so it is just a cluster of issues.

Instead of same-day or next-day service, it's been much longer. I am embarrassed to write.

However, we have trained 15 new technicians, and two veterans have returned.

Hopefully by July 5th, we should be back to servicing appliances seven days a week. I can't imagine how others have fared as this is our obsession, and we failed until now.

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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