A few weeks ago, I needed to buy a new washing machine – badly. My old washing machine died less than a week before we were scheduled to leave for vacation. The repair quote told us it was time to buy a new appliance.
I headed out to Lowes, where I usually buy large appliances, and found a washing machine I wanted. Wow! The prices were way higher than I was expecting, and higher than what my sister had paid about a year prior.
The next surprise was how far out into the future they were backed up for deliveries. I couldn’t get my new washer for more than two weeks if I waited for their delivery service!
I went to another large chain store up the street, and they were only backed up a few days, but still past when I was leaving town. I checked some other stores online, and many didn’t even have the model I wanted, showing it as back-ordered for months into the future.
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I’ve bought large appliances numerous times in the past and have never encountered such a backlog on deliveries. Every other time, I had my new appliance within a couple of business days.
What Was Going On?
It turns out that prices on washing machines are going up – way up – due to new tariffs on certain Chinese imports. Somehow, I didn’t figure this out on my own. Someone forwarded me an article about this a couple of weeks later.
Prices on washing machines have soared in recent months, and imports have drastically slowed. Prices have even increased on American made washers because of tariffs on the materials that go into making those machines. That explains my sticker shock on washing machines and the delivery backup, since customers are rushing to buy washers while they can still get the ones they want.
If you’re thinking about getting a new clothes washer or if you suddenly need one like I did, there are two big things to keep in mind. First, you’ll have to pay more than you were expecting. Second, expect to wait several days or weeks for delivery.
How It Turned Out
My story does have a somewhat happy ending.
I had read on a local charity thrift store’s Facebook page that they had begun offering deliveries of large items. This keeps their trucks on the road when they’re not being used to pick up donations, and earns more money for their mission.
When I returned to Lowes to buy the washer I wanted, they had just sold the last one. The Lowes in the neighboring town a few miles up the road had sold their last one as well. I ended up buying a floor model of a similar washer.
Rather than using Lowes’ free delivery service and waiting two weeks, I paid the charity to deliver my washer so I’d have it before leaving town. I had to pay more for the washer than I was expecting and then had to pay for delivery that would have otherwise been free. But, at least I could wash my family’s clothes before we left for vacation.