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Why Are Shelves Empty At Sacramento-Area Budget Stores?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — First it was the toilet paper, and now budget store goods?

People are sharing videos and photos on social media of empty shelves at Ross from all over the Sacramento area. Some are waiting in long lines, only to be disappointed.

"This is the second Ross that we've come to and it's empty," said Tanisha McGee, who was shopping in Sacramento.

McGee was searching for clothes for her family but came out empty-handed. Signs inside Ross say "sorry" and "we're trying to bring stock levels back to normal."

Economic experts tell CBS13 the problem boils down to high demand and difficulty keeping up with supply.

"I think people think we turn it off on a dime, why can't we turn it on on a dime? But it just doesn't work that way," said Dr. Shannon Anderson, with UC Davis.

Dr. Anderson said people should expect to see empty shelves at places like Ross for a while. That's because many household items are made in Southeast Asia.

READ: When Will Life Return To Normal? Some Experts Say It Could Take More Than A Year

"Those countries were the very first to be affected by the pandemic. Their factories shut down," she said.

And when the factories reopened, the U.S. was in the thick of the pandemic and not ready to allow foreign merchandise back in. That created a huge snag in the supply chain.

"When you stop it you shouldn't be surprised that by the time you see the shortage you've now drained the supply chain for months," Dr. Anderson said.

So eager shoppers finally enjoying some normalcy will have to wait a bit longer.

"I just feel like they have to build it back up I guess. When? I don't know, but I'll be glad when they do," McGee.

Ross and other budget store chains did not return CBS13's requests for comment.

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