Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter. In this issue, school supply shortages; Bed Bath & Beyond teams with Ryder; how to stop gas pump ads; more.

No more pencils, no more books

Dooner / Canva

Only teacher’s dirty looks — As teachers and students prepare to emerge from a yearlong exile in a virtual world, they’re finding out that getting back to school may require a course in Sourcing 101. While we may have all lived in tracksuits (just me?) and sweatpants last year, students in need of a wardrobe update are finding stockouts across the board. With renewed demand for sneakers, backpacks, scissors and other bookish materials, the supply chain bullwhip is cracking yet again. 

“While we are unlikely to see apocalyptic shortages, the continued pressure on supply chains means that not all retailers will get an optimal amount of supply. What this means is consumers will have less choice, and some may not be able to get exactly what they want, especially towards the end of the back-to-school season.” — Neil Saunders, managing director of consultancy GlobalData Retail, in USA Today

By the numbers — According to the National Retail Federation, 2021 has brought back-to-school shopping to record levels. The organization’s survey says, “Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $848.90 on school items, which is $59 more than last year.” With 76% of K-12 shoppers still waiting on lists of needed supplies for the classroom, prepare for a mad rush on those goods in August. Total back-to-college spending is expected to be up by $3.3 billion ($71 billion) compared to $67.7 billion in 2020.

Bed Bath & Beyond expands omni with Ryder System

Business Wire

From 35 to 10 — Bed Bath & Beyond’s $250 million investment in modernizing its supply chain is starting to come to fruition through a new deal with Ryder System. Modern Shipper’s Brian Straight reports, “Ryder will develop and operate two regional distribution centers designed to reduce store replenishment times from the current 35 days to less than 10 days.” 

“As we provide our customers with an omni-always shopping environment, it is imperative for our growth to invest in our supply chain to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the business and our valued customers.” — John Hartmann, COO for Bed Bath & Beyond and president of buybuy BABY

Revamp — Last year a USB analyst slammed BB&B’s supply chain as being “primitive.” Since then, new CEO Mark Tritton seems to have taken the message to heart. The company has gone beyond inventory replenishment revitalization; last week in a deal with Roadie the company doubled the number of ZIP codes it offers same-day delivery to.

Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road’s way

Jim Allen / FreightWaves

All is Love’sSt. Christopher Truckers Fund just got $100,000 added to its charity thanks to Love’s Travel Stops. Love’s is continuing a tradition it started last year when it donated $100,000 toward pandemic relief to the truck driver charity that helps over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury occurs. “Professional truck drivers keep America moving, and this is one way we’re thanking them for all they do for the country,” said Jenny Love Meyer, executive vice president and chief culture officer of Love’s.

Gas pump hack


Mute — Sick of those ads that autoplay while you pay too much at the pump? Fortunately, Redditor JCastNC has spilled the tea on how to shut them up. PDQ America’s Aaron Dunn took to the field to try the trick out. Just as the video on Reddit showed, all you have to do is press the second button down on the right to get some sweet silent relief. Unfortunately, this does not work on every model.

“These are the worst. There’s a gas station that’s open all the time near my house but not in the safest neighborhood, and the speakers are so loud that I’m always afraid someone is going to use the distraction to sneak up on me. I avoid filling up there whenever possible if it’s after dark.” — Redditor meruhd

Should pumps have ads? — One Redditor shared a dystopian vision of the future of gas pump ads: “Calling it now. We are five years from the pump shutting off every 5 gallons and you can’t resume until you watch a 30 second ad.” How do you feel about pump ads? Should you get a discount for being subjected to them? Email me back at tdooner@freightwaves.com and sound off.

Tesla Semi delayed until ’22


“Next year” — There may be no better evergreen answer to when the Tesla Semi will arrive than “next year.” According to an informal twitter poll, that’s not just the answer from the online community but Tesla as well. FreightWaves’ Alan Adler reports, “Tesla Inc. has again delayed production of the battery electric-powered Semi, endangering its first-mover advantage as established truck makers begin delivering zero-emission Class 8 models that Tesla’s 2017 announcement prompted them to make.”

Utah sandstorm causes carnage

Utah Highway Patrol

RIP — A sandstorm in Utah on Sunday night led to a tragic series of accidents where eight people died in a 22-vehicle pileup. 2KUTV reports, “Five of the seven people killed in the crash were traveling together in one vehicle. Two others who lost their lives were traveling together in another vehicle. The eighth reported death was from a third vehicle.” My heart goes out to all involved.

Chocolate labs go on joy ride


No CDL — A truck driven by an unlikely pair of team drivers crashed through a recently renovated family home on River Street in Braintree, Massachusetts. When a neighbor went to check on who was operating the semi, he was greeted by a pair of chocolate labs but no human driver. According to The Patriot Ledger, Glenn Fillmore, who lives nearby, said, “You can only surmise that the two dogs were in the front, maybe something got released, and they went for a ride. That’s probably the best thing you can come up with.”

WTT Wednesdays

WTT airs live M-W-F 12:00-1:00 PM ET and is on podcast players everywhere

Wednesday — BlueGrace talks about its LTL partnership with Uber Freight; FreightTech’s evolution and more with Tim Leonard, CEO, CST Transportation; Robert Moffitt, EVP and director of operations, New Legend Inc.; Rich Schwartz, VP of engineering and corporate optimization, Estes; Todd Jadin, VP of Associate Relations, Schneider and Andy Berke, senior director sales, BlueGrace Logistics.

Friday — NASA is back and we’re talking giant crawlers and deep space logistics with John Giles and Sam Dove, NASA; Tim Breckenridge, VP of business development, ITF Group; and Grace Sharkey, reporter, FreightWaves; Shannon Currier, Director of Philanthropy and Development, St. Christopher Truckers Fund.

Catch new shows live at noon ET Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWavesTV, FreightWaves LinkedIn and Facebook or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

Inside story on Uber Freight’s $2.25B acquisition of Transplace

Freight goes mainstream at 200 mph

Getting a break

Meet the old boss — How I became a professional podcaster as told by the guy who hired me to become a professional podcaster. Check out the clip and watch the full episode.

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