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Swimming pools the latest shortage during COVID pandemic

Prices soar on eBay, stores face back orders
Lifeguard shortage forces YMCA to close pools
Posted at 2:13 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 20:38:01-04

The COVID pandemic has left so many things in short supply this year, and each month brings a new shortage, from Lysol wipes to chicken breasts and even bicycles.

The latest? Backyard pools.

Meghan and Nick Newton are dreaming of a new backyard pool for their staycation this summer with their young children

So they decided to shop for one at Watson's in Evendale. "We'd like a big one, a nice big one," they said.

But finding a pool is as tough as finding an affordable bicycle during this pandemic. Any kind of pool, even a small one, is difficult to track down at Walmart or Target.

Aaron Johnson of Taylor Mill said "they are all sold out, yeah."

Johnson just wanted a $100 inflatable pool. But he says prices on eBay were insane.

"They are charging $1,300 to $1,600 on eBay," he said. "That's ridiculous. A pool is not a necessity, but it's still price gouging."

Soaring demand coupled with factory shutdowns

For pool stores it's a double-edged sword. They are seeing some of their best sales in years, but at the same time they are having to tell customers that the pool they want may not be in for several weeks or months.

Watson's general manager Johnie Price says many of their popular above-ground pools are now on back order.

"It's been tough," he said. "A lot of the factories around the country, they have been shut down for 2 or 3 months. And with demand up, and no product coming, it caused some major delays."

But he says Watson's will still get some pools in during the next few weeks. "We're really fortunate to have pools coming in that we can get people for this summer."

Another option: check manufacturer websites. Aaron Johnson ordered an inflatable pool directly from Intex.

But even those are selling out. "Everyone is staying home, so everyone wants a pool," he said.

Just like with the bicycle shortage, you may have to pay more than you budgeted for at this point.

Or check Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for local used pools. Just make sure they are really local and you can see the pool in person, so you don't get scammed and you don't waste your money.

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