Many pack lines in South Philadelphia as school desk shortages grow

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The parking lot at IKEA in South Philadelphia was packed Friday. Word is there's a school desk shortage with so much virtual learning at home left for students.

Lindsay Alshause of University City said, "I started looking at a bunch of stores like Target and Home Goods, and yeah, everyone was out of stock."

Vince Wallace of South Philadelphia said, "I'm better off hitting the lottery!"

Some, like Yoli Roldan, say they've been patiently waiting for their desk to come in from Amazon.

"I'm still waiting for it to come. It was supposed to be here yesterday, it's been a month," said Roldan.

Capazzi says she couldn't find any in South Jersey either and had come to South Philadelphia in hopes of finding one.

"I'm finally here to pick the desk up!" she said.

The shopping tracker Rakuten says accessories like desk chairs and lamps were up 283% this past August compared to a year ago.

The Associated Press reports "Target and Ikea are restocking home office supplies due to high demand. Amazon and Walmart did not respond to requests for comment. But John Furner, who runs Walmart's U.S. stores, acknowledged low stocks of kid's desks and laptops in a ABC News interview on Sept. 11."

Experts like Emily Mudd, Ph.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Children's says when it comes to home learning, It's hard to sit in front of the same space every day.

"If there's two spaces in the home that they can go to, kind of go back and forth from, that would be ideal," said Mudd.

Action News spoke with John O'Donoghue of Folsom.

His daughters modeled some of the custom desks he's made due to the shortage.

He said, "They were having a hard time learning."

The girls love them. His daughter Ava said, "You can put school supplies inside!"

Once his friends and neighbors found out, you could tell by the mounds of sawdust in his workshop, he got busy.

O'Donoghue says he's made 46 desks so far.

For anyone who might need one, O'Donoghue said, "I've been out here until 10 p.m. every night doing it. But I said the other day, I could probably do more to help out."

Now O'Donoghue, who is a carpenter by trade, says he does sell them. During the pandemic, he was laid off and it was a way for him to support his family.

The desks cost $130.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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