There was trouble with our goods, because there were no goods. But the American people were prepared for it, and scarcely complained. Supply chains were disrupted or non-existent. strawberries could be had only a few months in the year, and from fruits and vegetables to chickens, everything else had to be grown locally. Handicrafts and do it yourself was making do, and clothes were assembled from sewing patterns and sewing machines. Only a few types of imported goods were at the local store, and even Heinz had only 5.7 varieties. People stayed put, and even flying cost a month’s wages. Kids made their own toys from cardboard boxes, string, and a hefty dose of imagination.
And life was good.
And where was the global supply chain?
Well, at this time much of it was lying at the bottom of the sea.
Teletubby shipment lost at sea
It was 1950, and you could blame World War 2 or a rudimentary logistics grid, but there was no real scarcity of goods, just a massive reduction in choice, relative to the future that is. But since memory served up even worse times, there was no complaint that everything from ice cream to cars came in only a few varieties.
If memory does not serve up contrasts to better times, present times can hardly be worse, and in essence they really aren’t if we use our varietal ingenuity to make variety out of pieces of cardboard and balls of string. And in that regard, this black and white era had the most bountiful and diverse goods of all, virtually served up by that most versatile of devices, our human imagination.