It is hard to believe, but we are only 46 days (at the time of writing this) from Christmas day. You would think from the state of things that we would be much closer. Homes are already beginning to don their decorations for the season. Most radio stations are playing some, if not exclusively, Christmas music. Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” is starting its annual ascent to being one of the top Google searches of the season. Christmas seems to be getting started earlier and earlier each year. Call me a Grinch, but I can’t really get into the spirit until after Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving deserves its flowers too. Whether you’re a Grinch like me or you’re already fully in the spirit of things, it is hard denying that there is a festive mood in the air. Americans are starting to budget and search for the gifts they will be buying for their friends and family. This is where the age-old Christmas consumer questions, “Will it be in stock” and “Will I get it on time”, begin to be asked.
It is no secret that the country has been experiencing supply chain issues. In short, the U.S. is experiencing shortages in the supply of most goods, some are even calling it an "everything shortage". This shortage is making the most simple and quick trips to the grocery store take much longer as the store you go to could very easily be out of the product you are looking for.
Why is this happening? Well, there is no simple answer, but there are two main reasons for our current global supply chain snarl. The first reason is the changing of the American workplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies could not have their normal number of staff when manufacturing goods and thus less goods were manufactured and we still have not caught up. Companies still cannot get sufficient staff on board. I’m sure you have seen multiple places around town that are hiring and looking for workers. Companies that supplied machinery to factories that produced consumer goods are producing less machinery because of worker shortages. This also contributed then to lower production of consumer goods because of a shortage of equipment. If you have not already noticed, the components of the global supply chain are all very intertwined with each other. Worker induced shortages are not the only problem here. The other main reason for supply chain shortages in the U.S. is that Americans are simply buying more stuff. Retail sales have jumped over against sales last year, which had already increased significantly from 2019. Therefore, we are making less products yet consuming more than we ever have. What does this mean for your holiday spending?
A couple things to be aware of. As much as I prefer a normal length Christmas season, it may be prudent to start shopping early this year. Americans are already reporting shipping delays and long wait times on their holiday shopping due to the supply chain shortage. So, get started early if you want your kids to get their gifts on Christmas day rather than New years’. Shortages are also increasing the costs of these products, so you may need to shell out more cash than before for a bike or a doll. These are some things to consider when starting your holiday gift shopping. On the food front, even beloved holiday food staples like cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie may be in short supply. At what point do we put our foot down and say enough with this madness?
You all know what this week’s song has to be, even against my wishes.