The global supply chain shortage disrupts holiday shopping


Photo by Kyle Nguyen

Stores struggle to keep shelves stocked as cargo ships wait to unload in ports and to distribute.

Story by Pedro Rodrigues, Staff Writer

    This holiday season, shopping for gifts will be different from usual with the lack of goods on store shelves.

   Lately, cargo ships are having trouble getting the items out of the cargo containers. As of November 16, 84 ship vessels are waiting to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for their turn to unload the cargo containers on land. It can take several days for a cargo ship to unload and leave the port. President Joe Biden is taking action by upgrading shipment ports in the United States to be more productive. However, the problem is worsening due to a shortage of truck drivers in the industry heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

   “You’re probably going to shop online more directly from the distributors because it’s harder for them to distribute to other places due to the shortage,” senior Evan Carlson said.

   This isn’t the only issue that the world of economics is facing as there is an ongoing shortage of microchips caused by a lack of supplies. The production of highly popular wishlist items like graphics cards, smartphones, game consoles, and even cars is being heavily affected by the inflation of circuit boards. Sony’s production of their highly sought-after Playstation 5 is slowing down because of this. Sony plans to invest in a $7 billion chip plant located in Japan to increase production. 

   “My significant other bought a Nintendo Switch and he said that he bought it for me for Christmas all the way in September. So the fact that I got it for Christmas [last year] means that he was already predicting that the supply chain will become low,” said Shelby McCredie, English, and AVID teacher.

    Holiday gifts aren’t the only things that’ll be harder to buy, as purchasing food will be getting more expensive. Data from the consumer price index shows that the cost of food increased by 5.4% from September 2020 to September 2021. On the other hand, getting a turkey on the Thanksgiving table cost 22% more than last year. Even the price of wheat increased by 5% this year.

       Recently, an organization known as Operation Turkey hosted a turkey tailgate near a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in San Marcos on November 24th. This event was put together to donate food for families in need. 

   Consumerists have been faced with a disappointing shopping season, however, some are able to make the most out of the situation and not worry too much about the exchange of gifts.

  “I’m probably not going to buy [presents] this much this year, we’re just going to spend time together [as a family],” said Melanie Curnow, school librarian.

   The supply chain shortage is damaging people’s experience with the holidays. With the many factors that are hindering the wishlist items waiting to be under the Christmas tree, it can be worrying for many people.