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Our leaders keep feeding us with lies, saying all of this is going to be “temporary” and that we’re heading to a “recovery” that never seems to arrive. But with each passing day, more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that what we’ve been facing isn’t “temporary” at all. All across the country, supply chain problems are leaving shelves empty, and industry executives have been bluntly admitting that this crisis isn’t going away any time soon. If you walk into any U.S. store these days, you’re going to witness by yourself the empty shelves everyone seems to be talking about. As we move closer to the winter months, such widespread shortages are becoming quite alarming.
Supermarkets and local grocery stores are facing a lack of virtually every type of product — from toilet paper to coffee to chicken and bacon. If you go to your local retail store, you’ll be lucky if you find the book you want, everyday home appliances, baby products, or clothing items. American consumers are getting increasingly frustrated. That’s why a few days ago, they have flooded social media with pictures of empty shelves at supermarkets and department stores, as #EmptyShelvesJoe started trending on Twitter.
Some retailers found some truly bizarre ways to conceal the shortage problem, but their cover-ups didn’t go unnoticed by shoppers’ vigilant eyes. As the situation worsens, stores are displaying products in ‘creative’ ways just to have something lying on their shelves. In one video posted on Twitter, people could see several rows of colorful folding lawn chairs set up along bare shelves in a department store. “We are at the edge of the precipice,” one Twitter user who shared the video wrote. “The ‘pretending it’s fine’ aspect of the charade evokes a deep terror,” she continued. Another Twitter user joked in reply, “Those are chairs for us to sit in and enjoy the bread lines”.
Consumers have started panic buying and hoarding, as fears of further disruptions continue to rise. That, however, is worsening the shelf shortages and pushing prices even higher. Meanwhile, congestion at two of America’s major container ports in California is getting worse by the day. Cargo ships are having to wait for a month to find a spot to dock and finally unload their goods, leaving numerous items, from food to electronics, toys, and cars sitting in limbo. Now that compounding supply chain challenges are adding immense pressure on the Biden administration, the federal government decided to issue measures to operate ports on a 24/7 basis until the end of the year. One industry executive openly stated that Biden’s port directive is “too little, too late” to save Christmas. MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian said, “whether the ports are open 24 hours a day or 48 hours a day, you cannot get labor. If you cannot get labor, you cannot get trucks, you cannot get the merchandise out”. “I think this directive is too little, too late.
Many food suppliers are panic buying and hoarding extra supplies to mitigate consumers’ panic buying and hoarding ahead of the busiest shopping season of the year. Saffron Road, a producer of frozen meals, is stockpiling four months of inventory instead of the regular two months. “People are hoarding,” said CEO and founder Adnan Durrani. “What I think you’ll see over the next six months, all prices will go higher.” To make the situation worse, pretty much everywhere you look, there aren’t enough workers to make our system operate smoothly. And here in the U.S., work restrictions are about to make things even more chaotic. Recently, a trade group for air cargo giants like UPS and FedEx sounded the alarm over the impending December 8 vaccine deadline imposed by the federal government, arguing that “it threatens to wreak havoc at the busiest time of the year” and that the measure is going to be yet another challenge to the supply chain.
Apparently, the government has become so desperate for people to comply with the mandate, that shamelessly threatening millions of workers with unemployment seemed like a great idea. Why enforce such a draconian measure in the middle of the worst worker shortage in our history? It is obvious that these mandates are going to make the supply chain crisis even worse, but the administration keeps pushing them ahead anyway. That means the shortages are going to intensify, and that is hard to picture because things are already really, really messy. Only if we’re blessed with a miracle, this crisis will be solved by 2022. But realistically speaking, there are many things that could go wrong, and any large-scale disruption would take our supply chain crisis to an even more extreme level.