Supply chain issues create problems with holiday season

November 16, 2021


Photo by Mikai Tasch

Junior Anna Shore checks out groceries as junior Ella Walsh bags groceries at Kowalski’s Markets in Oak Park Heights on Oct. 31. The paper bag shortage means many prefer plastic.

Supply chain issues have caused disruptions in many people’s lives. With the holiday season approaching, people will not receive orders on time. For many, COVID-19 has affected their jobs inevitably either because they cannot return to them or they are choosing not to.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, many customers will not receive the gifts they ordered on Amazon, Apple and from other mega-corporations. There are more people than ever ordering items off of these websites, however, there are not enough workers.

Ella Sevilla, junior and cashier at Kowalski’s Markets, explained how it is hard for companies to get orders to people on time. There is what CEOs such as Tim Cook call overload; people are ordering a lot of products, yet companies are not able to get these products to people on time.

There are not enough workers because many have not returned to their jobs. In March of last year, increased unemployment money was given to people that economically qualified. In addition to the increased unemployment, a $1,200 per person stimulus check was given during this timeframe. $600 and $1,400 stimulus checks were given last December and this past March respectively. According to Forbes, another stimulus check is unlikely and increased unemployment money was taken away in September. Many still do not feel comfortable trying out other job fields and some are still afraid because of Covid precautionary measures.

“With the self-employment stimulus checks, no one wants to work and lots of people are quitting their jobs,” Sevilla said.

Not only have many truck drivers not returned to work, but there are also not enough trucks and ships. Many Apple products are manufactured in Asia in countries such as China, Thailand and Vietnam. These products are not able to stretch across the Pacific, through the wilderness and across city skylines to Minnesota.

Sevilla explained how there are truck and shipping issues and companies “cannot get products from Asia to America.” Sevilla added further explaining how many truck drivers have yet to return to work.

Locally, there has been a shortage of paper bags at many Kowalski’s locations. There are not enough workers and truck drivers to manufacture the bags and bring them to various store locations.

Anna Shore is a junior who works at the Kowalski’s in Oak Park Heights as a cashier. She explained how the paper bag shortage arose the week of Oct. 18. These bags are not as durable, and it is recommended that groceries are double-bagged.

Customers at various stores ranging from River Market Co-op to Kowalski’s are reacting in a rude way. Some customers will throw fits if there are not the right bags, grocery items or gifts.

“Customers are getting really upset with the bags that we are using right now because they are a lot thinner,” Shore said.

Furthermore, at River Market Co-op in downtown Stillwater, many shortages of Thanksgiving-related food items are apparent.

“The managers are really concerned about a cranberry shortage for Thanksgiving,” Logan Onken, senior and manager-on-duty at River Market Co-op, said. “I know last year for Thanksgiving we were out of canned pumpkin a lot,” Onken added.

There are many supply chain issues that will affect the holiday season. Time will tell how much these effects change business at stores that are local such as Kowalski’s and mega-corporations like Apple.

“I feel like everything stopped-when Covid hit. We had to take a minute to step back in. Problems arise when people are not working,” Sevilla explained.

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    Brady LauDec 21, 2021 at 11:09 am

    The title grabs attention almost by giving a sense of distress or panic. The mountain of facts really leaves you informed after reading. Maybe having more diverse perspectives in your quotes would flesh out some details.