By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the doom and gloom predictions about holiday shopping and the “supply chain.”
If you haven’t heard about it, you surely will before the season is over. The problem, in a nutshell, is that an increase in online purchases during the pandemic, coupled with employee shortages and shutdowns, has led to greater demand than the supply chain can accommodate. As a result, some Christmas packages might not make it in time for holiday delivery.
It isn’t that the products can’t be made, or even that they aren’t available. The problem is that the products we’ve ordered online over the last several months are all sitting on ships – out in the Pacific Ocean – waiting for space on west coast docks so they can be unloaded.
Once they are unloaded, trucks and planes and trains are waiting to carry them to big box stores and direct purchasers across the country.
But, for now, there is a bottleneck holding up timely delivery.
At least, there is a bottleneck holding up delivery for things produced overseas and shipped to American consumers.
If you want to buy local and American-made goods this holiday, you shouldn’t experience the same kind of predicted shipping delays.
Granted, there may be some shipping issues still, just because of the ripple-effect and shippers waiting on those goods sitting in western ports. But your chances of delivery are better if you choose American-made goods and have them shipped through the USPS or other domestic delivery services.
Or, better yet, you can purchase directly from local merchants and skip the shipping wait altogether.
Not only can you find any number of gift items sold by local business owners that are just as nice as anything you can order online, you can check the item out before you buy. If you’ve ever ordered a gift online, and had it arrive at the last minute, only to find it wasn’t the correct item, that it came in the wrong size, or wasn’t as described, you understand the frustration. But when you pick that same item up in a local store, and hold it in your hands before making that decision, there is none of that confusion.
You can also buy gift-certificates for local restaurants, or other services – from bowling games to massages to aesthetician sessions – that you just can’t get online.
Finally, you’ll be helping your neighbors to have a Merry Christmas of their own. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating; when you purchase local, you are helping support rent for a local family, putting food on their table, and sending their kids to dance class, instead of purchasing another yacht for Amazon head Jeff Bezos.
The supply chain problem is going to create problems for holiday shoppers, but it’s nothing our local merchants can’t help us handle, if we’re willing to support them.
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at email@example.com