A kid’s guide to the global supply chain and labor shortages


Gather around, children. I’ve got a story to tell you, and I think you’re going to want to hear it.
After all, the fate of your Christmas list might hang in the balance.

Do I have your attention now? I thought so.

As a kid, you’re really busy. Between school, homework, and all those chores your parents make you do, you barely have time to play your video games and watch TikTok, let alone turn on CNBC or Fox Business and fill yourself in on the latest economic news.

So you may not be aware of the economic storm that’s brewing right now, a storm every bit as disruptive as the blizzard that very nearly grounded Santa’s sleigh before Rudolph’s shiny red nose saved the day. As a public service, I’ll try my best to explain what’s happening and how it might affect you.

If you went shopping on Black Friday with your family, you may have seen your crazy aunt wrestle somebody in Hobby Lobby for the last “Peace on Earth” sign on the shelf. Scenes like this are not uncommon, especially this year.

So why are the shelves in some stores bare? It all goes back to a supply chain issue that is preventing items from being shipped to stores.

I see some of you rolling your eyes at me saying, “What does this have to do with me? My toys are being made at the North Pole!”

Unfortunately, these supply chain issues are also disrupting toy production at the North Pole. As Christmas lists pour in from all over the world, Santa’s elves have reportedly been left twiddling their tiny thumbs as they wait for parts and pieces to arrive at the toy factory, and the clock is ticking.

You may not know it, but many of the gadgets and gizmos you kids love so much require computer chips from China. The same goes for the trucks and cars your parents own.

If you’ve taken a ride by a car dealership lately, you’ve probably seen that there aren’t as many cars for sale as there used to be. That’s because those cars need computer chips in their engines, and the factories that make the cars and trucks just can’t get those chips fast enough to keep up with demand.

The production problem at the North Pole is being further complicated by a labor shortage. As you and your family travel around town, you probably see a lot of “Help Wanted” signs.

The situation isn’t much different up at the North Pole. Each year, Santa lets the elves go out and blow off some steam after Christmas before calling them back to work as the next Christmas season approaches.

For whatever reason, the elves didn’t come pouring back into the toy factory this year when Santa put out the call for workers. I’ve scoured business publications from one end of the world to the other, but nobody can quite explain what is going on.

All we really know is that quite a few elves decided not to go back to work this year. The same thing is happening around here, too. With less elves in the toy factory, it will be harder to produce toys in time for Christmas the same way that it may take longer to pick up a to-go order at your favorite restaurant.

Now that you kids have a full handle on what’s going on, I’m going to ask you to be patient as Santa and his elves work to get all the presents delivered. Some of you may unwrap a picture of your gift on Christmas morning. If this happens to you, don’t be alarmed. You’re not on the naughty list; your gift will make its way to you when the supply chain allows.

Others might get a present that is a different brand or color than you requested. Again, unless you unwrap a lump of coal, you have not been naughty – the supply chain simply forced Santa and his team to call an audible.

In the meantime, I hope you all will enjoy the time you have with your families and friends, and I hope you all have a chance to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Memories of the things you get this Christmas will fade, but you’ll always remember the people you spent this holiday season with.

Okay. That’s about the long and the short of it. You kids run along now. Those TikTok videos won’t watch themselves.


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