It’s Brutal Out Here: Holiday Shopping Havoc

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Katie Popp, Editor-In-Chief

As soon as the clock struck midnight on November 1st, the cobwebs and skeletons were taken down and quickly replaced with Christmas trees and lights while Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” took over the radio and social media. Although the season has just begun, many Americans are already feeling behind on their holiday shopping. As more information is released through the media, it seems this year will be filled with more stress and havoc than years prior.

The New York Times recently revealed that last year Americans spent $630.7 billion during the holiday season (roughly $805 per individual). Between the decorations, presents for friends and family, as well as travel and food preparations, the holiday months create a major peak in the retail and consumer world. In years prior, the week or two prior to Christmas especially creates panic in consumers and major backups within retailers. This year, however, the backups are already beginning. As early as October 3, major news sites have reported supply shortages and shipping delays within major companies, the main reason being many fear gifts will not arrive on time similar to last year due to limited staffing. This is not a major surprise considering shortages have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic, but creates more stress for the upcoming holidays. With the Christmas season still over a month away, retailers have begun planning for the worst.

“We want to be real with you: we’re facing some unique challenges this year,” states the L.L. Bean website opening a letter to consumers encouraging them to purchase products earlier this year than years past due to shortages in supply and workers. Bed Bath and Beyond’s CEO Mark Tritton stated in an interview with Bloomberg News that “there is pressure across the board”. CNN revealed Walmart and Target have already seen a 8.5 to 10.5 percent increase in prices, which are expected to climb. Even Amazon, “the holiday gift saver” to many, is predicting weeks for shipping backups. Carol Tomé, the CEO of UPS, shared with the Wall Street Journal that over 50% of Americans finish their holiday shopping after Cyber Monday, and mail their gifts that week. In those weeks, post offices overflow with outgoing packages. This year, however, she predicts many will have their shopping done before then due to the rising fears about delivery.

Who knew the most wonderful time of the year could also be the most stressful? Before setting up your tree or binge watching your favorite movies, maybe consider getting ahead on your shopping this holiday season.