Get Your Holiday Presents Early, Business Owners Advise


If you have your heart set on a present to give this holiday season, buy it now while supplies last!

With the Covid-induced supply chain shortage of goods such as computer chips, paper, and building supplies, buying gifts for these upcoming holidays is going to become incredibly difficult. Starting in Wuhan, China in late 2019, Corona-Virus or Covid quickly became a global pandemic by March 11, 2020 causing many to start working from home, according to the World Health Organization.

According to Associated Press, “The global supply chain has been buffeted by a multitude of problems, from factories having to close due to COVID-19 surges, a lack of containers to ship items in, backups at ports and warehouses, and a shortage of truckers.”

Small business owners are struggling the most with Covid’s impact on retail distribution.

Liz Rosenberg, owner of The Toy Box in Amherst, said that ordering products has noticeably changed.

“A company we work with very closely… Ravensburger, the largest puzzle company in the world, they cut off ordering in mid September, for the year, which has never happened before,” she told The Willistonian. “It’s very real, we can’t restock.”

Rosenberg noted high shipping costs and delayed shipping times as a reason why many businesses are having issues getting product in.

“[I] spoke with a person who owns one of the toy companies that we order from and they had just thrown $25,000 extra dollars on top of whatever the container cost would be so that they could get it shipped,” she explained.

According to the Freightos Baltic Index, the largest global freight price index, the cost of shipping from East Asia to the U.S West Coast is around 19 times higher now compared to 2019.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Wade Miquelon, CEO of Jo-Ann Stores, said, “Sometimes the ocean freight now is actually more expensive than the cost of the product.”

Stressed supply chains and high shipping costs is only one part of the problem for why you may see empty shelves during the holiday season. This year, instead of other customers, you’ll be competing with robots designed to snatch up newly released devices/toys to later resell for a profit.

Bots have long been used on release days for new sneakers. Sneaker release sites are designed to only let one person get one pair of shoes, but with the use of a computer program, this hurdle can be easily jumped. When a sneaker is expected to be popular among collectors, or “sneakerheads,” individuals will use a computer bot pre-loaded with credit card info and order size, causing for an unfair advantage to the common sneaker purchaser, according to The New York Times.

Usage of such bots for goods — not just the sneakers — has increased around 19% from September 4 to October 26, according to Akamai, a networking-services company that helps businesses ward off checkout bots. This means getting Christmas gifts online is going to become increasingly difficult as the individuals behind these bots buy up supplies and resell them on sites such as Ebay at high multiples.

Most during this time of year hope to buy their presents during Black Friday events, but with shortages in products due to supply chain issues and bots, along with rising prices due to shipping costs, it is best to shop now, as deals on Black Friday won’t be as significant.

Dyson Haaland, a junior from Maryland, says he’s going to get ready for the holidays well in advance.

“I’m definitely going to buy gifts early this year,” he said. “It’s really sad that people are stealing the holidays away from children just to make some money.”

According to a recent consumer press release by Adobe, computer prices during this time of year typically drop 9% by now, but they haven’t, signaling that prices are only going to get higher.

Rosenberg, from The Toy Box, recommends you do holiday shopping early this year.

“My advice to people is… you see it, you like it, buy it [now,]” she said.