Countdown to Empty Shelves

How the supply chain crunch is putting us at risk of shortages this Holiday Season


Consumers might have problems finding a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Talks of supply chain bottlenecks are everywhere on national and local news recently and spotty shelves and rationing of certain essentials are back at local grocery stores. With Thanksgiving around the corner, food shortages worry some shoppers in the Las Vegas Valley.

“It’s not toilet paper armageddon like last year, but those empty spaces on the shelves definitely give me flashbacks,” Margarette Turner, a Smith’s shopper in Spring Valley said.

Following the pandemic, some industries have struggled to recover from disruptions in their production due to the shutdowns. This, coupled with higher grain prices is leading to a shortage of smaller turkeys for the upcoming Thanksgiving. According to local grocers, the delivery loads have decreased and some items are not being delivered.

Josh, a Smith’s manager at a local Albertson’s noticed that “some items we order, like cereals or bottled water just aren’t delivered as often as they used to.”

This disruption in transportation of goods is due, in part, to labor shortages in the trucking industry causing backlogs at ports around the country.  Licensed truck drivers are being stretched to the limit but it is still not enough to turn the tide. Angel Lopez, a long-haul truck driver who criss-crosses the country year-round said he hasn’t seen anything like it in his 15 years in the industry, “You go to Long Beach, it looks like a parking lot full of cargo ships right outside the port.”

Although he enjoys the higher pay per load he is earning, the long hours are taking their toll on his family life. “My wife is starting to complain about how little she sees me. I’m never home more than a weeek out of the month, but I’m barely home now,” Lopez said.

With worsening labor shortage on the horizon due to the Biden administration’s incoming federal vaccine mandates, these widespread issues are only the tip of the iceberg, and truck driver like Lopez might not spend much time with their family this Holiday Season.