Supply chain issues disrupt daily business

The anticipated winter storm from last week wiped out toilet paper and bottled water supplies at grocery stores, but recently, empty shelves have been common due to supply chain issues. 

The supply chain problems link directly to the lingering pandemic and consumer habits. After the increase of global shipping of medical supplies in early 2020, empty containers were left behind to pile up across the world. As consumers sought out durable goods to make it through quarantine, U.S. ports became overwhelmed and were left without the containers necessary to ship. 

Add labor shortages into the mix with high COVID-19 numbers and the perfect storm emerged to disrupt supply chains.  

Shipping times are longer and prices have surged, and UCO students have noticed supply chain impacts during their daily errands. 

“I can normally go into any grocery store and grab the necessities I need, but lately sometimes I can’t even find bread or bacon, and if I can, the prices have gone up,” said senior Garrett Holzwarth. 

Beyond bare necessities, other favorite items are missing from the shelves. 

“When it comes to snacks, I usually never think about it, but just the other day, I went to get something as simple as my favorite chips and they were all out,” said Paige Warrior, a senior. 

While running out of popular snacks or household items might be an inconvenience for many, local restaurants are needing to restructure how they run business in order to mitigate the delay in the supply chain. 

The Hive Eatery, located at 141 E. 2nd St., is dealing with issues such as an increase in prices and shortages in numerous items. 

“Paper goods, pork products, styrofoam: the demands have been high for these items while manufacturing and trucking have had problems getting the products to us in a timely fashion,” said Ailene Siharath, owner of The Hive Eatery. 

The items that cannot be shipped fast enough are making it difficult for Siharath to keep her business running in the way it had prior to the continuing pandemic. Siharath noted that even if the items she needs are readily available, there are not enough workers to fill the demands. 

“The demand is high, therefore pricing is reflective,” Siharath said. “Restaurants need these items to function.” 

In the past month, Siharath has cut items from her menu that she can no longer fulfill due to shortages or a rise in prices. She said that her only options were to no longer serve the items or raise menu prices. Both options offer a no-win situation for Siharath and leave regular customers disappointed with the change. 

As Omicron continues to spread, more labor shortages are expected, only heightening the problems businesses and consumers are facing now. Even as President Biden pushes for relief efforts, supply chain issues are anticipated to remain for at least the next few months.

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