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With supply chain issues resulting from severe weather and the ongoing pandemic, holiday shopping may be challenging. Add in factory shutdowns and shipping delays, planning and smart spending will be more important than before. WVU Extension Service Family and Community Development Agent Lauren Weatherford notes that making your list, checking it twice and planning for these challenges can make for a much happier holiday season.
Audio File: Your items may be out of stock
“This holiday season, the items you want may not be in stock. Why? It is due to the Covid pandemic and catastrophic weather events, especially in China and southeast Asia where many of our products are manufactured. Factory output is often reduced or completely shut down. Global shipping has been problematic for a year and a half and continues to experience delays. The supply chain, or path of a product from factory to store, is disrupted. As a result, your holiday gifts may not be readily available this year.”
Audio File: Slower shipping times
“Shipping is likely to be slower and more expensive this year. You may have noticed that many online retailers have recently extended their arrive by dates. That is due to longer delivery times and unprecedented shipping rate increases by all the major carriers in 2021. Shipping companies post their deadlines for the holidays. It is wise to plan your shipping and deliveries in advance. Shopping early can save you money by allowing for cheaper, but longer, shipping times, and prevent worries of whether your packages will arrive in time.”
Audio File: Planning will be key
“Planning will be the key to successful and responsible shopping this holiday season. Make a list of people to shop for and assign each of them a spending amount per person. Then identify items you would like to buy. I recommend having one or more alternatives for each person in case your first choice isn’t available or won’t arrive in time. Lastly, stay within your budget all season long. When you shop early you want to avoid last minute impulse buys which can bust your budget.”
“A great way to avoid shipping issues is to support small businesses in your community. You often can find unique, locally-made products, and you’re giving back to the local economy by shopping local.” — Lauren Weatherford, Family and Community Development Agent, Fayette and Nicholas Counties, WVU Extension Service