Normally, we would think early October is way too soon for a “shop local” editorial. But this year, like last, will be far from normal and will pose special problems when it comes to finding the perfect gifts for family, friends and other loved ones.

Last week, The Daily News reported supply-chain woes wrought by the pandemic are causing many problems up and down the line.

“The supply chain has been stretched from end to end for the better part of the pandemic,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation.

The disruption to the supply chain stems from several areas, Gold said. In addition to the increased demand for products, there’s a shortage of vessels to ship products across the ocean, a shortage of empty containers to hold those products and problems finding people to unload the products at ports and then transport them on trucks, he said.

“It seems like with every piece of the supply chain there are different challenges,” he said.

And it isn’t just the big-box stores that are affected. Local merchants are feeling the squeeze, even if they sell exclusively handcrafted items. That’s because even artists are having a hard time securing supplies.

That all adds up to limited selection, shelves that are left empty rather than replenished when a product sells out and, very likely, higher prices.

And if you still plan to shop online, you have all of that to deal with along with extra-long shipping times.

What we wrote here last year on Nov. 12 is just as true now a month earlier this year: It’s almost too late to start your holiday shopping if you plan to do any of it online. Only this year, the same goes for in-person shopping, too.

And like last year, we encourage you to shop local. Many local merchants still are reeling from pandemic-related hits to business and need your support.

This reminder also comes from last year:

“Most shops may be small compared to those making national headlines, but locally and collectively, they are the heartbeat of our community. As we all learn to shape our new reality, let’s commit to spending our dollars with a purpose — one we carry with the same kind of respect we do in the voting booth.”

And in this time when your shopping choices may be limited, we offer two other bits of advice:

• Don’t go out looking for something specific for someone specific. Wander the aisles and nooks and crannies and let the perfect gifts call out to you from what your favorite store owner has on hand.

• Think experiences, like restaurant gift certificates, movie tickets, admission to local museums or other experiences and services.

The pandemic has caused many of us to rethink what we want and what we need. Whether that introspection leads you to buying bigger, better and more or to scale back to the basics, shop safe, shop sane, shop local and, yes, shop early. Really early. Like now.

• Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner: 409.683.5227;


Deputy Managing Editor

Margaret joined The Daily New in December 2019, bringing more than 20 years of editorial experience to the team. A Philadelphia native, she lives in Galveston County with her husband, Steve, and their dog Nanook.

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(5) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] This is good advice. Ships from China are backed up off the west coast with too few dockworkers and too few truck drivers to unload them. And China is having its own supply issues with coal-fired power resulting in production slowdowns. Galveston has a great selection of shops - especially the artsy type. This crisis is a good time to change your shopping habits and buy local.

Carlos Ponce

Avoid shortages; buy AMERICAN, Buy TEXAS made products and produce!

The Chinese Virus pandemic showed we are too dependent on foreign made products. There is a need, there is a market. Why haven't American manufacturers stepped up to fill that market, fill that need?

There is a shortage of electronic chips from Asia. Why can't they be made here?

Gary Scoggin

A good question, but building a chip manufacturing facility from scratch is something that takes several years. What we need are policies that encourage that.

Carlos Ponce

"building a chip manufacturing facility from scratch is something that takes several years."

Funny, that's what they said about the Chinese Virus vaccine. And you know what? THEY WERE WRONG!

Charles Douglas

Naw! Naw! I think we are giving the Red China,... Oh wait, did I say RED CHINA VIRUS? Okay then, I think we are giving the RED CUINA VIRUS to much credit! Render onto RED CHINA what they are due, but give the Greedy, Selfish, and Covetous politicians in this country their due also!

I'm tired of the blame game! It is either the Virus's fault, or TRUMP caused it! Trump did not pay America workers to stay and home on the taxpayer's dime, neither did he cause Americans to pay five dollars for gasoline in some places here, and had to stand in line to get it! The Virus did not DUMB DOWN, the American school curriculums so that everybody in the world is coming up with innovative creations but us! I'm told that the chips we use in many of our fighter jets comes from Asia! Wow, that is dumber than hiring ISIS to protect us from ISIS! I'm tired of hearing about the DUMB things Obama 3 team is doing in DC! It all has to do with his promise he made after he went to DC, and boldly proclaimed, " Before I'm done, I will fundamentally change this nation and the world! I heard hengot a Nobel Peace Prize for saying it too!!! However, he did not get out the gate good enough to do it in his eight years with Joe China, and something amazing STOPPED, his efforts with CROOKED Hilliary trying to get in! ( TRUMP). So they regrouped and came back with whatever this is in DC now in order to complete what he started in 2008! Some people enjoy letting the government be their daddy, look at California, they can't get enough of the government milk!

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