Initially trending in October 2021, “Bare Shelves Biden” is making a comeback. Once again, Twitter users are posting photos of vacant store shelves with the viral tagline “Bare Shelves Biden” as the caption. Expectedly, there are several explanations for the lack of inventory within American stores: COVID-19, supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and extreme winter weather conditions top the list. But no matter the cause, it’s possible that we could be dealing with increasingly bare shelves for months to come.
Over-Hyped by the Right?
Those who defend Joe Biden blame the Republicans, claiming the right has exaggerated or even made up the situation. Even with pictures documenting stores across the nation with nearly empty shelves, conservatives are accused of lying to place the blame on Biden and his staff. However, a splattering of reports from different cities across the nation highlight the significant issues leading to the disgorgement of merchandise from their local stores.
From natural disasters and seasonal weather:
“We’ve been pretty hampered by cold weather and snow, but also those tornadoes that struck back in December have limited our ability to meet our needs too.” – Thomas Goldsby, researcher for the University of Tennessee.
“We are facing a shortage of CDL drivers due to the nationwide shortage and COVID.” – Texas Deputy Judge-Executive Daniel London.
To product and staffing shortages:
“… it’s starting with manufacturers not being able to get materials. Then, it trickles down to staffing shortages at the production level.” – Aaron Bruton, vice president of Hammer’s Autoworks in Springfield, Missouri.
It is evident that the empty shelves are not a figment of the far-right’s imagination.
The Supply Chain Crisis
The supply chain crisis is perhaps the most significant contributor to naked shelves. The supply chain is a delicate process that is kept in order by repetition and monotony. When consumer demand changes, even slightly, it takes a hit and struggles to recover balance. The pandemic has severely altered the needs of consumers and started a ripple effect that has yet to settle.
One of the biggest donors to the supply chain crisis is the pileup of packed shipping containers sitting untouched and fully loaded for weeks at a time. Border closings and staffing shortages due to the coronavirus have disrupted the schedule for loading and unloading, and items either still at the ports or on ships in the water can’t be stocked in stores.
While Republicans get blamed for exaggerating the empty shelves issue, the problem does exist – and the clever “Bare Shelves Biden” slogan will likely continue to trend until stores are replenished. Consumers are becoming concerned about how long this food shortage will continue – and who can blame them?
~ Read more from Kirsten Brooker.