Of all the things for which we will remember 2020, supply chain disruptions are among the top.

Remember store shelves emptying of toilet paper and paper towels? Remember going from store to store, to online and beyond in search of certain items such as, at various times meat and disinfectant cleaners?

It was certainly something which added to the discomfort, fear and confusion we were all facing early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

I mean, a virus sweeping out of China and causing damage and taking lives left and right is one thing, but don’t you make me use one-ply instead of quilted multi-ply toilet paper.

Well, don’t worry, because, just as 2021 had its own surge of COVID cases, we’re also staring down the barrel of even more supply chain disruptions, including some which experts say may run into future years.

"We expect... strained supply chains to last until the early parts of 2023," Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Copenhagen-based BIMCO, a shipping trade group, recently told Yahoo Finance Live. "We are basically seeing a global all-but-breakdown of the supply chains from from end-to-end."

And every news story you read speaks of the complicated nature of the breakdowns, especially those which are partisan in nature. Depending on what story you read and when, the problems could be Biden’s fault or Trump’s fault. Heck, dig far enough and you can probably find someone blaming Richard Nixon. Or, maybe it’s the “spectacular” recovery in U.S. consumer demand, as Sand told Yahoo.

Maybe it’s because of the rising cost of shipping containers or bottlenecks which keep forming at ports worldwide, as some have asserted. Maybe it’s all of the above and then some.

Regardless of the reason, dear reader, here’s what you need to know — that coveted Turbo-Man figure may not be available when you go to pick it up closer to Christmas. Prepare accordingly.

Other things may be interrupted, but much of the hand-wringing seems to be focused on the Christmas shopping season and the items we may be missing out on.

I get it. Our economy depends on us buying stupid stuff. And not just here and there, but a lot of stupid things we simply don’t need. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality. The stores that receive most of our shopping dollars are those which can provide the widest range of goods, not necessarily those which provide what we need.

I’m going to throw an idea out and please don’t shoot me. I’m not advocating for enforced limiting of what we can buy through a government agency or anything of the sort.

Instead, I’m advocating that maybe we take this opportunity to take stock of what matters. By all means, spend your money, spend it at local businesses when available, but perhaps we need to take stock of whether our spending should be more focused on the things that matter.

I know, it’s crazy, right? But, we’re faced with, for the first time in the modern era, the prospect that we won’t have exactly what we want — not need — at our fingertips. I’m not sure there’s been a better time in this era for some real stock-taking and culling of those expenditures which falsely promise satisfaction but rarely deliver.

And, hey, who knows? Maybe if enough of us get our spending under control and focus on what matters, we can see shipping normalize a bit. And, maybe we can also see our Christmas season focused a little bit more on the important things — the real meaning of the season, extra time with family and friends.

And that you can’t put a price on.

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