Retailers ask customers for patience during holiday shopping with fewer workers, shipping delays

Black Friday 2017: Move to online shopping impacting physical stores
Posted at 6:45 AM, Oct 07, 2021

(WXYZ) — You may find holiday shopping more challenging this year. From ships backed up at ports, to a lack of truck drivers hauling the goods and the worker shortage, it seems like issues are backing up all parts of the retail chain.

While retailers are glad Americans are opening up their wallets, they're struggling to get enough employees to keep everything running during the busiest time of the year. That could affect how you do your holiday shopping.

At Toyology in Bloomfield Hills, the holiday season is already underway.

"I'm shopping for Christmas. I'm going back to work next Monday, so I'm just trying to get a head start," one shopper told us.

Toyology's owner, Nori Klar, has also been trying to get a head start. Right now, she said they are low on staffing, and she's spending money trying to find workers for the holiday season.

Klar said the job she's offering would be great for retired teachers and college or high school students.

"Maybe now that schools are back and people are back in a groove, there will be more part-time workers," he said.

Until Klar finds more workers, she's had to rely on family to pick up shifts and her crew is working six days a week.

During the holiday season, she said it will be harder to fill orders and restock shelves when it gets busy.

At Caruso Caruso in Birmingham, the push is also to find workers.

Lennon Caruso said he needs to find workers now and is looking for 3-4 workers for the floor and many more in the storeroom. He's hoping to hire by the end of the month.

Caruso said they offer a clean work in a fun environment, with good pay for full- and part-time workers. He said they need workers to give customers the best experience possible.

For customers, they're asking for patience this holiday season.

"During peak times, the lines are gonna be longer, the store is gonna be a little more shopped," he said. "We really try to focus on resetting constantly throughout the day."

Craig Rowley, with the consulting firm Korn Ferry, said all types of retailers are facing challenges.

The company surveyed 100 retailers and found 96% say they're having a tough time filling jobs.

Rowley said customers might see longer lines, more bare shelves waiting to be stocked, and fewer stores open early or late for the holidays because that all requires people. Another casualty, he said, could be big blowout sales.

"Blowout sales are typically driven by we order too much inventory. That's not going to be the issue this year," he said.

With the big supply chain issues, stores can't reorder items as easily, especially if they're coming from overseas. When they are out, they are out.

For that reason, you should shop early. Prices probably won't get a lot better later in the season, so if you see an item you want, you should buy it

Finally, try shopping in the off-hours. There will likely be fewer shoppers and you can have more attention.

If you're looking for a job, you are a hot commodity this season. Both Toyology and Caruso Caruso say you can start by dropping them a line on social media.