Marquette expert: Presents will be harder to find, more expensive this holiday season

Marquette expert: Presents will be harder to find, more expensive this holiday season

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OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- If you're not already thinking about gifts for the holidays, you might want to start now. The U.S. Postal Service and UPS are advising customers to plan ahead.

We asked Dr. Mark Barratt what the supply chain will be like this holiday season. He's an associate professor of supply chain management at Marquette University.

"Pretty horrible," he replied. "Don't start thinking that you're going to get everything that you want, because you're going to be sadly disappointed."

Barratt said customers shouldn't panic, but they should expect more expensive presents and longer shipping times, as the problems at the ports will likely affect the presents under the tree.

"Say it was coming from China -- if it was taking a month normally, now it's taking four months," Barratt said.

Companies are desperately trying to build inventory and fill customer orders. The pandemic and worker shortage caused disruptions in the system.

In Oak Creek, UPS said it will be ready for the huge influx in packages. The company is trying to hire another 1,000 people in the Milwaukee area.

"Every package counts, and we want to make sure that the packages get to the Christmas tree at the end of the season," said Ryan Zenoni, business manager at UPS.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service told CBS 58 last year was a record-setting year with more than a billion packages delivered. It recommends customers order gifts early because the longer they wait, the more limited their shipping options are.

Zenoni said there's no time like the present.

He sums up his advice for customers in seven words: "Ship now, buy now and shop early."

CBS News says there are specific products that customers may have more trouble finding this holiday season, such as certain gaming consoles, toys, clothes, Christmas lights and artificial trees.

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