FARGO — What with all the talk of supply shortages, worker shortages and transportation bottlenecks, I am concerned about potential toy shortages this season.
How will Junior become an important TikTok influencer without Unisex Crocs? Will Little Suzy’s dreams come true if she doesn’t have a $35 Dream Seeker Doll with which to share her secret wishes? How can we expect Jimmy to develop normally if he doesn’t receive a Galactic Snackin’ Groku?
I’m also worried about Santa. Elf labor is highly specialized and the word is that they have unionized and are no longer content with being paid with gingerbread and pats on the head. Also, thanks to Amazon, people’s delivery expectations have become completely unreasonable. How can Santa compete? Have you ever tried to design, build and package an entire 75-piece train set when you have same-day delivery?
That’s not to mention the fact that Rudolph decided to retire early because he realized it was madness to deliver to every boy and girl on the planet on a single night, especially when you had to wear a mask over your crowning glory: your famed red nose.
Yup, word has it that COVID caused a mass reindeer reckoning, with even workaholic Blitzen scratching his horns and second-guessing his career choice. They say Blitzen opted to join a petting zoo, which is run by a kindly, old couple who remind him of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Nowadays, his job description consists of munching on grasses, hay and apples, while allowing small children to pet him. He says it isn’t bad work, except when the occasional kiddo gets a lollipop stuck in his fur.
Never fear, boys and girls. Your toys will still be delivered, as Santa has invested in some heavy-lift cargo carrier drones to take up the slack.
And then there are the supply shortages. How can you make snow globes and marbles without glass? Or toy cars and Easy-Bake Oven pans without metal? The final straw has been the plastic shortage, as we know at least 97 percent of the world's toys contain plastic.
Santa and his leadership team have done their best to pivot and are hoping kids will love their L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls. (The real surprise is that the dolls are made out of hemp and their Dance Machine Cars are actually macraméd from bamboo yarn.)
In the last few years, Santa had attempted to run a more nimble and modern operation by switching the North Pole Factory to Just in Time manufacturing. (Or, as he liked to call it, “Nick of Time” manufacturing. Heh-heh.)
He was tired of heating and paying rent on all those massive warehouses of inventory, so was able to gauge exactly what children wanted — and which children were naughty — through a sophisticated network of Elves on the Shelves (outfitted with AI) and Alexa devices.
Unfortunately, due to all those other aforementioned complications, he can no longer draw on backup inventory. That means he can't substitute Little Robbie's request for a "Space Jam: A New Legacy" Super Shoot & Dunk Playset with LeBron James figure, with the less-popular Toe Jam: Super Clip & Buff Footcare Playset with James Earl Jones figure.
He deserves more than milk and cookies this year.
In fact, I think I'll leave him an Xbox Series X.
Just as soon as it arrives from China ...