#EmptyShelvesJoe: No toys for Christmas if Biden unable to fix supply chain crisis

On October 13, Biden warned companies that he will 'call them out' if they fail to 'step up' to ease supply chain bottlenecks

                            #EmptyShelvesJoe: No toys for Christmas if Biden unable to fix supply chain crisis
President Joe Biden spoke about supply chain bottlenecks on October 13, announcing the Port of Los Angeles will operate 24 hours a day now (Drew Angerer/Getty Images and Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On Thursday, October 14, the hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe trended on Twitter. The trend saw tweets from conservatives, who criticized President Joe Biden for what they saw as an impending supply chain crisis. Biden is pushing to ease supply shortages and tame rising prices in time for Christmas. But fixing US supply lines could be more difficult and time-consuming than what this deadline allows. 

On Wednesday, October 13, Biden warned companies that he will “call them out” if they fail to “step up” to ease supply chain bottlenecks ahead of the holiday season. “I know you’re hearing a lot about something called supply chains and how hard it is to get a range of things from a toaster to sneakers to bicycles to bedroom furniture,” Biden said on Wednesday. “With the holidays coming up, you might be wondering if the gifts you plan to buy will arrive on time.” Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles will expand to 24/7 operations, following the example of the Port of Long Beach, also in California.

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President Joe Biden on September 21, 2021 at the UN headquarters in New York City (Photo by Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

"This is an across-the-board commitment to going to 24/7," said Biden. But there are issues that won't be solved by this measure. "What the president's doing isn't going to really hurt. But at the end of the day, it doesn't solve the problem," Steven Ricchiuto, US chief economist at Mizuho Securities, told Reuters

As per reports, while imports at the Port of Los Angeles are up 30 percent so far this year, about 250,000 containers of goods remain stacked up on the docks due to delayed pickups, chassis shortages, and a lack of space in rail yards and warehouses. This is what is causing dozens of ships to back up and anchor outside the port.

Frank Ponce De Leon, International Longshore & Warehouse Union Coast Committeeman said, "You don't build a church for Christmas and Easter; you build it for a regular Sunday service. With the unprecedented influx of cargo, it's like Christmas and Easter on the docks every single day, with more ships coming in and the pews have been full for months, and there's nowhere left to sit — or stand." Backlogs also exist at ports in New York and Savannah, Georgia. 

Container ships and shipping containers (center) are viewed at the Port of Los Angeles with the Port of Long Beach in the distance on February 1, 2021 in San Pedro, California (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As per the Guardian, the supply crisis is driven in part by the global coronavirus pandemic as sales of durable goods jumped amid worker shortages and transportation hub slowdowns. A disrupted Christmas featuring bare shelves and undelivered toys, the paper noted, would be sure to deliver negative headlines for Biden, who has already lost political momentum due to a Covid-19 surge caused by the Delta variant and the chaotic withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

And thus came into play the #EmptyShelvesJoe trend. One tweet read, “Anyone else remember all of the empty shelves in every store everywhere in 2020 under the former guy?” But this tweet (and the trend) was heavily criticized, with people reminding the user of the toilet paper and grocery shortage at the start of the pandemic in 2020. 

“People are tweeting about #EmptyShelvesJoe as if the country didn't run out of toilet paper under #FullOfShitDonald,” wrote Frank Lesser, the writer for ‘The Colbert Report’, who added, “‘But under Trump there was a pandemic!!!’ cry the morons who refuse to believe the pandemic is still ongoing and disrupting the global supply chain." He also tweeted, “‘Trump is living rent-free in your head’ cry the triggered lily-white snowflakes who refuse to acknowledge that Biden is living rent-free in the White House after winning the last election.”




“We're going to have to cancel Christmas this year because nobody can buy toys for the kids. Thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe,” wrote on Twitter user, who was also criticized heavily. One person responded with, “If your Christmas is ruined by lack of material goods on a single day… you have some serious privilege issues that you and your family need to address. A good day to do that would be the day you are supposed to be celebrating the birth of your supposed savior.” Another wrote, “Awww man, we're going to have to learn the true meaning of Christmas isn't rampant consumerism???? Say it ain't so.”