Consumer Alert: Experts warn you may not be able to find the toys you want for Christmas

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Today’s consumer alert is all about your kids, Christmas and those toys under the tree. And for parents and grandparents of little ones, retailers say this could be a shopping season like none other. Like so many little girls across the world, my daughter has fallen in love with LOL Surprise! Dolls.

These adorable anatomically incorrect three-inch dolls have become so popular they’re giving the old standby Barbie a run for her money.

My daughter’s favorite is lol doll is named Queen Bee. And while you can find a stuffed version of Queen Bee, the actual doll is more difficult to find because it’s from the very first LOL series.

My daughter has a Queen Bee but the doll is without a body because our Yorkie mix, Annabelle, ate it. My daughter was not happy. She loves Queen Bee. She has Queen Bee clothes. She even wears her hair like Queen Bee. And she wants another Queen Bee. Every parent reading this can likely understand my pain. You have a kid who has a toy that he or she absolutely, positively has to have this Christmas.

But we need to be prepared for the very real possibility that we won’t find it. Cargo containers across the country are caught in a constant COVID quagmire clogging ports all over the world. The backup is caused by a confluence of events. COVID outbreaks in key Asian supplier countries temporarily shut down plants. And as we struggle to catch up, port pandemic restrictions and labor shortages are causing huge backlogs like this.

So now companies like MGA Entertainment, the toymaker that manufacturers my daughter’s LOL doll, told Reuters they’re using pricy private cargo planes to get their toys to retailers around the world.

There’s a problem with that. Those planes don’t hold nearly the number of products those ships do. MGA’s CEO told CNN Business, “There’s going to be a major shortage of toy products this year.”

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that those cargo planes are really expensive. So Mattel, the maker of big brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price has announced its raising prices to cover those hefty shipping costs.

At this point, it’s not clear if the stores that sell those toys to us will raise prices as well. But I wouldn’t bet against it.

I had to ask the question though, is the toy supply chain problem really that bad? Are retailers exaggerating a bit to whip us into an early holiday buying frenzy?

For answers, I went straight to supply chain experts like Brittain Ladd, the chief supply chain and marketing officer for KPI, a company that helps get products to warehouses for big names like Amazon.

Here’s what Ladd told Axios, “What I hope consumers have already started to do is shop… The attitude should be, ‘Let’s not be as picky as maybe we’ve been in the past few years. Let’s be happy with what we can find.”

We should all take his advice. I’m looking for Queen Bee right now. But if I don’t find her, I’ll get my little girl another LOL doll and I will thank my lucky stars and the cargo container she came on.