It’s summertime, which means it’s time to put on those shades, get outside and crank up the boombox (that’s an old-school device for playing music) for fun in the sun. But beware, supply chain issues and a lack of workers could rain on that parade. Here are some of the biggest shortages this summer in this week’s Five For Friday.
Balloons are a summertime staple. Try imaging a graduation party, birthday bash or even a family reunion without floating balloons. It just doesn’t seem right, does it? But that may be the reality for summer 2022. Part of the reason for the shortage of helium is sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is a major producer of the gas and is making efforts to become an even bigger player. The shortage is so bad, Nebraska even preemptively suspended its decades-long tradition of releasing balloons after the first touchdown at home games. That may seem like a bad thing for all those Cornhusker fans out there, but know the university made the decision to save the helium they have for medical purposes. Helium is actually used to cool magnets used in MRI machines. If you are still trying to have a balloon-filled party, get creative. Make a balloon arch or even a balloon mosaic.
It gets hot out there in the summer, and whether you are trying to avoid sunburn or that sticky humidity, the movie theater is always a great place to get out of the heat. But just like peanut butter with jelly, what would a movie be without popcorn drenched in artificial butter flavoring? With fertilizer prices going way up, farmers are opting to grow soybeans instead of fertilizer-intensive corn, meaning popcorn is harder to come by. Theaters are also having trouble sourcing containers for the good stuff. And all of this is weighing on theater owners who make a majority of their profits from concessions.
What is summer without a summer getaway? Fuel costs are rising, making a family roadtrip in the old station wagon extra pricey. So, you make the move to travel somewhere more exotic by airplane. On top of those same fuel prices inflating airfare, there is a shortage of pilots. Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is at play, as many airlines offered early retirement to their most senior pilots and didn’t think demand would come back so quickly. This has already caused a ton of flight cancellations. Some carriers have proposed relaxing training requirements to get new pilots in the air quicker, but pilots are fighting back.
All of this is very stressful. Maybe you should just relax by the family pool. That is, if you can find the chlorine needed to keep it sanitary. A pool boom since the pandemic is leading to the shortage, with pool supply companies struggling to keep them on hand. Plus, a fire at a major chlorine factory in Louisiana cut down on production of the chemical. They hope to be up and running near the latter part of the year. If you are thinking of hopping in without the germ-killing additive, think again if you want a sanitary summer.
So you couldn’t open your own pool this summer because it is stinky and green. Why not take the tots to the public pool? Well, a lack of training and recertification during the pandemic has seriously limited the number of available lifeguards. The problem is so bad it is affecting up to a third of the nation’s public pools. Some experts even say young people don’t want the job anymore. What could be better than sitting poolside and raking in the cash?