We Are All Cookie Monster In This Relatable Supply Chain Cartoon

Stepping into a grocery store and seeing empty shelves can create a sense of panic. The same can be said about placing an online order to only be informed of a long shipping delay. While many people are accustomed to overflowing shelves and quick deliveries, the new reality tells a far different story. Recent news concerning food and product shortages has added the term "supply chain" to everyone's vernacular. Although the concept of supply and demand might have been a pillar of economics class, this current crisis is more than just a theory. But, does anyone appreciate what supply chain really means?

A recent cartoon by Jason Adam Katzenstein published on The New Yorker's Facebook page seems to capture the sentiment of what people are thinking right now. "What me want to know is," Cookie Monster ponders, "What are the implications of supply-chain crisis for cookie?" That statement gets to the heart of why this issue has become part of the conversation. Did anyone really care about supply chain until Gatorade disappeared from store shelves and Taco Bell started running out of food? Whether or not there is an answer to Cookie Monster's inquiry, the reality is the conversation about how and why goods arrive on store shelves is now part of Main Street, not just Wall Street. Maybe "Sesame Street" should tackle the supply chain as part of its next episode.

Is there a simple explanation to the supply chain issue?

While The New Yorker cartoon with Cookie Monster might put a relatable spin on the current supply chain issues, the reality is that more people need to understand the process. As the LA Times simply described it, "the supply chain is a system." At present, the flow of goods and services is no longer continuous. From disruptions at the port to stalls on the road, the shipping logjam is diverging goods from getting to their destination. Store shelves are empty and people, like Cookie Monster, cannot satisfy that instant craving for the products that they want.

According to CNN, "the world's delicate supply chains are under extreme stress." Though these shortages may seem temporary, the reality is that the current situation will not end as quickly as an episode of "Sesame Street." It could take months or longer for the system to return to some sense of normalcy. In the meantime, Cookie Monster might have to switch from chocolate chip cookies to oatmeal raisin. Depending on how things go, he might even have to temporarily replace cookies with another treat. As the cartoon reveals, the supply chain only became part of the discussion when it had a personal impact. Whether or not it continues part of the conversation once store shelves are full again remains to be seen.