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OPINION | LET'S TALK: On D-Day, D means deficiency

by Helaine Williams | June 6, 2021 at 2:08 a.m.

June 6 is observed as D-Day. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded northern France via beach landings in Normandy ... a bigtime turning point in World War II.

Right now we could well mark another kind of D-Day: Deficiency Day.

Or am I the only one who's lost count of all the shortages we're suffering as consumers, even with covid-19 (pretty much blamed for everything) supposedly on the wane?

Online posts about recent shortages include a May 12 "list of major consumer goods that are hard to get, why and for how long," at Strange Sounds (, "a blog about amazing, weird, unusual and unexpected phenomena around the world."

Some of the headliner shortages, as mentioned there:

◼️ Gasoline, one of the shortages of which we've heard the most. Yep, just in time for the road trips we stir-crazy Americans are so eager/desperate to take, gas is scarce and expensive. And everybody knows that stopping for gas on road trips is not only necessary, it's an excuse for something much more important: Using the convenience-store restroom!

◼️ Truck drivers, a shortage of whom is blamed as a reason for the gas and other shortages. This despite the fact that we still have to constantly pass 18-wheelers whenever we hit the interstate. I shudder to think of the things we'd be unable to find if one day those "morning commute" highway images they show on the news aren't dominated by big rigs ... Underwear? Deodorant?

◼️ Chlorine. Pools, many of which opened last weekend, are possibly suffering the consequences of a shortage of chlorine and chlorine tablets. "Chlorine supplies are running low due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. As a result, prices for tabs have skyrocketed," according to the Strange Sounds list. Which means there may be no protection whatsoever from those who, well, tend to want to use pools as they would restrooms.

◼️ One of the most laughable shortages: ketchup packets. Laughable as in "heck, unless you beg on bended knee, the folks working the fast-food restaurant drive-throughs won't give you any ketchup packets for your fries anyway." Years ago, I visited my church's former piano player and her family after they'd moved to Fort Worth, and a worker at a fast-food restaurant at which we stopped during our visit told us they were out of ketchup packets because of what the pianist's daughter said was a common excuse in their area: "The supply truck broke down." Well, fast-food workers can now turn down any ketchup packet requests by telling us, "Hey, didn't you hear that we're in the middle of a shortage? Besides, the truck would have broken down anyway. That is, assuming there was anybody to drive it."

◼️ Lumber, whose shortage is blamed for unreal housing construction/renovation costs as well as the rise in bathroom-tissue costs. We'll have to settle for nothing but home-reno-show reruns because even Chip and Joanna Gains, Nicole Curtis and the Property Brothers won't be able to fix anything up. And we'll have to resort to using tree bark during commercial-break bathroom visits.

◼️ Chicken. Because of the chicken-sandwich wars and lack of workers, it's supposedly been harder to get a chicken fix — without a diligent hunt and without paying filet mignon prices, that is. Which brings to mind the Chick-fil-A billboard ads in which cows are trying to urge everybody to "Eat mor Chikin.'" Er, sorry, cows, we have no choice but to turn to hamburgers! (A note to the planners of the in-person banquets that are slowly making their way back: You might as well opt for serving "rubber" steak.)

Now here are several shortages I'm betting more than a few of us wish existed:

◼️ Robocallers. Sorry, guys, we're not going to be fooled by calls from spoofed numbers coming from Judsonia, the vacation spot we just visited or from numbers that Caller ID simply says come from the "United States."

◼️ Speech boxes for those automatic checkout machines at Kroger that talk to us like we haven't got a brain in our heads. "Why no, why would I put the item in the bag after scanning? I'd rather cook it and eat it right here, thank you."

◼️ Any and all summer bugs. Not all of us care to make them a culinary delicacy.

◼️ Streamed new shows that glorify crooks and psychopaths, the abundance of which prompts the likes of myself to retreat even further into good ol' MeTV corniness.

◼️ Political fighting. 'Nuff said.

No need to be the cause of any email shortages:


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