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No Nike This Year: Supply Chain Issue Causes Shortages of Equipment
Iris Wong '23 Staff Writer
November 18, 2021

Once in a while, students get a glimpse of stock shortage around campus. This year more than ever before, campus stores are experiencing stock shortages.

Credit: Lily Lin

For a couple of weeks in October, the Greer Store did not serve chai and espresso shots. Greer Cash Operations Co-Manager Dan Christenson said, “With the chai, all of our distributors did not have any chai and they could not get it, so Roger at Shipping and Receiving ended up ordering some through Amazon.” The Greer has also adapted in other ways, including switching to different mozzarella sticks and implementing new compostable cups. For items that do not have clear substitutes, such as chai, espresso, and Gatorade, often the only option is to wait for a restocking. “It can be hit and miss, you know, depending on who’s [what supplier’s] got it,” Christenson added. “We’re just trying to do what we can as far as to keep the Greer open and fully stocked.”

The Athletics department is experiencing shipping delays as well. Athletics Director Mr. Howe revealed, “Our 15 new football helmets just showed up a week ago, and we ordered those in June.” The department also ordered CCM hockey helmets and swimsuits for the upcoming winter season in anticipation of shipping delays. Both of those orders took several months to arrive, though typically it would only take a couple of weeks at most. In addition, current sports games often only have one referee, while there are typically two for every game. Mr. Howe explained, “We give them [the Massachusetts Referee Association] our schedule and they supply us with referees for each game. Every week, we have had to juggle and wait for them to find another referee to fill the referee assignments, whereas in past years we just give them our schedule and get all of the referees we need.”

Furthermore, the supply of athletic apparel has not been able to keep up with high demand. Even the earliest orders placed in September for fall team gear only arrived close to the last week of the term. “There’s no one to blame, really,” says Ainsley Hubbard ’22, the captain of the Girls’ Field Hockey team. “Things are really slow now, and we are just glad that the team gear came in before the season ended.” 

The Hitchcock House merchandise is also low in stock, according to Deerfield Campus Store Manager Sandra Yager. She said, “The biggest apparel shortage is brand names like Nike and Under Armour. The merchandise is, in many cases, coming from overseas, and getting it to the U.S. is a challenge. And once it is at the ports, getting it from point A to point B is a challenge because of the truck driver shortage,” referring to the ports in California and South Mexico that have been filled with cargo. According to the New York Times, toward the end of September, a record number of container ships lined the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. These delays may entail considerable shortages for the whole academic year. “There will be no Nike [apparel] this year, I’m sorry to say,” Mrs. Yager said. “I’m really hopeful things will improve in the next school year.”

In an institution as large as Deerfield, basic supplies can run out rapidly. For instance, a couple of printers in the Kendall ran out of toner last month. Library Director Mr. Marshall Carroll explained, “We currently have a reserve of supplies, but may have an issue if we cannot get more.” Lounge chairs for the Library’s Teaching and Learning room also arrived three months later than expected. Mr. Carroll attributed this to the worldwide scarcity of oil, which is the key ingredient in foam. “With the cut in oil, you have gas prices rising. You don’t necessarily think you need oil to make couches,” he added. 

Deerfield’s shortages are relatively mild, according to Mr. Howe. “We have a lot of people in this department to make sure that we are making these extra calls, and they have done a good job of anticipating a lot of these issues beforehand,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not affecting us, we’re just lucky to have the resources to keep things pretty normal.”