“When it comes to the current state of the global supply chain, weakness is everywhere. Massive dislocations are present in the container market, shipping routes, ports, air cargo, trucking lines, railways and even warehouses. The result has created shortages of key manufacturing components, order backlogs, delivery delays and a spike in transportation costs and consumer prices.” — Forbes
The top level of an enormous warehouse. Day. I am standing in front of a foreman who’s holding a clipboard with my résumé. It’s half a page long and in Papyrus font. He squints in distaste.
FOREMAN: I see that you have checked the box for “Unforgivable Crime.” Were you the one who blocked the Suez Canal back in March?
ME (hangs head): Yes.
FOREMAN: So much for letting you drive the forklift.
He rolls his eyes, hands me a canvas apron, and walks me over to an enormous conveyer belt.
FOREMAN: This is the Global Supply Chain. It’s where all the packages go. You scan the barcodes as they go through. A monkey could do it.
ME: Yes, sir. I will be like the monkey, sir.
FOREMAN: Good. Don’t screw it up.
He turns The Big Crank. The conveyer belt hums to life and begins bringing me an endless procession of All the Packages in the World.
ME: Wow, so that’s where they come from.
I scan their barcodes with my little scanner gun. Beep! Beep! This is kind of fun! Suddenly, my pocket buzzes. It’s a text from my father.
DAD: Congrats on getting out of Boat Jail. Good luck with the new job. I’m sure you’ll do fine and not bring shame to our family.
As I slip my phone back into my pocket, I realize that I missed a package! I chase it down the conveyer belt.
FOREMAN (appearing from nowhere): Is there a problem?
ME: Nope!!! Everything is extremely fine!!!!!!!
In my haste to grab the box, I knock it from the belt. Behind me, other packages are piling up and beginning to fall.
ME: Oh no.
As they spin through the air, billions of shipping crates burst open and spew their contents. Gold bars! Navel oranges! Packs of tube socks! Hardback books!
ME: Wait! Come back! I have to scan you!
Somehow, the floor of the factory has become the open ocean? The world’s consumer goods tumble into the waves and sink out of sight.
FOREMAN (enraged): How did this happen?? Why is the ocean in here?? And why have container prices risen by 134 percent?
ME: Ummmm… I…
FOREMAN (sighs): No. It’s my fault for having expectations of you. You must answer to the public.
He pulls an inflatable lifeboat from his pocket and rows away. The factory walls retract, revealing mobs of people from around the world, holding pitchforks and tracking slips.
THE MOB OF UNTOLD MILLIONS: WHERE ARE OUR PACKAGES?
White-faced, I point one trembling finger toward the ocean.
THE MOB: WE WERE PROMISED “TWO-DAY SHIPPING.” NOT “BOTTOM OF OCEAN.” WE ARE DEVASTATED, AND SO IS THE ECONOMY. WHERE ARE OUR REFUNDS???
I turn out my apron pockets. Out flies a single moth and a scroll that says BANKRUPT in Papyrus font. The entire world groans.
THE MOB: BRING HER BEFORE THE JUDGE.
A giant crystal ball descends from the heavens and floats above us. A face emerges from its cloudy depths. It’s… Santa?
SANTA: Ingrate, you stand accused of disrupting the backbone of the global trade, causing unprecedented port congestion, and, ergo, ruining Christmas.
ME: But I thought you delivered the packages?
SANTA (facepalms): …Jesus. Read a book.
THE MOB: DEATH! DEATH! REFUND OR DEATH!
SANTA: How do you plead? Guilty or Very, Very Guilty?
ME: Very, very guilty.
SANTA: So be it. The penalty for Package Crime is death.
ME: …Honestly, at this point, I’m okay with that.
As the crowd chants for my blood to be upon me, Santa claps his hands. A giant scaffold rises from the ocean, glittering with salt and righteousness. As I am carried toward it on the shoulders of elves dressed in sackcloth, my pocket buzzes. It’s my father again.
DAD: So, how’s work?