By Dave Carlin

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The holidays are not here yet, but some people are already starting to stock up on gifts.

That’s because shortages are already starting to show up across the supply chain.

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Shopper Nicole Jimenez, of Harlem, browsed a toy aisle, seeing some empty shelves that could be the result of COVID-related problems with supply chain.

With the holidays coming up, she wants to be safe, not sorry.

“If there’s a lot of people going to order maybe the same things all at the same time, it might not get there on time. You might not have a gift for that person,” she said.

“So what are you gonna do?” CBS2’s Dave Carlin asked.

“I’ll probably start shopping early,” Jimenez said.

John Soroka, who owns the Delphinium Home gift shop in Hell’s Kitchen, says the shortages are real, and he’s being proactive.

“We are trying to work around that. I am trying to order earlier. I’m trying to order the things that I love to have in my store, but I can’t get everything,” Soroka said.

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The pandemic continues to disrupt workflow, from factories to stores, and transportation remains a big ongoing problem.

A record-breaking cargo surge pushing up the prices of ocean shipping is part of it, plus some difficulties hiring truck drivers.

This impacts a wide range of industries: from automotive to computer to groceries.

John Catsimatidis owns the Gristedes and D’Agostino supermarket chains and the Red Apple Group.

“We are short products. We are short Coca-Cola products … Coca-Cola is short truck drivers,” he said. “They’ll get a delivery, but it’s not consistent, and we’re constantly out of stock.”

Don’t rely on late season sales and discounts, says supply chain expert Siobhan Gorman of the Brunswick Group.

“I’m not sure I would count on sales to be the ticket,” she said. “If you have something specific you’re looking for, I would bite in advance because you never know if the price is actually going to go up.”

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She says shop smart by shopping early.

Dave Carlin