|A Christmas Tree Grows in Honolulu…sort of.|
|Subject||Christmas tree shortage in Honolulu|
|Topic||Equilibrium, Supply and Demand|
Christmas, trees, shortage, surplus, price, supply, demand.
A shortage of Christmas trees arose in Hawaii this past season, owing mostly to a significant excess supply in 2003. Tree sellers reacted by buying fewer trees than previously, and consumers were stuck.
Hawaiians take very seriously their Christmas season, buying lights, trees and ornaments. Many people were desperate to get a tree when they couldn’t find one in Honolulu. Artificial tree sellers sold out immediately. LL Bean began shipping trees overnight to consumers, and quickly sold out of their stock. An Oregon company shipped trees to the islands for $225 each, about 4 times more than islanders are used to paying for their Christmas spirit. But then people got desperate; one vendor tried to sell tree stumps with branches attached to them for the bargain price of $10 each. And one family was going to hang its ornaments on a spiral of lights bought at the local hardware store.
And some people got entrepreneurial: One auto mechanic had 60 trees flown in from California on a weekend, advertised the presence of the trees in newspapers and from a sign outside his garage. Charging between $50 and $100, he did pretty well: By Tuesday, only seven were left.
Michele Kayal. “With Christmas Trees in Short Supply, Hawaiians Improvise.” The New York Times. 24 December 2004. http://www.nytimes.com
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