In this supply chain crisis, DeLoach said toy manufacturers and suppliers are prioritizing smaller toys as they can fit more on their shipping containers.

HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM)-- Supply chain backlog has had a stranglehold on many of the nation’s consumer imports for months.

Western Mass News went shopping for some popular products and spoke with retail experts.

Here’s what he found.

“The new XBox out last year, new Playstation out last year, still difficult to find,” said Kristin McGrath, editor of RetailMeNot.

McGrath was right about gaming consoles.

Signs that read "no Xbox or PlayStations in store" greet you at the Best Buy in Holyoke.

We double-checked. And yes, inside shelves were empty.

The same sight at Walmart in Chicopee.

“Nintendo coming out with a new version of the switch, and the regular switch remains popular!” explains McGrath.

Both stores were out of switches, too, but we did see a handful of Oculus V/R Headsets.

Charlene DeLoach with The Toy Insider came up with a mnemonic to navigate this particularly tricky Holiday shopping season. She said to think SHOP

S for small. From businesses, if any still exist in your area for toys, to departments, DeLoach said you’ll typically find a better selection of what’s known as “building toys”. Think LEGOs and puzzles.

“Barnes and noble, book store, but they typically have a great small toy department in the back.”

We went to Barnes and Noble in Holyoke and found plenty of LEGOs, like she said.

And though supplies were running thin, at Target we did find Duplo LEGO sets for younger kids, plus Marvel and DC for anyone a bit older. Both top-rated by The Toy Insider.

We also found Kodak puzzles, which DeLoach puts high on her best building toys list.

H stands for Hot.

“You're going to want to buy it now...Like collectible plush, Squishmallows, huge in demand,” explained DeLoach

Target had a fleet of one of the hottest brands around, LOL Surprise. Even a couple of top-selling four-foot by four-foot dollhouses.

“Kids are really loving it,” said DeLoach.

O is for Opportunity, and it means to buy big now.

In this supply chain crisis, DeLoach said toy manufacturers and suppliers are prioritizing smaller toys as they can fit more on their shipping containers.

“Something like this Star Wars Tamagotchi, for example, there's more of them than say this particular toy, which is really big. Moji the Lovable Labradoodle,” explained DeLoach.

Western Mass News checked, we couldn't find Moji the Lovable Labradoodle in store.

“There's not going to be as much stock. They might only be in stores, not being shipped. If something like this is on the wish list, grab it right now,” said DeLoach.

Lastly, P is for Plan. DeLoach said have alternatives.

"There are great online subscriptions for kids. Age of learning with ABC Mouse...Nintendo, for example, has the digital version of their hard copy game. If you can't find the hard copy you can get digital.”

Back at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy we found a healthy supply of games.

Even the Toy Insider’s highly sought-after Warioware for Switch.

DeLoach said don’t forget gift cards as well.

“Cause toys are always hitting the store shelves and there will be something new they can look forward to as well,” said DeLoach.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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