SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Keeping shelves stocked is a major challenge for stores across the country. One economist calls this supply chain issue a traffic jam at the ports.

“It can’t work through the rest of the chain to get to your local CVS or Stop N Shop,” John Rosen, adjunct economic professor at UNH.

Tops Marketplace in Southington is another place.

“As you know, there’s many cargo ships right outside the coast of California, so many so that their days and weeks behind from unloading,” Janalynne Gius, manager of Tops Marketplace.

The significant delays impact a warehouse in Cheshire responsible for making Gius’ deliveries. A lack of workers at the plant due to COVID-19 is also creating sticker shock at the register.

“When you have shortages, you have high demand, you have inflation,” Guis said.

The inflation rate now stands at 7% — the highest in 40 years, and if that continues,

“It will be very hard for everyday working people to keep up,” Guis said. “Does your salary go up every year by 7%? It’s affecting our customers. I have never seen such a large increase.”

“If something’s not there, I can find something else to replace it,” Deborah Murphy said.

Customers and store owners are making the adjustments, but are also looking for relief.

“It’s going to continue for several months, possibly the whole year.”

As a way to help customers through this period, Tops is offering customers 10% off a $50 purchase, but you need a coupon that’s good from Jan. 28 thru Feb. 3.