While some people think of helium as being a never-ending source of floating balloons and chipmunk voices, the relatively warm winter of 2012 has apparently resulted in a nationwide helium shortage that could leave summer weddings and parties with fewer floating decorations than people had hoped for.
CBS New York reports that some stores that supply helium party balloons have had to place limits on how many balloons customers can buy. Other stores are advising customers that their balloons might be under-filled or that some of the balloons may just be filled with air.
“We are definitely in a crisis mode now regarding helium supply and our ability to obtain helium,” says a rep for a helium supply company that has stopped taking on new customers until the shortage ends. “We’ve taken austerity measures and we’ve put people on allocation. Certainly for the most critical needs we need service, some helium is better than no helium.”
It’s expected that our national helium crisis could end by late July, though most of us would have finished celebrating Independence Day (the holiday, not the Will Smith movie) by that point.
But lest you think this is an omen of bad things to come for the party decoration business, remember that we did survive a similar global helium shortage back in 2006.