I’ve read about possible helium shortages for years, but this is the first time I’ve heard of actual impact.
Helium is a strategically important element used in MRI machines and scientific experiments. It’s so light, that if you don’t store it in a cylinder, it escapes into outer space.
Making it (transmutation) is too expensive for commercial use, so it has to be captured from decay. Hence using it in party balloons is short-sighted.
Interesting that balloon purchases make Party City Amazon-proof. 🙂
Dollar Tree also does a roaring business in the Bay Area for birthday party balloons.