Day 6

Jigsaw puzzles among the latest must-have items for pandemic shoppers

About a month ago David Manga of Cobble Hill Puzzles noticed an upswing in the sale of jigsaw puzzles. Today the company is so overrun they've stopped selling puzzles online because they can't keep up.

'It's like puzzles are the new toilet paper,' says Cobble Hill Puzzles owner David Manga

This jigsaw puzzle of 'a sea of donuts' is Cobble Hill Puzzles' most popular item, according to owner David Manga. (Cobble Hill Puzzles)

With many people spending most, if not all of their time at home thanks to pandemic lockdowns, a lot of us may be learning new hobbies — or taking up old ones, like jigsaw puzzles.

David Manga, owner of Outset Media Games and the Cobble Hill Puzzle company based in Victoria, B.C., says puzzles have been flying off the virtual shelves of his online store.

"It's like puzzles are the new toilet paper," he told Day 6.

Manga says sales "jumped astronomically" about three weeks ago, suggesting to him that it's related to everyone staying home looking for things to while away the time.

But "on the flipside," he said, the manufacturing facility that actually makes the puzzles has also shut down because of the virus.

"So we have no puzzles coming in and lots and lots of puzzles going out."

Cobble Hill's website has temporarily stopped taking orders until the company is able to replenish its stock. Other puzzle manufacturers, including Ravensburger and Eurographics, have also had to suspend online sales.

Manga isn't surprised that people are turning to familiar hobbies like jigsaw puzzles right now.

David Manga says he was surprised that all types of puzzles have become fast sellers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Christmas and other seasonal sets. (Cobble Hill Puzzles)

"It's something that you can do on your own, away from a screen and it's a good way to pass time when you're locked in your house ... At the end of the day, it's something that people are familiar with, something that's comforting," he said.

"I hope people who do our puzzles will actually be able to relax a bit, and not worry about what's going on."

Written by Jonathan Ore. Interview produced by Laurie Allan.

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