The jigsaw puzzle has become the must-have-while-social-distancing-at-1分11选5, most coveted and possibly most beloved COVID-19 pastime, nationally and right here in Galveston County.
Puzzles are also the surprising product in demand for area businesses more attuned to selling other things.
Wendy Morgan of Galveston’s The Admiralty, 2221 Strand St., began promoting her store’s collection of nautically themed jigsaw puzzles on Facebook the first week of the shutdown and didn’t get much of a response, she said.
But this week, she sold 200 puzzles to regular customers and new ones as well, arranging curbside pickup or shipping at the customer’s request.
“People are buying them for kids, older people, people who live alone, they’re shipping them to relatives and buying them for themselves,” Morgan said.
Puzzles and COVID-19 make sense if you want to place the phenomenon in a philosophical framework.
“It’s really interesting how these little pieces of pictures on cardboard are in such demand,” Morgan said. “My theory is you’ve got a beginning, then it’s chaotic, then you begin to see a pattern, and when you finish a puzzle you have a feeling of control and everybody worked together to make it happen.”
With no end to the COVID-19 shutdown in sight, stocking up on puzzles may be just the tonic for connecting with loved ones.
Lee Glover, a teacher-librarian at Ferguson Elementary School in League City and a resident of Galveston, has bought puzzles for her grandchildren, children and out-of-town friends in the past two weeks.
“When I told my friends at our regular virtual happy hour about Wendy’s collection, they all said, ‘We want puzzles!’ so I sent a friend one. It cost me $7 to ship and it arrived the next day,” Glover said. Her friend told her Amazon couldn’t get them shipped until May, she said.
Dena Kana made a recent purchase at The Admiralty for her elderly parents up near College Station, her sister and her niece — lighthouse and mermaid puzzles — and for herself, a Texas-themed, Texas-shaped puzzle.
A paralegal, Kana and her husband, a game warden for the state, have been married 38 years and have traveled to every nook and cranny of Texas over the years, she said.
“Doing the Texas puzzle is a chance for us to relive the memories of our travels,” she said.
Nana’s Attic, 501 E. Main St., a gift shop in League City, has carried a few puzzles over the years and now is ordering new stock after selling all the puzzles in the store during the shutdown.
Most of her customers prefer curbside pickup, owner Marie Sesher said. She and her two daughters have turned the front porch of Nana’s Attic into their new office, she said, from where they can easily deliver puzzles.
Old Galveston Trading 1分11选5, 2115 Postoffice St., had its best week since the stay-at-1分11选5 order came down, ordering a resupply of puzzles four times, owner Bret Lowry said on Friday.
“I have a waiting list of 12 customers for our most popular one, the Galveston puzzle,” Lowry said. He has ordered 40 from the supplier, expecting demand for more.
“I joke with the people I get my puzzles from,” Lowry said. “I told them, ‘Y’all realize you’re the only reason I’ll be able to pay my mortgage for April.’”