GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – The last time Pat Fuge thought so much about shipping containers, he was in a completely different industry.
“When I was in service and logistics,” says the owner of Gnome games in northeast Wisconsin said. “Even then it was about: ‘How many are we going to leave behind? Where shall we get it from? ‘ It was never: ‘Are we going to get them?’ “
Now many of his games are shipped in those large metal containers that are hard to come by these days due to demand, delays in ports and rising freight costs.
“I don’t know exactly what we’ll have on our shelves on Black Friday because we know we have products to order, but we don’t know if they’re going to show up,” he said.
Games are part of an ever-changing list of consumer items that may or may not be in stock. Think toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic on bikes that may be out of stock for months.
Cathy Shiner was part of a group of people who recently learned chess at Gnome Games.
She never expected to see the words “board game” and “lack” in the same sentence.
“Our kids are big gamers, so we heard they were having trouble getting a few games,” she said. “They went to Gen Con in mid-September and it wasn’t the crowd they normally see.”
Fugue, who taught the chess session, said that even chess boards are sometimes in short supply.
He said there are parallels between chess and the global shipping situation.
“What will happen in three months, and trying to predict where the market will be … and what products we will have available,” said Fuge.