Your puzzle arrives. You remove the sleeve, open the box, and breathe in that new puzzle aroma, ahhhhhhh. You move to your puzzle assembly area, gently remove the bag with the pieces, carefully open the bag and then, ever so gently, like a skilled surgeon, pour the puzzle tiles out. Then you begin the build. Piece by piece, "nubbins" into "tucks," a beautiful image emerges before you. For hours you pour over the work touching each piece multiple times until you have a few final open spaces filled, one by one, with the remaining… tiles… AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGH!!! There is a missing piece!
Despite your love and care, how can you be so thanklessly treated? It truly is a frustrating moment. The realization is typically followed by a frantic search around your work area, as well as some intense soul searching. We use state of the art methods and do all in our power to see that every puzzle is complete, but, on occasion, a piece goes missing. More often than not, the culprit is a rouge puzzle piece that has decided to go on an adventure. Here are the top 10 places to find missing pieces.
1-Hiding in the box or on the table: when the missing piece is first detected, do not jump up. Take a deep breath and look around the work service. Puzzle tiles can hide under the actual puzzle or the puzzle tray; they have been found in the box or bag or under and behind items in the work area. Check the surface area and obstacles first.
2- In pockets, folds, cuffs, and creases: so you have searched the work surface area, and it is not there. Moving as little a possible, clear an area around you. Now stand up so that if the puzzle piece is on your clothing, it will fall to the floor. Straighten out your shirt and pants, gently shaking them. Did it drop? If not, then start from your shoulders down, checking pockets, creases, and cuffs to the floor. I recommend doing this every time you take a break in building your puzzle.
3- Under table or chair legs: sometimes, the puzzle piece makes a break and jumps to the floor. Unbeknownst to the puzzler, shuffling feet can propel the piece under legs and stands. Once under a chair leg, it is not unusual for the piece to stick to the leg's underside. Make sure to look under them
4- Under cushions: we say "under cushions." What we mean is between, behind, on top of, on the seatback, and under the cushions. Puzzle pieces have a way of wriggling into furniture like slivers in your thumb, and just as annoying.
5- Under baseboards or doors: a gust of wind, a quick startle, or a pesty poltergeist can propel a puzzle piece across a room, under a door, or even under the bottom of a baseboard. Brooms and sweepers can do this too, but they are much less paranormal and not as fun to discuss.
6- The Dog ate it, no seriously: if you have a canine (and honestly this should include feline) helper who likes to be by your side and sees you playing with the pieces, they often want to as well. Maybe it is not chewed up yet. Check their favorite places to lay and play. Look around food bowls and areas they like to rest. You would be surprised how often we hear of a pet being the missing piece culprit.
7 – The Baby (child) ate it: maybe they spend too much time with the dog, but young ones are interested in the activity also and well, you guessed it. If the child got their hands on the piece, then it is probably a goner. They can maul the chipboard into pulp faster than building a 50 piece puzzle.
8- In a drain: don't know how: Don't want to know how but we have had puzzle pieces show up in all sorts of drains in sinks, showers, tubs, and floor drains—worth a quick check.
9- In floor vents: refer to number 5 for reasons, but we have had multiple customers find their puzzle pieces in the ducts behind the vents when they are doing Spring or Fall cleaning.
10- In a dimensional warp or portal somewhere in your residence: we cannot help you here. We suggest consulting Ender Wiggin, Gandalf the Gray, or Dr. Who. Best of luck.
Bonus- Is there, by chance, in your circle of influence a demented soul that would take a puzzle tile to put in the last piece, after all your hard work. Yeah, you know the type. We don't want to cause any drama, but it happens, just saying…
So you have gone the rounds and nothing, no puzzle piece, bubkiss! What now? Well if it is a Dowdle Puzzle, go to our website and fill out a “No Missing Pieces” request form and we will help you out. Nice to have friends in the right place, am I correct? We go to extraordinary lengths to make sure the puzzles are complete but things can sometimes happen. And remember, we are all a puzzle pieces, a part of the whole, and it takes all of us to make this world what it can be. Thank you.