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Same problem a year later: Video game and appliance stores impacted by chip shortage

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Posted at 9:30 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 23:21:22-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The phone at Retro-Taku Videogames goes off often with similar questions.

“Retro-Taku Videogames how may I help you?" general manager John Bennett said as he answered the phone.

On the other end of the dial are customers looking for specific games and accessories at the Madison Heights video games store on West 11 Mile Road.

“We have not been able to get PlayStation 4 controllers for about six months if not more. That is probably the hardest thing to get," Bennett said.

The global microchip shortage has been to blame.

“There are a lot of people who are like, ‘It’s the same excuse as a year ago.’ Yeah, it’s the same problem as a year ago," he said.

Bennett isn't the only one having to explain the ongoing problem to his customers; the chip shortage is backing up orders at Specialties Showroom in Berkley.

“No one anticipated even in our industry right away that it was going to last two years and then some," said Ken Goss, the president of the kitchen and bath appliance store.

A lot of newer model appliances require a computer chip.

“There are electronics in refrigerators, things are Wi-Fi enabled like ovens and ranges, washers and dryers," Goss said.

People have been waiting for washers, dryers and refrigerators for about a year.

“If we order some refrigerators now, they won't be here till December," he said.

Global supply chain management professor at Wayne State University School of Business Kevin Ketels says that timeline sounds about right.

“To be honest, we think that over the next year it should start to flatten out and we will be able to catch up to demand, but it's hard to say," Ketels said.

Right now, he says there are several things being done to tackle the shortage. The President Joe Biden administration is trying to get Congress to OK a bill.

"That would help provide incentives for companies to invest in chip building in the United States, but that won't happen for a few years if the bill passes," Ketels said.

He says tech companies are also doing their part.

“The other piece of news is that Intel has invested about $20 billion in building a new chip production facility in Ohio, but that also won't come for a few years as well," he said.

There are some things consumers can do now to avoid a potential wait on a new fridge or stovetop.

“Just do things through maintenance that will help prolong the life of your appliances," Goss said.

He says simple things like regular cleaning including the filter and compressor in the fridge can help maintain your current appliances.