Would you buy me a Beer…?

…well, perhaps not, since I don’t do drugs and alcohol. But maybe you feel like spending that money on sponsoring some content for this site that you would like to see here. Not meaning to beg for scraps, but as you know I’m on a limited budget and while I try to make things work as much as possible, some things are simply beyond my financial capabilities.

Every bit helps, be that those LEGO VIP points you just don’t know what to do with, some Amazon vouchers, that set you got as present and don’t want, something you bought and disliked halfway through and so on. Whatever you have. And no, I don’t plan on setting up an extra Patreon or something of the sort simply because I don’t want to make my life more complicated by feeling pressured by supporters or all that financial kerfuffle.

To make it clearer how I roll I have once more updated my Wishlist as I will no doubt have to do several times this year again. Oh how I wish LEGO would not drip-feed their super-secret info on new releases. *sigh* It’s not sorted in any form by priority, just by the set numbers. If you spot something you can help out with, feel free to leave a comment on the page, contact me via the info provided in the Impressum or by sending me a personal message on whatever forums you bump into hers truly… ­čÖé Thanks for all the support! Let’s make this year a good one!

Double Death – Brickheadz and the new VIP System

The new LEGO VIP points system went life with zero warning and little info (I’m still waiting to receive the official e-mail announcement even *lol*) and to call it a debacle would be doing favors. How could anything go so wrong?

Individual people (temporarily) losing their accumulated VIP points is to be expected and a common issue in systems when going from one metric to another. It’s regrettable, but seems unavoidable. Lucky enough it’s something that support by phone appears to be able to fix. Personally I perhaps should count my blessings and not complain since it did go without a hitch on my few measly points, but then again the count being so low I wouldn’t have missed out on much. what’s more┬á critical however is how you are supposed to use those points and that’s where it gets interesting.

I don’t know what kind of people work at LEGO, but calling the new method an utter brain fart would again be a kindness just for the sake of using even stringer language. It really sucks – you’re supposed to trade in your points for some abstract voucher code and only then you can apply it to your purchase, a process which for the time is limited to applying exactly one code for each order only. As a result, there’s a lot of stories where people did tens of separate orders just to be able to apply their codes.

Worse still, the same method applies for physical purchases in a LEGO store as well. no longer spontaneously trading in points on the fly from your account. Instead you are supposed to generate a code and take it to the store. Who does that? When I was at the official LEGO store in Leipzig yesterday as part of making the rounds with my endless medical appointments, I overheard a conversation with another customer and an employee explaining the situation and the guy was seriously gutted.

Whoever concocted this convoluted procedure needs to be fired – seriously. It’s definitely not what I wanted when filling out those VIP surveys and I’m pretty sure even the most hardened long-time fans didn’t want it this way, either. It’s just ridiculous. I never was much of a a VIP user due to my financial restrictions making it difficult to buy LEGO stuff at full price in their stores, let alone expensive exclusive sets, but as it is, now there is even less incentive to do so. The exact opposite of what they intended. It’s simply not worth putting up with this crap.

On that note: In the same conversation, and directly feeding into my argument about stuff to buy at the brand stores was another very disappointing bit of news: Brickheadz are no longer sold directly in those stores. Here in Germany this basically means that this series is dead as a) a lot of those sets were LEGO-exclusive to begin with and b) many of the non-exclusive sets were never widely available at other retailers, making it nigh on impossible to get even some of the more trivial stuff like seasonal sets.

LEGO‘s new strategy seems to be to selectively distribute them as thematic tie-ins with specific partners for very short periods only and keep them rare. This ultimately makes it utterly pointless to even go chasing them as prices will explode quickly to collector levels even for the most mundane of sets. It’s really laughable insofar as they have gone from one extreme to another – first flooding the market with too many sets and now making them extremely scarce. Neither to me seem a viable strategy to keep this sub-brand alive. You know, that old gag of pissing off fans no matter what you do.

I also don’t get the financial logic behind it. Some Brickheadz may not have sold like sliced bread and some only ever were relevant and interesting with discounts, but others were real burners selling out quickly even at full price at the brand stores. Why would you lose that, given that it was a simple to maintain series with very likely a not so bad profit margin – almost prototypical, mostly identical construction every time with a predictable use of a limited set of parts and a nearly unlimited choice of subjects? You even could have done some Hidden Side figures with bright green hair. It’s really hard to comprehend.

So as you see this perhaps hasn’t been the best of weeks for LEGO in terms of how it affects the users and parts of their fan base. It’s not even that this is “they’ll fix it in the long run” stuff, more to the point they need to revert and revise their decisions right away…

Wishing upon a Brick

LEGO is not a cheap hobby and while I try to make do and keep current on the latest new stuff with what limited resources I have, I find myself way too often thinking “Wouldn’t it be nice to have this and that set, but who’s gonna pay for it?”. That’s why as a start I have added a dedicated LEGO shopping list for Amazon to the sidebar, so people can have a look at what drives my imagination.

The point of this is not necessarily that I expect people to buy me a free lunch and beg for it (though clearly I wouldn’t object to get something like Ninjago City as a present), but perhaps some of you have one such set floating about that you have no use for and are willing to part with it for a good price, throw some LEGO VIP points at me that you don’t use or simply want to bolster my purchases with LEGO or Amazon vouchers.

As they say: Every bit helps. Obviously, also the more options I have, the more likely it is that I can share cool stuff and ideas here from which everyone can benefit. Who knows, perhaps this little adventure will turn into a useful LEGO resource one of these days…