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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Open Letter to LEGO

Tristan holding his 2012 and 2 of the 2013 SDCC LEGO exclusive minifigures in front of a small portion of his favorite minifigures from LEGO
San Diego Lego Convention Center built by Tristan He builds one of these every year before Comic Con
Tristan and a small portion of his favorite LEGO minifigures (yes, he has tables, buckets and containers FULL of LEGO)

 To Whom It May Concern,

My son is 16 years old and is a HUGE LEGO fan. He eats, sleeps and breathes LEGO.

We have been attending SDCC for MANY years and this has to be the worst experience EVER with LEGO. I want to preface this by saying that the man in charge of the LEGO booth (whose name, unfortunately, I did not catch) was TOP NOTCH. He was professional and extremely kind. He went out of his way more than once to talk to us, greet us and was just an all around nice guy. I wish I had his name as I really would like to thank him for all of his hard work.

My son's #1 priority was all things LEGO at the convention. He missed several panels and events in an effort to try to obtain the exclusive (and elusive) superhero minifigures from both DC and Marvel.

The first day (Thurs) I took time away from panels that I wanted to attend to try my hand at the raffle for him. Keep in mind, again, that the only thing he wanted the LEGO for was his own personal collection. The booth was overwhelmed with people and the raffle was shut down. In that short time period, we did not move from the line. However, we witnessed folks who had gone through the line numerous times and were able to obtain more than one raffle ticket while my son and I (and many others) weren't even able to obtain ONE.

The next day he was able to enter the raffle and managed to win a figure. The third and fourth days he was unlucky and did not obtain a figure. Both his father and me took time out of our busy schedules to stand in lines both days for the raffles.

During this time, the news had spread that the figures were selling on ebay for hundreds (if not thousands-now-of dollars EACH.) We heard MANY MANY MANY folks saying that they were in line ONLY to win a figure TO SELL IT ON EBAY. It was VERY upsetting. I also heard several of the young LEGO booth workers telling folks how much the figures were going for on ebay WHILE telling us that they wanted to give out the figures only to children to promote LEGO.

My question is, why is LEGO catering to the scalpers? Last year, LEGO made 1,000 of each figure available. This year it was far, far, far less and a feeding frenzy ensued. I saw folks get into both physical fighting and shouting matches over these little pieces of plastic. I saw adults trying to bribe children to buy their figures from them. I saw tickets taken from people's hands. I also have seen the losing tickets going for a lot of money on ebay as well. I witnessed many things that really upset me during my time at the LEGO booth at SDCC.

My son played by the rules every day until Sunday when after having read multiple times that folks were being given more than one ticket, his desire to obtain a Green Arrow figure got the best of him. He got in line twice on Sunday and was not given a second ticket and *I* was scolded for his actions later on. Now, I am not happy with him having gotten in line twice but at the same time the way this was handled was extremely poorly.

My son wanted the figures for himself and not to resell. As I've stated above, he is a HUGE LEGO fan. All of his money goes towards buying LEGO. He makes LEGO stop motion films (under the name Legogalactus on youtube.) I can send you photos of his room with his collections. I have spent thousands of dollars on LEGO over the years for both my son as well as friends and family. I have always been a huge fan of what LEGO offers for children (as well as adults.)

This whole experience has left an extremely bad taste in my mouth.

Some ideas-

1. If Lego wants to give figures away to children at the convention to promote LEGO, why not give away figures that are not exclusive? Give away superheroes that are already made to children under a certain age. Megabloks and Kreo both do this and there was NO problem at their booths. Children (and parents) will appreciate it and there won't be a greedfest or feeding frenzy by scalpers at the booth.

2. We love exclusive minifigures but instead of doing what LEGO has done the last couple of years, why not package the figures up and sell them? Limit the figures to one set per person and scan or stamp the badges.

3. LEGO has the power to stop the ebay auctions both before and after the show. If you can do this, this kind of thing won't happen.


Mrs. Kelly Kilmer


Dawn said...

You go girl!! Beautifully written letter, I hope they are polite enough to reply/acknowledge it for you.
Hugs x

Aloquin said...

Wow... I had no idea. Your son looks like an amazing young man. You must be the bestest Mom on Earth to support his passion as you do. Albeit, you DO love the convention yourself ;), but many parents wouldn't be so respectful of their child's hobby, regardless of how FANTASTIC they are at it (and you son is TOP NOTCH!) It's a sad reality that many parents these days just don't get as involved with what their kids like... they're too busy with their own likes. My daughter is 2, and she LOVES art (I guess most 2 year olds do?) But I'm totally supporting her and feeding her fuel, so to speak. I sincerely hope that LEGO addresses your letter and takes seriously the suggestions that you proposed. I remember many, many years ago the fights that broke out around Christmas regarding Cabbage Patch Kids... remember that? SMH.

Kim Reed said...

I really enjoy your book recommendations! I bought the Journals of Dan Eldon and that is now one of my top 10 faves, so I've just added Vali Myers to my Amazon wish list. Keep 'em coming!

Sandi Meegan said...

I had no idea these figures went for so much. I just went to Ebay and there are bids ranging from $500-$1000. I really hope your letter crossed the right desk, because this is ridiculous. Hope you hear something positive back from them.

Cheryl said...

Your son makes very good movies. I see a future for him in stop animation film.

Sandy said...

Great letter. The San Diego Convention Center is amazing! He's so very talented. I love seeing these photos.

Anonymous said...

This lego crisis at SDComicon is a disgrace. How awful for all of you. The exclusives should be reserved for children and teens. Those scalpers need to go to hell. Hope LEGO is responsive to your spot on letter. Wrll done, Kelly. Will keep my fingers and toes crossed.

Anonymous said...

Awesome letter! I hope they see it and make some changes.

Cat said...

Sorry to be weighing in late, but I just got a chance to check your blog out at work and your letter to LEGO just hit a nerve for me. I'm sorry your family had to be put through that mess during what was supposed to be one of the highlights of your year. It's awesome that your family is so close and enjoy doing things like SDCC together. I don't know what the right answer is but I like what JulieAnn had to say!! Your letter was very well written and my fingers are crossed that it gets the attention it deserves!!