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Discontinuation of “Grab Bags” in LEGO Brand Retail


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#26 Zeya

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:01 AM

He mentioned legislation. I wonder if this has to do with the law here in the US where they have to print the number of pieces on the box. If it's not that, hopefully they can clarify what legislation is the problem, so I can track down who not to vote for this election season. (I'm 96% joking about that.)

#27 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:53 AM

 Zeya, on 02 October 2012 - 01:01 AM, said:

He mentioned legislation. I wonder if this has to do with the law here in the US where they have to print the number of pieces on the box. If it's not that, hopefully they can clarify what legislation is the problem, so I can track down who not to vote for this election season. (I'm 96% joking about that.)

Is that an issue? I'm aware the non-US packages don't generally include the piece counts, but the Minifigures also lack piece counts, even here (naturally, as the piece count for one of these sets will vary depending upon what specific figure it is). How could they do the Minifigures without piece counts while being unable to do grab bags?

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I must admit I'm disappointed. I never got a grab bag; I don't think I've ever seen one in a LEGO store to begin with. That might have something to do with the fact the one I get to visit most frequently is the Downtown Disney, Orlando one, which is always insanely crowded and anything "special" like that would probably get scooped up within moments of hitting a shelf, but I don't remember seeing any at the couple of other LEGO Stores I've ever been to, either. Oh, well.

#28 NiceMarmot

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:52 AM

Well, that's a bummer. I liked grab bags. Never knew what you were going to get, and sometimes you really got some great stuff, including pieces you never knew existed. One time I bought two or three bags that must have had most of a Town Hall display set in them. Just last week we got a grab bag with about half an Orc Forge set in it, including some orc minifigs!  Broken down display sets and returns were the best grab bags, but recently they seem to be mostly populated with leftovers from the PAB wall. Well, jeez, if I wanted stuff from the PAB wall, I'd have gotten a PAB cup.  That said though, grab bags in general were great, and probably the cheapest you can get LEGO outside of a garage sale. Grab bags, RIP.
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#29 501st Commando

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:14 PM

That's sad to hear. :sad:   I loved buying grab bags, almost more than PaB. There were so many great finds, such as exclusive Lego Land Florida bricks and parts of the Tower Bridge. Even though I'll miss the grab bags I'm sure Lego will come up with another great idea that will get us AFOLs to spend our money.  :grin:

#30 TheWarden

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 02:57 AM

Sadness. I love grab bags.

I saw a grab bag with a neat windscreen in it once, but I couldn't place it. Turns out as I reasearched the next day, that it was a Millenium Falcom top part of the windscreen! I should have gone back and bought it, really...

Here's hoping they can come back in some form...
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#31 Faefrost

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:28 PM

Did this also effect the sales of damaged or open box deals at the Lego stores? I just noticed my local store has done away with my beloved damaged box discount table
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#32 The Blue Brick

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:35 PM

These will be missed by me also. They were such a bargain for me. I've gotten parts from Superhero sets, Grand Emporium, and the Maersk train. Also, most of the other bricks were of random, but such a good deal. :cry_sad:
Hopefully, they will come up with a better solution that will still please us. :wink:

#33 Ludzik

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:28 PM

From what I hear (and partially see in the stores now) bigger pieces that would have made it to the grab bags end up on the "play table" and the smaller parts are supposed to be shipped back internally :(  This is really sad because grab bags for me were a great source of building material.  

I got plenty of car bottom pieces, cockpits, some minifigs (those were never supposed to be in grab bags, but through the years I got probably close to 200 minifigs), rollup doors and tracks, plenty various doors and windows, general building blocks, wheel wells, wing pieces (the angled plates) and part of a dinosaur ;)

#34 RaincloudDustbin

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:35 PM

I think it will be that a band-aid or plaster was found inside one of the bags...
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#35 DrJB

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:19 PM

For those who do not know what those are ... it is very simple. All Lego stores often display built-up models of their latest sets. When that set is retired, the display model is broken into parts, mixed with other sets, and 'grab' bags are filled with such loose parts. Those bags used to sell for $7.99 in the US and few times I've gotten a pretty good parts assortment. The sad part is, I no longer see those grab bags and was told (by the store manager) that they no longer do this. Apparently, now the stores are required to send all broken-up display models back to Lego Headquarters.

1. Is this true, or is it more likely that the store employees get a first dib at it?
2. Are there grab bags still available at your local Lego store?
3. I still see grab bags now and then, but they are from all those parts that kids picked up from the pick-a-brick bins and got mixed up.

I had my eye on an 8043 a while back ... never materialized.

Edited by DrJB, 01 November 2013 - 09:09 PM.


#36 Horace T

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:25 PM

That's interesting. I'm yet to see that set up in a lego store (only visited two in the UK. I have a local store close by now). My local store sells power functions parts, except the new servo, which is good. I did not ask about the new L motor but will look on my next visit. I take it these grab bags were technic parts. I wish they would sell technic parts, I would be in the stores every week.

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Edited by Horace T, 01 November 2013 - 06:25 PM.


#37 Blakbird

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:24 PM

It is true.  This came up in a presentation at BrickCon.  Apparently any parts that have been unboxed and touched by humans and are therefore "out of their control" cannot be sold.  This is presumably for liability reasons since the parts could be contaminated and kids put them in their mouths.  This is also true of any pick-a-brick parts that fall on the floor.  They are all gathered up and disposed of at the end of the day.

I hate liability.
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#38 skppo

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:29 PM

 Blakbird, on 01 November 2013 - 07:24 PM, said:

I hate liability.

Especially ones that can't be just signed away when they should.
All those poor parts that never get loved :cry2:

#39 dr_spock

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:53 PM

There is a topic on this last year in the Embassy forum ->  http://www.eurobrick...grab bags&st=0

#40 Blakbird

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:06 PM

I'm moving this topic to "General Discussion" since it has nothing to do with Technic or Model Team.
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#41 Infernum

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:32 PM

Yeah, the store near me said they just send the pieces to the Orlando store now. :hmpf_bad:
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#42 Lego Otaku

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 02:23 AM

It's been a year since I saw them last.  Made me sad because the last time I actually got the bag, I grabbed a few including two with L motor and another with a remote controller plus a whole lotta yellow technic parts.  I'm guessing a set 8043 somehow got blown up.

A few weeks later when I checked, the usual spot didn't have any grab bag so I asked, they said no more. :thumbdown:  They could have made the bag available only for adult use?  Oh well, they are losing money throwing away pieces while we have to turn to another source like bricklink for certain part or 2.

#43 Fugazi

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:06 AM

 dr_spock, on 01 November 2013 - 08:53 PM, said:

There is a topic on this last year in the Embassy forum ->  http://www.eurobrick....grab bags&st=0
Thank you, this will be merged shortly. Please carry on the conversation in the aforementioned topic in the Embassy. :classic:
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#44 Aanchir

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:21 PM

The issue with the grab bags is that the only reason they existed in the first place was to make back a fraction of the value of parts that couldn't be sold through their intended channels. From the outset, the LEGO Group would benefit more from reducing the issues that caused parts to be put into grab bags (damaged boxes, spilled Pick-A-Brick parts, etc.) than from trying to compensate in some small way for the consequences of those issues.

Furthermore, while grab bags could offer great bargains on certain pieces, the truth is that they were NOT the epitome of quality. I often spotted grab bag contents such as gold treasure chests without lids and gold treasure chest lids without chests. Pick-A-Brick parts are often more mundane than what you might find in the grab bags, but there's a reason for that: the average buyer might not have any idea what to do with more specialized parts, whereas basic parts are simple and intuitive. This is especially true of parts that aren't even from the same building system, like getting a couple Hero Factory shells or Technic half-beams without the context of a Hero Factory or Technic set to instruct kids on their proper use. So for a lot of kids, the grab bags would offer an inferior play experience. That's not even getting into possible contamination issues or other quality issues.

All in all, while getting a good grab bag haul could feel like winning the lottery, I don't think it's any surprise that the LEGO Group wants to be done with them.

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#45 Cara

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:55 AM

I understand the effect of inferior grab bags, we once bought two that had large amounts of hero factory masks and that little H piece that goes on the armor. Not a good play experience for my kids. However this was the exception. On the whole grabs bags were really exciting. Its a shame those pieces cant be added to a spare bin on the brick wall instead.
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#46 B-Lister

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:40 AM

There should be an industrial steam washer in the back of every Lego store, and any loose stock should need to be steamed weekly.

That'd take care of any worries.
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#47 Ludzik

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:34 PM

 Cara, on 08 November 2013 - 04:55 AM, said:

I understand the effect of inferior grab bags, we once bought two that had large amounts of hero factory masks and that little H piece that goes on the armor. Not a good play experience for my kids. However this was the exception. On the whole grabs bags were really exciting. Its a shame those pieces cant be added to a spare bin on the brick wall instead.
Here's the deal though - I carefully examined every bag before I grabbed it (pun intended!).  I had some loose rules as to what made a bag worthy of purchase.  I have seen though folks come in and grab them indiscriminately.  At the end of the day you get what you pay for and the amount of effort exerted into choosing a bag was a big part of that payment.  My wife would get sometimes kind of impatient with me as some stores we came across would have dozens of bags and I'd spend couple minutes examining each one.  At other times she'd join the fun and she actually got pretty good when it came to selecting good bags.  
Having examined a lot of bags I can see where some disappointment would come from - sometimes the bags were worthless - and those I'd leave behind.  Sometimes the bags were amazing (I scored 120 minifigs + extra minifig parts one time from 3 bags).  I never was disappointed though with the ones I took home.

#48 Faefrost

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 03:56 AM

I heard a rumor of one of the real reasons that they discontinued the grab bags. It wasn't really the reselling of possibly used product such as from returns. Apparently it could be too easily exploited at the store level for merchandise loss and internal theft, and they had a lot of problems. or at least enough that it forced them to stop the grab bags. Basically the bags were being filled from badly damaged box sets or opened store returns. A few clever employees figured this out and set up a process to deliberately badly damage sets and part them out into the bags at a deep discount.

You will also notice that not all stores have "damaged box" tables anymore. Damaged boxes now go back to the distribution hub where they are bundled up, inventoried and then sent as a block to the stores that offer the damaged box clearance. So the stores do not sell off their own damaged goods any more.

Edited by Faefrost, 27 February 2014 - 03:59 AM.

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#49 B-Lister

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 06:55 AM

Now that makes more sense than some of the other theories being presented.
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