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PAB Cups: What Did You Get?

pick-a-brick pab

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#1 Eilif

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 03:02 AM

After reading the Pick A Brick strategy topic, and seeing that there is some interest in this topic I thought this would be an interesting study, and one deserving it's own thread.  This will be old hat for many of you, but for those of you who are just dumping pieces in a PAB cup, give a listen...

I just got back from the LEGO Store. Here's the cup I packed
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It's not packed as well as usual, you can see alot of spaces that could be filled with 1x1 plates, but I was in a bit of a hurry.
Let's open it up so you can see the tops of the various stacks, and how it all fits together.
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And here's the top. I always put something in the lid stud.  
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Now we dump out the cup.  The brick stack in my hand is the middle that I filled this cup around. This cup was a bit more challenging to pack since it wasn't comprised mostly of bricks.
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Taking this brick apart, we see just how much you can cram in a small space.  Yep, this is just from the stack that was in my hand in the previous picture!
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Here's the other stacks that were in the cup.  I had tiles crammed in between the branches and in every nook.
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And everything else that was in the cup and not shown in the previous two pictures.
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Here's the total of everything that was in the cup
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32 2x2 trans windows
60 1x4 grey bricks
2 1x4 black angled plates
1 12x4 black plate
30 2x2 round grey bricks
12 classic yellow flowers
15 flower stems
7 pink flower sprues
18 1x4x6 door frams
12 1x4x6  barred door insets
11 black latice fences
38 1x1 trans cones in various colors
49 1x1 trans light blue round plates
31 Large tree branches
42 small tree branches
146 1x4 reddish brown tiles

506 pieces in total

Not my best performance by a long shot, but not to shabby. Now for the point of this narrative.  Now to try and fill the cup as though we were just dropping pieces in at a store.   Separating the pieces, putting them in, periodically shaking the cup down hard to make them settle in, I filled the cup just to overflowing and the results are below.
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It all fits except:
25 big tree branches
42 small tree branches
1 4x10 black plate
11 1x4x6 door frames
32 2x2 trans clear windows

111 pieces that don't fit.  Over 20% less.  :sad:

I'm sure I could lower that figure a bit by substituting some pieces for others, but I think the result would be close to the same.  You can get around 20% more pieces per cup by packing.  It probably takes an average of 20 minutes for me to pack a cup. Is it worth it?  I've come to enjoy the challenge of packing a cup, but even if I didn't, I'd be willing to spend the time to get what is essentially free LEGO.

Edited by Fugazi, 05 February 2013 - 02:35 PM.

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#2 ILikePi

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:24 AM

Thanks for showing us a technique that you did in order to fit all those pieces.  :classic:  I bet if you just bought those pieces at the online PAB, it would cost around $50. I'll try to organize the pieces like this if I want to get a PAB cup next week (when I go to the LEGO Store near me).

EDIT: How much do the large PAB cups cost?

Edited by ILikePi, 11 April 2009 - 05:26 AM.

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#3 UserNameInvalid

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:28 AM

Nice demo!
Thanks.

Unfortunately in the UK the lids are behind the counter, so can pack much less in a tub.

Another example where we get ripped off in the UK.
:cry_sad:

Edited by UserNameInvalid, 11 April 2009 - 05:38 AM.


#4 ILikePi

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:31 AM

Oh, and I have another question. How do you get to the higher holes in the PAB wall? Do you have to ask a store worker to get a ladder, go in the back of the store, or do something else?

Edited by ILikePi, 11 April 2009 - 05:31 AM.

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#5 Peppermint_M

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 01:06 PM

View PostUserNameInvalid, on Apr 11 2009, 06:28 AM, said:

Nice demo!
Thanks.

Unfortunately in the UK the lids are behind the counter, so can pack much less in a tub.

Another example where we get ripped off in the UK.
:cry_sad:
If you can even get to a PAB wall. The only one I get is once a year in Legoland and they have bags (so I have to parctice restraint or I will be stuffing it full and spending £5 per 1kg.... that could end up a lot). I wish they would put a PAB in Bristol or Cardiff.

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#6 Eilif

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 03:12 PM

View PostILikePi, on Apr 10 2009, 11:24 PM, said:

Thanks for showing us a technique that you did in order to fit all those pieces.  :classic:  I bet if you just bought those pieces at the online PAB, it would cost around $50. I'll try to organize the pieces like this if I want to get a PAB cup next week (when I go to the LEGO Store near me).

EDIT: How much do the large PAB cups cost?
Glad you liked it.  I think you're right about the online comparison.  A properly packed PAB cup without too many large basic bricks is far cheaper than PAB online, or even Bricklink.  Bricklink is still a cheaper source for most large brick, but for specialty and small stuff in-store PAB rules.

I'm pretty sure the large cup  (the one I packed) is 15 dollars. I think the small size cups are 8 dollars.

View PostUserNameInvalid, on Apr 10 2009, 11:28 PM, said:

Nice demo!
Thanks.

Unfortunately in the UK the lids are behind the counter, so can pack much less in a tub.

Another example where we get ripped off in the UK.
:cry_sad:

That stinks. I suppose that means that they require that the lid has to snap  on completely.  At the stores around here, I walk up with the cup lid held on.  They tape it down and no one has ever bothered me for the lid not being able to snap completely on.  It's only a few piece difference though.

View PostILikePi, on Apr 10 2009, 11:31 PM, said:

Oh, and I have another question. How do you get to the higher holes in the PAB wall? Do you have to ask a store worker to get a ladder, go in the back of the store, or do something else?

At the stores around here (Chicago, IL and surrounding area), the highest holes are for display only.  If you have a good relationship with store staff, they may be willing to look in back for something specific.  I was in Portland Oregon, however, and they would only go in back for other pieces if you were buying a whole shipping box of PAB.

View PostPeppermint_M, on Apr 11 2009, 07:06 AM, said:

If you can even get to a PAB wall. The only one I get is once a year in Legoland and they have bags (so I have to parctice restraint or I will be stuffing it full and spending £5 per 1kg.... that could end up a lot). I wish they would put a PAB in Bristol or Cardiff.

I've heard about this. I'm puzzled as to why they do it differently in different countries. I was told that at by-weight PAB walls, it can be a good deal if you pick pieces that are lighter, or too bulky to pack well in a PAB cup.

If anyone is curious, the cup in the first post was packed yesterday at the Downtown Chicago LEGO store.  If you are interested in those pieces, I would move fast.   Sometimes the selection stays for along time, but often the good stuff disappears quickly.

Edited by Eilif, 11 April 2009 - 03:16 PM.

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#7 Peppermint_M

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 09:28 PM

The bags are similar to a ziplock and are about the size of a LP cover in surface area. You can pretty much stuff it full. I was surprised to find that everything i needed and wanted was ony about £3, sadly the minifig parts are not in boxes, you have to pick them at the till.

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#8 Skinny Boy

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 10:33 PM

Thanks for this Eilif! Really informative, and will certainly be remembered by me when if I get to a PAB with cups.  :wink:

View PostPeppermint_M, on Apr 11 2009, 02:06 PM, said:

If you can even get to a PAB wall. The only one I get is once a year in Legoland and they have bags (so I have to parctice restraint or I will be stuffing it full and spending £5 per 1kg.... that could end up a lot). I wish they would put a PAB in Bristol or Cardiff.
Aww, poor you. I wish they'd put a PAB in Ireland!  :angry:
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#9 Commander Andrew of 501 st

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 10:55 PM

Thanks for making this topic...the same day I go to a Lego store and fill the cup up like a child mind you! :tongue:
But really thanks for this so knowing that the 15 minute away Lego store will be a more Full-Filling trip. :grin:
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#10 prateek

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 11:25 PM

nice strategy :thumbup: just one question for people that have been to disney parks, is there a PaB in Disney World or Disney Land?

#11 Raven Brickroft

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 11:36 PM

Oh lawdy. I really wish there were PAB walls here in our country. Instead, we get stuck with almost always having 2x the US price for sets here.

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#12 ILikePi

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 11:58 PM

View PostRaven Brickroft, on Apr 11 2009, 03:36 PM, said:

Oh lawdy. I really wish there were PAB walls here in our country. Instead, we get stuck with almost always having 2x the US price for sets here.
What country do you live in?

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#13 Raven Brickroft

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 01:25 AM

View PostILikePi, on Apr 12 2009, 07:58 AM, said:

What country do you live in?

Philippines. It's expensive having LEGO as a hobby here.

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#14 Ricecracker

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 01:29 AM

View PostSkinny Boy, on Apr 11 2009, 06:33 PM, said:

Aww, poor you. I wish they'd put a PAB in Ireland!  :angry:

Or Canada.

#15 prateek

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:59 AM

View PostRicecracker, on Apr 12 2009, 01:29 AM, said:

Or Canada.
I agree 1000000% :thumbup:

#16 keetong

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 04:36 AM

View PostSkinny Boy, on Apr 12 2009, 08:33 AM, said:

Aww, poor you. I wish they'd put a PAB in Ireland!  :angry:

View PostRicecracker, on Apr 12 2009, 11:29 AM, said:

Or Canada.
And Australia, then I could finally finish of my MOC, it only need 1x1 Dkgray tiles

#17 Brickthing

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 04:43 AM

View Postkeetong, on Apr 12 2009, 04:36 PM, said:

And Australia, then I could finally finish of my MOC, it only need 1x1 Dkgray tiles

And New Zealand, we need a PAB wall here too.

But lets not turn this into a "Why isn't there a PAB in my country?" thread.  :tongue:

Eilif, what do the LEGO store employees think of you when you pack the PAB cups so well? I don't know if they'd appreciate your techniques... :sceptic:

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#18 djo

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 05:45 AM

nice strategy you have there Eilif.
but when you pack them up, did the store worker watch you very strictly or you can have hours of packing there?
so the PAB cup rule is fill as you can fit in that cup, am i right?
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#19 ILikePi

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 06:46 AM

View Postdjo, on Apr 11 2009, 09:45 PM, said:

nice strategy you have there Eilif.
but when you pack them up, did the store worker watch you very strictly or you can have hours of packing there?
so the PAB cup rule is fill as you can fit in that cup, am i right?
You can take as much time as you want to fill the cup. At the LEGO Store in Valley Fair, CA, there's only 2 or 3 workers (except for when there's those monthly mini builds, where there's like 5-7), and two of them have to man the cash registers.

Edited by ILikePi, 12 April 2009 - 06:47 AM.

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#20 mrchris

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:37 AM

im jealous of your pab selection  :cry_sad:

i've found that the lids are out in blue water in UK, in MK they gave me one while i was filling it, so im sure you could ask for one while picking. and they usually put a sticker to reuse the tub and get a discount so you would have the lid then.

#21 Eilif

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:02 PM

View Post3D Brickthing, on Apr 11 2009, 10:43 PM, said:

And New Zealand, we need a PAB wall here too.

But lets not turn this into a "Why isn't there a PAB in my country?" thread.  :tongue:

Eilif, what do the LEGO store employees think of you when you pack the PAB cups so well? I don't know if they'd appreciate your techniques... :sceptic:
Agreed, I'd rather this thread be about PAB packing strategies, and not a complaint thread for the lack of PAB walls in certain areas.

View Postdjo, on Apr 11 2009, 11:45 PM, said:

but when you pack them up, did the store worker watch you very strictly or you can have hours of packing there?
so the PAB cup rule is fill as you can fit in that cup, am i right?

I've packed dozens of PAB cups at stores in Minnesota, Oregon, and Illinois and I've never had a problem. In fact, if business is slow, I often have pleasant conversations with LEGO store staff. I've heard from other AFOL's that at some stores, they will actually give you hints on packing a PAB cup.

Sometimes I'll pack more than one cup, and if any of you remember the $100 PAB tubs that were sold for a while in 2007, once a friend an I took nearly an hour to pack one (it was quite heavy when we were done) at a wall located right behind the cash register and got nothing but friendly conversation with the staff.

This is not my pic, but it's the same tub packed similarly.
Posted Image

Happy Easter!!

Edited by Eilif, 12 April 2009 - 02:06 PM.

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#22 Derek

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 03:10 PM

Did you happen to count the pieces in that bucket? I can only imagine!  :oh:

View PostIgnited_Impulse, on 20 September 2010 - 01:51 AM, said:

Dude, you've got a Final Fantasy sig and you're on a lego forum....arguing about elves. Try not to think you're some cool guy because you don't play D&D
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#23 ILikePi

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 07:44 PM

View Postdarthperson, on Apr 12 2009, 07:10 AM, said:

Did you happen to count the pieces in that bucket? I can only imagine!  :oh:
He said that that picture isn't his...but I bet that there's at least maybe 5,000 small pieces in that bucket!

Oh, and thanks for reminding me that today is Easter, Eilif!  :laugh:

Happy Easter!  :classic:

EDIT: Here's a link to the BrickShelf folder of that PAB tub: http://www.brickshel...ry.cgi?f=258869
Look at all of those green and white bricks! :oh:

I never knew that there was such a thing as PAB tubs, thanks for showing us that picture! :classic:

Edited by ILikePi, 12 April 2009 - 07:46 PM.

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#24 Spyder

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:41 AM

Thank you so much for the helpful hints!  :classic: I can pack the PAB cups better and get more for my money. Darn, I wish they still had those tubs!  :angry:
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#25 Eilif

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 02:07 AM

View Postdarthperson, on Apr 12 2009, 09:10 AM, said:

Did you happen to count the pieces in that bucket? I can only imagine!  :oh:

I didn't pack that PAB bin, but I think that somewhere I did record how many pieces I packed into mine.  I can't seem to find it. If I run across it I'll post it.  Further down in this old thread on lugnet, there are two examples (including this one) with lists of pieces they've fit into a PAB tub and links to pics. http://news.lugnet.c...=...amp;t=f&v=a

View PostILikePi, on Apr 12 2009, 01:44 PM, said:

Oh, and thanks for reminding me that today is Easter, Eilif!  :laugh:

Happy Easter!  :classic:

I never knew that there was such a thing as PAB tubs, thanks for showing us that picture! :classic:

You're welcome, and thank you! Unfortunately there are no more PAB tubs. However, see below...

View PostSpyder, on Apr 12 2009, 07:41 PM, said:

Thank you so much for the helpful hints!  :classic: I can pack the PAB cups better and get more for my money. Darn, I wish they still had those tubs!  :angry:

While the tubs are long gone, some LEGO stores have a cardboard box that you can fill for $150.  Unfortunately the cardboard boxes are only ever so slightly larger than the old PAB bins, so as well as not getting a useful green tub, you really have to pack it to make it worth while.  I've not purchased one and probably won't bother, but I know a couple of guys who have, and they seem satisfied with what they got.  Also, since it's a cardboard box with strait sides, you can really pack it tight.

Edited by Eilif, 13 April 2009 - 02:10 AM.

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