jelockwood

Lego Pick a Brick problems?

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Lego (had) two website methods of buying bricks, one was focused on buying additional stock of common bricks, and one that was focused on 'replacing' missing bricks - although I like many also used this as a mechanism for buying additional stock of a wider range of bricks. These have now been merged and whilst it is likely the result on average will be a little more expensive that is not my issue.

I had been building up a shopping basket for my next order as I try to buy enough at a time to make the shipping costs etc. more palatable and since the reorganisation this is more important as bricks now are listed in two categories - 'Bestseller' and 'Standard' and each has their own additional shipping charges if you don't order a certain amount.

I am also used to and expect that from time to time some bricks will go out of stock. When out of stock you of course could not add them to your shopping cart but previously if you had already added them it was still possible to complete the order although this would obviously delay their shipping the order to you.

This time however practically overnight about three quarters of my pending shopping basket was wiped out - that is removed from my shopping basket. This was not a random error but was due to these items going out of stock as I confirmed by searching for them. Again I expect from time to time individual bricks to go out of stock but this time a huge proportion of bricks have all gone out of stock at the same time. This suggests something more significant has happened as there is no way overnight that many different bricks would have genuinely simultaneously gone out of stock. Has their factory or warehouse burnt down? Has Lego suddenly discontinued dozens of different bricks? Is Lego phasing out the entire 'Pick a brick' feature?

Note: It was the 'Standard' i.e. less common choice of brick that was most affected but not exclusively so as also many 'Bestseller' bricks are now also out of stock. Supposedly these are stored and processed at different warehouses as this is the excuse Lego use for having two categories each with their own additional shipping charges.

As an example Plate 8x16 (part number 92438) is now out of stock except for a single colour meaning eighteen colours are out of stock.

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I wanted to order missing pieces that were, well, missing from a set that I bought. Checking the set list, all pieces are out of stock, I checked random sets and all of them had the same problem, not sure why is that. Me guess is these two problems can be tied together, perhaps an error on LEGO's end?

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You are late to the party. This happened a week ago maybe. LEGO has no idea what's it's doing.

The old system wasn't perfect, but the new one is so broken I think it's beyond repair.

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This happened over a month ago. I don't appreciate the new charges either. But TLG did not consult AFOLs about this.

TLG does what is necessary for them. At least they didn't take it away entirely.

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Posted (edited)

Well, the "Held of Steine" (Thomas Panke) frequently speculates that the TLG websites are run by apprentices or interns - it pretty much looks like that. Cutting costs I guess. As they do all over the place.

2022. And counting. Some realize that the internet has arrived.

Best,
Thorsten

 

Edited by Toastie
Too much white wine

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11 hours ago, 1963maniac said:

TLG does what is necessary for them. At least they didn't take it away entirely.

They didn't? Feels like they did to me.

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It could be that they are re-evaluating the bricks and pieces type side. They are probably realising how many people are ordering parts there for MOCs, resale, or just collecting. Those parts were/are hand picked, hence the massive delays now. For years, it has taken a few days to pick orders before shipping. Now it is weeks. It may also have an impact on their ability to handle the missing parts / broken parts orders. And of course, it means you don't need to buy sets to get (unlicensed) minifigs.

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10 hours ago, MAB said:

It could be that they are re-evaluating the bricks and pieces type side. They are probably realising how many people are ordering parts there for MOCs, resale, or just collecting. Those parts were/are hand picked, hence the massive delays now. For years, it has taken a few days to pick orders before shipping. Now it is weeks. It may also have an impact on their ability to handle the missing parts / broken parts orders. And of course, it means you don't need to buy sets to get (unlicensed) minifigs.

I think you are right. Check this out: https://www.lego.com/cdn/cs/set/assets/bltc0add98c97e35d0e/02.06.21_LEGO_PickaBrick_v2.mp4 TLG is still working on it. Probably don't have every warehouse conpletely stocked yet. Hopefully this will mean a better selection and shorter wait times.

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1 hour ago, 1963maniac said:

I think you are right. Check this out: https://www.lego.com/cdn/cs/set/assets/bltc0add98c97e35d0e/02.06.21_LEGO_PickaBrick_v2.mp4 TLG is still working on it. Probably don't have every warehouse conpletely stocked yet. Hopefully this will mean a better selection and shorter wait times.

I have not watched that video but this is not I feel startup teething problems. As I mentioned overnight several days ago 75% of the bricks I had in my basket changed to out of stock. That means they were previously all in stock or I would not have been able to add them to my basket. This includes common and popular bestseller bricks and not so popular standard bricks. Again as Lego claim Standard and Bestseller bricks are processed by different warehouses with logically Bestseller bricks being the ones that they sell most of and either should be more likely to go out of stock or to be ones Lego work harder to keep in stock. The results I am seeing suggest neither and that vast numbers of bricks of all types have simultaneously gone out of stock.

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13 hours ago, jelockwood said:

I have not watched that video but this is not I feel startup teething problems. As I mentioned overnight several days ago 75% of the bricks I had in my basket changed to out of stock. That means they were previously all in stock or I would not have been able to add them to my basket. This includes common and popular bestseller bricks and not so popular standard bricks. Again as Lego claim Standard and Bestseller bricks are processed by different warehouses with logically Bestseller bricks being the ones that they sell most of and either should be more likely to go out of stock or to be ones Lego work harder to keep in stock. The results I am seeing suggest neither and that vast numbers of bricks of all types have simultaneously gone out of stock.

It might have also meant that they allowed you to order bricks they didn't have in stock (it has happened before, but not to that scale) or they wanted to slow down the number of orders to clear the backlog so reduce the number available. Closing it completely without notice would have started even more rumours, so I guess that is why they don't go down that route.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, jelockwood said:

I have not watched that video but this is not I feel startup teething problems. As I mentioned overnight several days ago 75% of the bricks I had in my basket changed to out of stock. That means they were previously all in stock or I would not have been able to add them to my basket. This includes common and popular bestseller bricks and not so popular standard bricks. Again as Lego claim Standard and Bestseller bricks are processed by different warehouses with logically Bestseller bricks being the ones that they sell most of and either should be more likely to go out of stock or to be ones Lego work harder to keep in stock. The results I am seeing suggest neither and that vast numbers of bricks of all types have simultaneously gone out of stock.

Another major part of this is they have temporarily shut down the Standard warehouse. All bricks from Standard have been set to out of stock, which would possibly account for most of the 75%. They are not actually out of stock, but ostensibly have been set that way until the warehouse has caught up on existing orders (and hopefully make some changes to make it more efficient). I find that the vast majority of my orders come from the standard warehouse rather than what is now the Bestseller warehouse. Being stingy I always used to compare prices on both (old PAB and BAP) to get the cheapest bricks, and so know that most of what I bought was not previously available on PAB.

I am assuming here that PAB is now Bestseller, however in practice those bricks may have changed. It may be hard to compare different region warehouses also. Currently the North America warehouse has about 200 less bricks available than the European warehouse so it could be a regional thing.

Funnily UK has 3 bricks which AU don't have despite being the same warehouse (I think). A red car bonnet, a bright green flower 1x1, and a dark azure 2x2 flat tile. Those three are not available at all in Australia, not even when showing out of stock, so there are probably still system issues they are sorting out.

The site did say they were expecting the Standard warehouse to reopen in May, although I can't see where that message is now so who knows what is happening.

Edited by timemail

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1 hour ago, timemail said:

The site did say they were expecting the Standard warehouse to reopen in May, although I can't see where that message is now so who knows what is happening.

I can still see that message on the Irish site (Lego.ie). It's on the screen where you start selecting bricks: https://i.imgur.com/629YMnZ

I wouldn't waste time worrying about all of this. They are clearly having some handover issues between their old system and new. Give it a few months, this is a massive operation and a logistical nightmare. I'd like to hope they are automating the 'picking' parts of the service in this downtime, but outside their communications (which will never be 100% factual), it's all speculation on our parts.

In the meantime, there's always Bricklink.

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I hope this works properly soon. So many parts random and normal are shown "not in stock"!

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I contacted TLG customer service about an unrelated issue and took the opportunity to ask some questions about this issue. Apparently, Pick a Brick "Standard", was closed purely to allow some catching up on the huge backlog of orders. This could be quite possible since personally it took more than 8 weeks to receive an order.

Also, I understand that the term "Bestseller" is very misleading. In fact, it would have nothing to do with the popularity of the parts, but rather the provenance.

Of course, we have to take this information with a grain of salt. (Is this expression exist in English?) :sceptic:

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On 5/10/2022 at 9:32 AM, l0renZo said:

Also, I understand that the term "Bestseller" is very misleading. In fact, it would have nothing to do with the popularity of the parts, but rather the provenance.

I think it's more that one implies the other--the more popular parts are stored in the far-flung network of regional warehouses rather than the central one in DK since they're the parts that would benefit the most from (a) additional storage space (since they're popular, they need to have a lot of them on hand) and (b) presumably quicker delivery times (since they're closer to the customer).  The less-popular parts are stored centrally because (a) it avoids having to use limited shelf space in regional warehouses for parts that won't be ordered as often, and (b) since they're the parts that aren't ordered as often, the effect of the longer delivery times (unless you're in or close to Denmark!) won't be as significant as if it were the more popular parts that had the longer delivery time.

 

Quote

Of course, we have to take this information with a grain of salt. (Is this expression exist in English?) :sceptic:

Indeed it does!  I think, because of the historical influence of Latin (and the original Latin phrase, cum grano salis), a vernacular equivalent exists in most Western/Central European languages, including those (such as English and its Germanic cousins) that aren't directly descended from Latin.

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On 6/8/2022 at 11:59 AM, AColtsFan said:

I think it's more that one implies the other--the more popular parts are stored in the far-flung network of regional warehouses rather than the central one in DK since they're the parts that would benefit the most from (a) additional storage space (since they're popular, they need to have a lot of them on hand) and (b) presumably quicker delivery times (since they're closer to the customer).  The less-popular parts are stored centrally because (a) it avoids having to use limited shelf space in regional warehouses for parts that won't be ordered as often, and (b) since they're the parts that aren't ordered as often, the effect of the longer delivery times (unless you're in or close to Denmark!) won't be as significant as if it were the more popular parts that had the longer delivery time

I think this is a very realistic explanation of the reality. I just find that from a customer's point of view, the appeal of "bestseller" parts is not really that they are popular (I don't care about that), but rather that I can get them quickly. It is on this aspect that I found that the term "bestseller" was perhaps poorly chosen. But it's really just a matter of wording.

 

On 6/8/2022 at 11:59 AM, AColtsFan said:

Indeed it does!  I think, because of the historical influence of Latin (and the original Latin phrase, cum grano salis), a vernacular equivalent exists in most Western/Central European languages, including those (such as English and its Germanic cousins) that aren't directly descended from Latin.

Thanks for the clarification! Much appreciated. ;)

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On 6/8/2022 at 5:59 PM, AColtsFan said:

 (unless you're in or close to Denmark!).

I can tell you, that being close to Billund does not make the delivery any faster - last time I ordered it too 2 months. Its been like that always. 

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When orders reopened in late May I placed a small order. I'm hopeful that it will take less than 8 weeks this time since they had a month to catch up on their backlog.

But maybe I'm underestimating the popularity of TLG!

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I received my order yesterday. It took exactly 2 weeks, from the date I placed the order to the delivery.

It's a good improvement over the 8 weeks it took two months ago. Clearly TLG was able to catch up.

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I know it isn't exactly the same thing but I had to order a replacement tire, for a recent set, it was badly deformed, in the molding process. From the time of my phone call until I received the tire, it only took 9 days, a record for me. So hopefully they are starting to get it all sorted out.

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3 hours ago, Johnny1360 said:

I know it isn't exactly the same thing but I had to order a replacement tire, for a recent set, it was badly deformed, in the molding process. From the time of my phone call until I received the tire, it only took 9 days, a record for me. So hopefully they are starting to get it all sorted out.

Replacement parts have always had priority over purchases.

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Of course, thankfully and not that I have used it a lot but usually it takes me much longer, two weeks plus, that was my main point. Of course it is also possible it's a one off thing, lol.

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