Ask a LEGO Fan

Winter Toy Shop, Round 2

Posted in Marketplace, Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on January 25, 2010

Joe writes:

An update, for the curious… I didn’t see Joanie’s kind suggestion in time and missed my chance to buy from any of the LEGO stores (despite calling several across the country).

I’ve contacted LEGO directly, and they’re not forthcoming with their plans on this set. The set is selling for (on average) $110 on the secondary market — almost twice it’s original price. They’re currently selling the set to Europeans, but not to the US market.

It’s logical to assume that the set may be released again this Christmas, but if that doesn’t happen, the re-sale price will have skyrocketed by that time.

I’m pretty frustrated at the whole thing. The set was available for a matter of weeks, then disappeared without warning. When I received my Holiday catalog with the set on the cover, it had already sold out.

I think it’s pretty disgusting that so many people bought this set in order to re-sell it. Why should the end-buyers (me) lose the chance to buy a great set because re-sellers bought them first? If LEGO plans to re-release the set in the US, what’s the harm in letting us know ahead of time? And why isn’t the set available in the US currently?

Dear Joe,

I do not think you should blame people who bought this set for resale.  Currently only 48 sellers on BrickLink are offering this set.  LEGO was an extremely popular toy for families this year.  They are the ones who kept this set as a top seller and caused it disappear so quickly.  The set offered exclusive minifigures, hard to find elements, and had a very reasonable price per piece ratio.  It could have been sold by LEGO in the $80 USD range.

Fans and brick resellers were both surprised at how quickly this set sold out.  TLG  underestimated the popularity of this set and should have made a larger original run.

TLG is very secretive about future product offerings, even if it involves bringing a product back.  This is done to prevent the competition from producing similar competing products.  The one good thing about high sales is that LEGO will likely sell this set again or a similarly designed set next year.

Sincerely,

LFan

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One Response

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  1. Joe said, on January 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks for taking another look at this. I think this is an important situation for LEGO to analyze (for many reasons).

    Don’t get me wrong. I think the set is a tremendous value. I’m really happy to say that just paid $85 USD for it on Bricklink, and I think it’s worth that price. I’m not happy about having to pay a markup at all, but I don’t have a choice.

    Reselling to people who missed their chance to buy the Cafe Corner is one thing (after two years of availability). Any markup on the Cafe Corner is an earned profit. However, since the Toy Shop sold out just weeks ago, the resellers are responsible for the set selling out. The markup they’re getting in this case is a direct result of their buying the set in the first place. I don’t think they’ve earned the markup they’re getting.

    Although there are just 48 sellers on Bricklink, there are 135 sets available right now from those sellers. And, there have been 365 sets sold to date. That’s 500 sets — not to mention those sold on eBay. To put that in perspective, Brickset indicates that 680 people still want the set. (that’s 12 more than the number that actually own it.) I know this is a silly argument, but if the sets purchased for resale had been sold directly to the people that wanted them, that would account for nearly 75% of Brickset’s suggested demand. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    Resellers have the right to buy anything they please, and LEGO can be as secretive as they like. But as far as the Winter Toy Shop is concerned, that combination is giving the end-buyers a pretty raw deal.


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