Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The good company

For her birthday Elli got an advent calendar.  It was 25 days of LEGO bits, all themed around outdoor winter activities.  The set came with 2 figurines and a variety of cold weather sports gear including hockey sticks and skates.  Elli was not in the least interested in actually doing the advent calendar thing and just ripped everything open immediately.  Unfortunately it brought as much sadness as happiness because she discovered that two of the baggies were the same and the baggie containing the hockey sticks was nowhere to be found.

I was fairly sure that she would forget about the hockey sticks completely in a day or so but it seemed like a good idea to teach the lesson that if a company does something wrong you can try to get it fixed rather than just sucking it up.  That in mind, I wrote LEGO and described the problem to them.  Two weeks later I got a reply apologizing for the error and giving me exact part descriptions of the pieces that were going to be shipped to me.

Yesterday the parts arrived containing all the bits that were supposed to be in the original baggie.  It even included an apologetic note explaining that they try really hard not to let this stuff happen and such.  The pieces were shipped all the way from Europe, so they actually went to an awful lot of effort to track down the set I described, the pieces I described, and then ship it halfway around the world.

I feel kind of weird and ambivalent about this.  Partly it is great because Elli was absolutely stoked about getting her bits finally and ran off to play with them.  I appreciate when companies fix problems effectively and promptly, and such behaviour really makes me want to buy their products again.

One the other hand, shipping plastic bits in a plastic baggie in a plastic contained halfway around the world seems *heinously* wasteful.  My brother is currently doing a 'no plastic' month to try to get a grip on the way plastic is used and how you can go about reducing its use, and that makes this LEGO shipment seem all the more absurd.

I guess if I am okay with Elli collecting LEGO for birthday presents I probably shouldn't worry about the extra little bits.  It the large view it is more of a general consumption issue rather than a problem with this particular grouping of ten little bits in a bag that is the issue.


  1. Lego has a business called Pick a Brick, which I used last year to build two of my own Lego puzzle designs. I followed the tracking when the bits were sent to me, from the factory in Poland to here in Canada. They probably used this service to fix your problem. So Lego does have the infrastructure, order processing, and on-demand production to do that kind of thing on a massive scale, and have had it for many years. Not sure if that's reassuring to you or not...

  2. Elli learned a valuable lesson about speaking up and being proactive so I'd say it's a winning situation. Maybe even better than getting the set intact in the first place. And Lego is a GOOD use of plastic.