Normally, Wednesday is the day that I post my LEGO® set review of the week. This week, I don’t have one to share. But, there is a valid reason for that. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you probably already have an idea why. I have had quite a few inquiries into what exactly happened, so I thought I would tell the full story here since it also ruined this week’s set review.
My birthday passed last weekend. On Friday after work, to celebrate, my wife and I went out to buy a new LEGO® set. I decided that I wanted the new City Hospital (60204). After visiting the LEGO® Store, and being told they were sold out, I headed over to Toys R Us to try my luck. For those of you reading from around the world, Toys R Us did not go bankrupt in Canada, and is remaining open. They had a few Hospitals left on the shelf, so I happily picked one up. After spending 20 minutes feeling Minifigure bags, I headed to cash, paid for my stuff, and went home, like any normal person.
Saturday was my actual birthday. There was lots of family stuff going on that day, so I didn’t get around to building. Sunday, however, was a holiday in Quebec. Everything was closed, so I had the perfect day to just sit at home and build my new set. However, it was not meant to be. I cut open the tape sealing my new set, and excitedly poured the contents onto the table. Out came a ton of newspaper, and some taped up bags containing random bricks, plastic, and rocks. Yes, you read right, rocks.
As it turns out, I was not the first owner of this box. Someone else had bought it before me, replaced the LEGO® bricks and instructions inside with garbage, and then resealed the box with the original tape. After that, they had returned it to Toys R Us for a refund. I have never understood how someone feels it’s ok to act like that. Seeing a sealed box, Toys R Us placed the box back on the shelf, and then I bought it. It is one thing for an adult, like me, to open this box and get upset (my birthday build day was ruined since it was a holiday and I could not go exchange the box). But, LEGO® bricks are primarily for kids. There was a far greater chance that some poor little kid would have gotten this box, and their day would have been ruined. If you are the person who did this, and you happen to be reading this post, you are a total douchebag (and that it putting it nicely).
I posted my shock and horror on Facebook and Twitter. Toys R Us was very prompt in getting in touch with me to try to help. The LEGO® Group also checked in to see if they could offer assistance. To the credit of Toys R Us, they handled the situation quickly and painlessly. The head office opened an investigation, and informed the manager of my local store of what had happened. When I walked into the store the next day, I was offered a refund or exchange, no questions asked. Obviously, I took the exchange because I really wanted this set. We opened the box on the spot to make sure there would not be a repeat, and then I was on my way. I really appreciate how Toys R Us handled this, after all, they are now out $110 for the original stolen set.
I did a little investigation into this act of fraud, and if you are in the Montreal and Laval area, you might want to be careful with your purchases in the near future. I know of two other stores who have been hit with this problem. The manager of one store told me that his store had been “hit hard”, and he worried he still had boxes full of trash on his shelves. He had identified the thief, and on confrontation, the thief left the store. I was the first case of this at my local Toys R Us, so my guess is that after being identified, the thief has moved on to the next target.
To make a long story short, I was supposed to build my set on Sunday, photograph it and edit the pictures on Monday, and write the review on Tuesday. Since I only built the set on Monday, I didn’t have time to do all of the rest. So, the hospital review will come next week.
Do you have experience LEGO® retail fraud or theft? Leave your story in the comments below.
Until next time,
ADDENDUM: Fellow LEGO® fan, Son of a Brick, contacted me on Facebook, and informed me that opening the box without leaving marks is actually quite easy. All you have to do is use a hairdryer to heat the tape, and then it just peels off. You can then open the box, and even re-stick the tape after. This is apparently done by many LEGO® enthusiasts to preserve the box in pristine condition. As Son of a Brick also pointed out, it is a shame this technique is being used by less than honest people…