Minifigures series 20 came out on April 19, 2020. At that point, many Canadians had been in pandemic lockdown for a month. While essential services remained open, most retailers shut down. The usual outlets for aquiring a collectible Minifigure (CMF) series were gone. Additionally, while some “essential” stores carried Minifigures, safety measures prevented feeling blind bags. Therefore, the question arises, how does one solve the pandemic problem of getting Minifigures?
Being in lockdown, I was unable to get any Minifigures. I usually spend a long time in stores feeling blind bags. This ensures I get a whole collection to review. That was not possible with many stores closed. Health and safety measures compounded the issue in open stores. It is not sanitary to touch all the packets in a box. Therefore, I conducted an experiment. In Canada, the whole CMF box is currently unavailable. You can only order 16 packets through LEGO.com. But, how many of those will be unique? With help from the LEGO® Group, I gave it try. They sent me an order of 16 Minifigures.
The LEGO® Group sent me 16 blind bags and I tested a theory.
In an ideal world, the chances of getting all 16 characters in one go are slim. For argument’s sake, let us assume that character placement in a box is random. Additionally, pretend that employees fill orders randomly. Finally, add the assumption that character representation is even. None of these are true but humor me. You are 100% guaranteed to get a unique character on your first pull. However, on your second try, the chances of getting a unique character drop to 25%. The odds of a third unique character after that are only 6%. A fourth in a row is only 1%. It gets worse from there.
Sadly, the odds are not in your favor.
In reality boxes are not random. Firstly, some characters are more common than others. Secondly, the LEGO® Group does not pack the boxes randomly. In my experience, character placement is by character type. Both factors do not lend themselves well to getting a proper random selection. Finally, you are at the mercy of a human being filling your order. Consequently, the chances of getting several unique characters in an order of 16 are not good.
I received five unique characters. Five out of sixteen is a success rate of 31%. That is a pandemic problem. Additionally, three characters in my order were the most common ones in series 20. I got the Super Warrior, the Tournament Knight, and the Sea Rescuer. There are five of each in a box. I got all five of the Super Warriors and Tournament Knights. This suggests someone pulled my order in sequence. Additionally, I got two Sea Rescuers, two Break-dancers, and two Brick Costume Guys.
Of course, other avenues like Bricklink and eBay exist. However, your Minifigures will cost more than $4.99. After all, you must consider shipping and/or price-jacking. The alternative is to embrace the spirit of the blind bag and take your chances. In my opinion, the best option is to find a full, unopened box and buy all 60 blind bags. How will you solve this pandemic problem?
Until next time,
p.s. Want to see more Minifigures? Check out last summer’s look at Series 19.
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