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More AFOLs than you think?

AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
edited October 2013 in Everything else LEGO
Until recently the fact that I was an AFOL was pretty much a closely-guarded secret. Not sure why but I guess it's because I feared what people might think about an 'adult playing with a toy.' Perhaps I just wanted to avoid any awkward conversations.

Anyhow, I dragged the wife to the new Belgian store the other day and she happily told all her colleagues why she was having the morning off work. Over the next few days about a third of her colleagues (about 12 from 35ish) confessed to being an AFOL. One showed off her Lego key ring, another confessed to buying the Sydney Opera House on their way into work, another pointed out the small Lego car under his monitor that had apparently been there all along, and a couple of others even decided that our visit to the store was the perfect excuse for them to do likewise, having not previously had the courage to go out and buy a Lego set for themselves.

Most of them were super excited that there was now a Lego shop in Belgium.

I imagine most of us know people who share our passion for Lego, but my wife's experience had me wondering whether there's a secret layer of AFOLs out there who, like me before she 'outed' me, think it's safer inside the closet. How big is this potentially under-tapped market for Lego?


  • durazno33durazno33 Member Posts: 48
    Well, I sold Legos garage sale style in a college town where adults out numbered the kids. There were quite a few adults that bought Legos for themselves. One man I remember kept frustrating his wife by wanting this and that and that and ... You get the idea. There are a lot more AFOL that one would originally think.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    We have a cousin who graduated from buying Lego for their son as a child who had no interest in them to an AFOL! It's nice to have family who share our passion for the brick.
  • bsiu922bsiu922 SF Bay Area, CAMember Posts: 439
    my boys have theirs and I have mine! perfect Scenario!
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    I think most people are amused by my Lego addiction if nothing else. I don't think anyone looks down on me for it, everyone I know loves Lego, it's just a question as to whether they'd prioritise buying much themselves though most of them have one set or another - i.e. friends I've played Minecraft with tend to have the Minecraft sets for example.
  • GreenArrow57GreenArrow57 GBMember Posts: 71
    I went to the optician the other day and there on his desk were several minifigs and a pencil holder! He's an AFOL too...
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,147
    I feel like other threads are floating around that at least hit on some of these points...anyways...I think like anything else out there you can never truly know the "whole" number of AFOL's. Those that take the quarterly survey, subscribe to various websites, join clubs, etc, thats the number TLG and others have to go off of. There will always be that secret neighbor or cubemate who knows exactly what SNOT really stands for. Until then, we can only suspect. But to answer the question short and sweet, guaranteed there are more out there than known.
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    @Aleydita I think the question is, where is the line between liking Lego and being an AFOL?
    An absolutely huge amount of people had Lego as a child and will have an inner love for Lego. A lot of people who see my sets that I buy, go "Oh wow, Lego, Lego is so cool, I love Lego" and lots will have key rings and minibuilds etc to feel the love they had as a child, but I wouldn't say they are AFOL's.

    But it sounds like you are doing a good job of taking people who have that inner love and tempting the over to the AFOL side..

    So, how do you determine an AFOL?
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 298
    edited October 2013
    I'm a TFOL, and in my area it's kind of a headache. Most people in my area think that it's a children's toy, and that I'm immature by being a LEGO fan. At the state fair, most of the LEGO models in the competition were silly looking or medium-size regular sets, of which the MOCs looked like a two year old had built them. I said "I usually do much better than this" In fact, I plan to enter a model next year. P.S, I might just try judging, if possible.
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    @cody6268 Don't let anyone tell you that you are being immature, you only have to glance at things like this:
    If you flick through the pages that are available on there, you should feel confident that this is not just a 'child's toy'.

    I would encourage you to enter the competition (or even judge if you wish), but try to be openminded to people's entries, a lot of people with very different circumstances build, so you may be judging someones first ever attempt, or someone who has taken many weeks to create their entry.
    The other thing to take into consideration is that you sometimes have to try to see exactly what the builder was trying to convey, often my son builds things and at first glance it looks very basic, but once you really look you can see all the character in the build.

    As long as the builder is enjoying themselves, that is the main thing.
  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    What is an AFOL exactly? I strongly doubt many people dislike lego, its been a fun part of the vast majority of childhoods.

    Maybe not everyone fills their house with models, but even so, I think most people would look at a Lego display, go in the shop, eye the advanced models, etc.
  • Stvoyager04Stvoyager04 Member Posts: 120
    edited October 2013
    Maybe we should be ACOLs (Collectors rather than Fans), and anyone that simply likes Lego should be an AFOL
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 687
    luckyruss said:

    ... "A-HOLs" (adult haters of lego), for example...

    Best LEGO acronym ever!

  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 1,181
    ^ what are you calling my wife?
  • Big_Blue_WinkyBig_Blue_Winky Member Posts: 181
    It ha surprised me how many adults are such big fans of Lego, my work place is a fine example of that and when I got my first parcel of Lego delivered into my work place the passenger train they were all encouraging me to build it there and then, which I politely declined. It's little wonder Lego is so successful these days.
  • AndyPolAndyPol UKMember Posts: 380
    edited October 2013
    It started when I was a teenager and because I was "growing up" I gave my entire LEGO collection to my younger brother, including 375!

    Many years later I recovered but it took me many years of counselling and therapy to admit my adiction! It started with LEGO City and then went onto the hard stuff like Star Wars. Having children helped because I then had a reason/excuse to be buying, but it was only covering up my addiction!

    Seriously though, it can be like a "hidden vice" that you feel that nobody else will understand, until you are chatting at work and say "me and the children spent Christmas building the Death Star" and then you seem to open the flood gates and you realise just how many other AFOLs are around you! Since I came out as an AFOL, I am surprised how many people around me are the same. I have now become quite a local expert at work and colleagues ask me questions all the time, although I always direct them towards Brickset!

    Shame the wife doesn't always see it my way!

    You only have to look at the queues outside WHSmith to see how many "are just getting for my children" when it is the free LEGO weeks!

    I think there are many thousands of closet AFOLs out there, mostly Dad's like me!

  • Dread_PirateDread_Pirate Member Posts: 184
    A-HOLs Now that is funny!!

    My wife knew that Lego was my favorite toy growing up and the only one of my toys I kept to pass on to my kids. I had many many Transformers and Star Wars toys but they all ended up in other's hands, my Lego ended up with my son after I restored a couple of my old favorite sets. To be honest while I always held a love of Lego it was not until about 3 years ago that my wife bought me a small Dino set so I could get on the floor and play Dino hunter with my son. She seen how I played with Tommy, with the Lego and that got her going. About 6 months or so later I was having a bad day with a tooth and she bought me the model of Queen Anne's Revenge as a get well gift. Even through the pain of just getting a tooth pulled I sat down at the kitchen table and built the ship in one sitting. That was it I was hooked again. It was not but a week or so later that I was in our storage unit pulling out my old collection of Lego and bringing it home to start my new/old love back up again.

    I still get on the floor and play with my son and now daughter with Lego. I help them make their models stronger or look better or teach them how to get a minifig in a car or plane. When it comes to acting out on the playing I let the kids make the adventure I just follow along and we all have fun!
  • CaptAPJTCaptAPJT Member Posts: 223
    When the new lego store opened I went there with my girlfriend and she posted some pictures on Facebook, I was surprised by the number of friends who not only liked it, but who recognized what it was I'd bought and the exact branding of the product, i.e. Star Wars Planet Series
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