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RANT!- Minifigure Set Thieves
Grrrrr! :s I finally picked up a Star Wars TIE Advanced Prototype last Sunday at a Walmart. It was the last one they had on the shelf. I was surprised that I found it, since it had been stashed between some other sets. I sat down this evening to put it together and I went to open the first bag I noticed that it had been cut open already at a corner. As I poured the pieces out it dawned on me what had happened. Someone took out The Inquisitor, resealed the box and returned it!!! Or worse they did it while in the store! UGH!! There is a special place in hell for people who would do something like this. I shouldn't be too surprised since the Walmart I had stopped at was in a not so great area. It just irks me that I now when I take it back they wont have a replacement set and then I look like the guy returning a set that doesn't have a figure in it. I'm not going to reseal the box just for someone else to go through me same pain.
I just took a looked on eBay and The Inquisitor figure, on average, is going for around $20 USD. Did I mention there is a special place in hell for people who do this???
*steps down off soapbox*
Thank you for letting me rant.
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This happened with me but on a larger scale.
The way I see it is if this happens you have 2 options:
-Return the set back to Walmart and tell them the figure was missing. If the box was sealed when you bought it, that is- no evidence of tampering or it appeared to have a hole or other form or tear/opening, and you found the figure was missing then I would just take it back. Then buy another somewhere else or see if you can get another copy at that store, but ask if you may open the box before you leave to ensure everything is present. It is an awkward situation to go through when it happens but really most CS tend to want to help.
-Contact LEGO CS. Explained what occurred and ask to see if you can get the figure. It is rare as it is a licensed part, but you do not know if you do not try.
It sucks, but I blame LEGO more than the thieves at this point. The thief is what they are, a scummy spineless POS looking for a quick way to make money. However IF LEGO would put just a little more effort into sealing their boxes, specifically the ones with the crappy little stickers on the flaps of the boxes, then this would not be as big of an issue as it is now.
The problem is most of the time there is no deception on the box when bought, it appears sealed and in good condition and sealed can even look fine, but then parts are still missing (usually the figures)
Sorry to hear about your son's birthday "speedbump" but at least you were able to rectify the problem.
I was quite upset, especially as they were on clearance. Some jackwagon in my area is selling minifigures on eBay. I hope I meet him someday and am able to turn him in.
I would hazard a guess that unless the box is noticeably tampered with (i.e. opened), that the set was purchased and then returned. I just cant see a thief standing in a store carefully opening a box and then resealing it so that you cant tell it has been opened.
I mentioned this in another thread, but I think that it would be hard for Lego to make truly tamper prof packaging although this set came to mind:
This one isn't heat sealed but if it was all the way around it would be almost impossible to open without destroying the packaging.
I couldn't care less about box condition so I prefer the boxes with the thumb tabs over those just taped up but I get why those who keep all their boxes would prefer the other taped ones.
I've had a couple of sets from Argos lately that looked like they might have been resealed and both occasions I opened them in store and both were fine, obviously just the shock from the stock room slide made them look off.
The bottom line is if people are determined to steal stuff they find a way. I do think any shop that accepts returns without checking box contents are naive and need their errors constantly pointing out to get them to correct the policy though.
* Yes, the obvious image came to my mind...
If there's a genuine problem with a set and you explain it politely to the shop staff, nobody should be concerned with how they look.
Awhile back I found a 7965: Millennium Falcon at Target for $41.98. Two of the seals looked like they had been re-taped. At that price, I thought it was still worth buying without the minifigures. I took it to customer service and asked if I could open it to verify everything was there. They said yes and I lucked out because nothing was missing.
This problem will probably get worse as Lego becomes more popular. It must be scary to resellers that may be sitting on inventory with missing parts. Maybe the larger sets could have a top flap that opened to reveal a clear plastic window where a customer could see the pieces. I have an old 483: Alpha-1 Rocket Base like this.
All very well to claim there is no reason to judge anybody by the way they look, but you seem to believe it does not happen and that is bizarre.
That is quite a shameful comment. Especially in this day and age.
Anyway, the problem is not the retailers' or TLG's fault. It is purely down to thieves.
I am a manager in Asda. When it comes to shoplifting the focus is always on the problem areas which are also the expensive products which, surprisingly, doesn't include toys. The target areas for shoplifting are clothing, music, DVDs, Blu-Rays, games, alcohol, razor blades, make-up, batteries, perfume, joints of meat, cigarettes and chewing gum.
Most supermarket workers have no idea about the resale value of Lego minifigures. If a box is returned sealed and the customer claims to have changed their mind, or purchased a duplicate, then the box would not be opened. The chances are that the box would simply be put back on the shelf to be resold. This is the case with a lot of products. Obviously edible items get wasted and electrical products get checked and tested first.
In my store all Lego returns are checked purely because I have informed the CS team of potential issues. We even resort to tagging the boxes and CM bags, at my insistence ;-)
I have to agree it was a bigoted comment
It came across like you were saying it's perfectly justified because "coloured people" (itself a bigoted term wether you realize it or not) clearly perform more criminal acts.
Just for future record, ANY time you feel like throwing race into a debate that does not directly involve that discussion you should avoid it- no matter how smart you think it will make you sound.
And the real problem is the collectability of the figs themselves- specifically the rarer, lisenced products. Do you ever see City (or even Chima or Friends or something) sets ripped apart? I don't.
Of course, there is no real way to fix this other then to flood the market with all the figs that may be stolen is to stop making exclusive rare items. Who is going to steal something that is only worth a couple bucks? And we all know that would never happen. And who around here would want it to?
A real solution should be for everyone to just stop buying on the aftermarket. No demand equals no value (to be over-simplified)
Again, nobody wants that though
Thieves have been (and always will be) a part of life. Someone is always going to try to get one over on you.
I think that even if there was no aftermarket people would still do this though, I suspect that a lot of the thieves are doing it for their own collections rather than to sell.
Back on the subject of Lego: I have seen several clearance sets, at Walmart mostly, that have been opened and returned. No matter how low the price is, I can't justify taking the chance to buy a box that has had contents removed. I passed on the Monster Fighters Haunted House because the box had obviously been tampered with and the price was ridiculously high for a clearance item with major damage to the package.
Regardless of what kind of profiling may occur in the broader society, for you to imply that because this prejudice occurs, we should accept it within the hobby we all grew up with and love, is reprehensible.
If that's not what you meant, that's what you said. So next time, please think before clicking that "submit" button.
Also, I was thinking about how much money these thieves make for stealing minifigs from boxes. It's not much when you come think of it. They are risking getting arrested to get what? A $20 minifig that might sell within a week? Not very great profit there, then again I don't know how a thief's mind works.
I purchase the polybag "Good Morning Bilbo" at a way too high price at some UK dealer. He/she forgets the customs stamp and it is routinesly opened in customs, who make a small slid at the top corner of the polybag. (I guess to check it isnt canabis)
Irritating! As a collector unopened is precious, and the value is sooo much higher. But nothing to do about it and noone to blame! :-/
Going back to the flaps on the larger boxes to allow you to view the contents seems to be the best way to combat this issue. The issue obviously is not that big of a deal to LEGO! or else we would see more drastic changes taking place.
I would just like to point out that, at least in the UK and USA, the use of the word 'color' is outdated and in some cases a racial slur in itself. I know this isn't what you meant but its worth noting.
Now let's get this thread back on track, shall we?
No-one said anything about using the word 'minority'. We're all people of colour (white, black) so I don't understand how that term is useful anyway?
Right, back on track....
I bought some TMNT and Ninjago sets. Figures are hit/miss it seems with them. I haven't opened any yet though. I did buy a B-Wing ($20 somehow), but the box was crushed. I figured, I'll buy it at that price and if there was a problem, I could return it. Turns out everything was intact, so that was nice.
My problem is I tend to buy things, sit on them while I think about how badly I want it, then sometimes I end up returning it later. I buy it to get the clearance price so I don't miss out on it. If I end up wanting to keep it, I do. If I decide against it later, then someone else can get the bargain.
I do agree, tape doesn't seem to hold out thieves very well.
I thought at first that maybe it was on sale because of the damage, but not seeing any stickers on it to that effect, I realised someone had only just done it and had put the bucket on top to hide the damage. Reported it to the staff and told them the minifigs had probably been nicked.
Ironically enough, I'd gone in there to pick up some CMFs en route to taking my mother to lunch, and had just been telling her all about the "Lego bubble" and what minfigs were changing hands for online. Didn't expect to find it so dramatically illustrated, and I feel bad for the shop because they're local/part of a small chain, and I don't think they do as well as they did in the pre-Amazon era...
Apart from when I went to Toys R Us, I went in there had a voucher for 20% off, got Public Transport which had stopped selling a year before, went to another shop and noticed the box was damaged so went back to exchange it for another, took the new room home opened it and found no sticker sheet, so went back and they took the sticker sheet out of the other box, really annoying, but not a problem.