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Craigslist part buy - a cautionary tale

ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
I bought a large box of Lego parts from a young man that was selling his childhood collection. In his listing he said that there was  "about" 40-50 pounds and "not much" Mxxx-Bxxxx. I was surpised when he answered my inquiry as he asked for $350.00 and I had offered him only $200.00. Anyway I decided to chronicle me efforts to turn them into usuable bricks. For starters the unsorted weight was 36lbs 13oz. so did quite make the 40# mark. Current cost =  $5.40/lb.

Here's a picture of the unsorted stash:

Untitled I knew that the parts were dirty in the parking lot but didn't realise how dirty until starting the task. They were filthy. I sorted in gallon bag incriments. Average bag weight was 3#. On average, it took about 2 hours per 3# bag to sort out the junk and into predominate colors as pictured here. DSC01119

Comments

  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    Here's some pictures of the trash that I sorted out: DSC01116 DSC01114 DSC01115 There were corroded batteries, jars of Testor model paint, pretty rocks, Matchbox cars, .357 shell casings, and load of small pellets.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    DSC01118 These Lego's were "much loved" and the kid must have had lots of fun with them as evidence by this wanton destruction! There were NO intact minifigs as most of the arms and legs had been pulled off. I don’t remember the young man's name but it might have been "Sid"! (Toy Story 1)
    Andorcrazycarlchuckpkiki180703catwrangler
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    edited April 2015
    Final tally:

    -Garbage: 9lb, 11oz (25%, Ouch!)
    -M***-B****: 3lb, 7oz
    -Broken: 12oz
    -Coins: 8oz ($3.08!)

    -Minifig parts: 7oz
    -Dark Blue Gray: 4lb 3oz
    -Colors: 6lb, 13oz
    -White: 2lb, 7oz
    -Black: 4lb, 10oz
    -Light Blue Gray: 4lb, 3oz

    -Total of usable parts: 22lb 11oz.
    -Cost per lb: $8.40

    After sorting all the parts, I spent a several hours washing and drying them. Last step for me is to sort into various sizes. I have 6 general catagories: 1x1, 1x2, 2x2, 1xbigger, 2xbigger, plates and larger pieces.

    In total, Im sure that I spent at least an hour per pound. So the bottom line.....NEVER AGAIN!
    AndorSumoLegokhmellymelKevin_Hyattaimlesspursuitschuckpkiki180703
  • BACbrixBACbrix AmericaMember Posts: 655
    Wow so how much of the weight was LEGO and not airsoft pellets or batteries? Lol I love the junk
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 648
    That is some really nasty junk. I hope you seriously disinfected the LEGO you were able salvage from that mess. Sorry that happened to you. Unfortunately some people don't care for their collections and aren't very fair about selling them, which can give a bad reputation to buying used LEGO, but there are still good deals to be had out there. Just the other day I managed to find about a gallon of near-pristine early 2000s-era bricks and some classic Ninja figures in great shape for $2 at a garage sale.

    Look at the bright side: you've saved some LEGO from being nothing but a bucket of trash for all eternity.
    Andorbluemodernkhmellymelkiki180703
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    Ive had my share of good Craiglist deals. This just wasn't one of them.

    And yes, all parts went through a bleach solution and a sun bath to disinfect them.
  • RonyarRonyar Member Posts: 359
    edited April 2015
    Yikes... So sorry to hear about that one.  Glad you chronicled it for us, as people tend to only talk about the great deals! 

    I've had my own horror stories with bulk buys off Craigslist.  Bought one lot that said it had a train in it (had a motor and some track, but oddly no pieces of a train), went from 32 lb to 23 pounds after sorting out junk and clone brands, and completely, utterly smelled of smoke.  It took me 4 months of airing out, washing, baking powder, washing, airing out, etc...  before they were finally smoke free. The dinosaur figure and wheels were the worst, as they just wouldn't let go of the smoke smell.  The guy loading them into my car smelled so heavily of smoke that I didn't realize that the bricks smelled like that as well.  (Yep, should have known better, but I didn't at the time.)  Let's just say I have been much more careful asking about owners smoking habits before I go to meet anyone since then. 
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    Ouch, I would never do this to anyone. Sorry for your awful experience.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,832
    yeesh
  • minicoopers11minicoopers11 USAMember Posts: 104
    Yeah...you can find amazing Lego deals on craigslist, but yeah, this is not one of them. Ouch.
  • JoefishJoefish Member Posts: 11
    Shell casings in amongst kids' toys, and people think that's normal?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,806
    ecmo47 said:
    Current cost =  $5.40/lb.
    ecmo47 said:

    -Coins: 8oz ($3.08!)

    That's 38c profit right there!
    bobabrickskhmellymelSumoLegodougtschuckpminicoopers11
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    I say "never again" but I know that at some point I probably will buy another lot of some former child's Lego. This is the second time I've done it and this lot was similiar to the first (but it wasn't as flat-out dirty).

    My lesson learned are as follows:

    1. Take a scale to the transaction to determine an accurate starting point for negotations. (Mine is about the size of the fat e-reader so not hard to transport)

    2. As Ronyar says - take a pass if you suspect the owner was a heavy smoker.

    3. Plan on a 25-30% loss due to junk and Off-brand.

    4. Decide if an hour or more (per pound) is worth your time. 

    5. Be wary of an excessive amout of Bioncle parts.This lot hard suprising few.
    Ronyarcatwrangler
  • hkcrazy88hkcrazy88 USA/ItalyMember Posts: 163
    The pile of junk mixed in just blows my mind! :( But thanks for the lessons learned, I haven't ventured into buying lots off of Craigslist yet, and am weary.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534

    the closest i've had to a lego craigslist transaction was when i discovered a lego seller/trader who does flea markets listed an ad on CL for his flea market booth.

    No complaints. I've been to his booth about 3 times and I've done an in public meet=up for orders from his lego store(one trading, one buying) 2x and a third order I did on Saturday(trading) just went to processing today.

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    hkcrazy88 said:
    The pile of junk mixed in just blows my mind! :( But thanks for the lessons learned, I haven't ventured into buying lots off of Craigslist yet, and am weary.
    You are already tired from reading this thread? ;)
  • 1x11x1 Member Posts: 122
    That's not junk. They're relics!
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    ^"I present to you, The Shell of Winchester!!"
    bobabricksBumblepantschuckp
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Don't think of it as dust.  Think of it as maybe the soil of some great past civilization.  Maybe the soil of ancient Babylon.  It staggers the imagination.  It may be carrying soil that was trod upon by Solomon, or even Nebuchadnezzar

    Sort of makes you want to treat it with more respect, doesn't it?
    bobabricksRonyarSumoLegoGoldchainsJenni
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,876
    Or use more bleach
    GoldchainsChrisbstm
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    Can't be worse than when I found a family of mice living in my box of Lego. Nothing like finding feces, blood, fur and afterbirth all over your precious plastic bricks. Ugh!!!
    catwrangler
  • RonyarRonyar Member Posts: 359
    @TheLoneTensor - Ha!  The voice in my head actually changed to Charlie Brown's by the second sentence when it registered what I was reading! 
    TheLoneTensor
  • DadDad UKMember Posts: 814
      
    Pitfall69 said:
    Can't be worse than when I found a family of mice living in my box of Lego. Nothing like finding feces, blood, fur and afterbirth all over your precious plastic bricks. Ugh!!!

    And on finding that I hope you had a sweet little thought about your nephew who 'only' broke the seals on your MF. Shame on you if you didn't....
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,349
    edited April 2015
    Never had a lot this bad, but I feel for you. Not sure this is any different than buying on eBay at times, at least you did not have to pay shipping.
    minicoopers11
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    ^HA! He broke the seal on my UCS MF long after I found my Lego in such disrepair.

    This got me thinking about "American Wediing" and the part where the dog swallowed the wedding ring and "Stifler" had to wait until the dog pooped to retrieve it :0

    If your dog swallowed your ...let's say...Cloud City Boba Fett; would any of you try to retrieve it?
    minicoopers11Gurooo
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,927
    ^  Yes - but I have a chihuahua, so it wouldn't be that unpleasant or time consuming.

    I once had a family of mice decide to take residence in the engine of my riding lawnmower.  That was a whole afternoon's worth of fun and excitement cleaning up that stinky mess after mowing an acre of grass.

    Thank you again, @Pitfall69 for snookering me into part of the derailment of this topic...
    Pitfall69minicoopers11Chrisbstm
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,806
    ^^ and give it a quick wash and sell it on eBay.
    Pitfall69SumoLego
  • natro220natro220 USAMember Posts: 545
    I've purchased collections 3 times off Craigslist.  Twice, they were filthy and had tons of "mystery" mixed in.  But one time, I purchased every single space set created between 1987 and 1992, in perfect condition stored in their original boxes.  For $300.  Every Blacktron 1, Futuron, M-Tron, Space Police 1, Blacktron 2 and Space Police 2 (with a few sets mixed in from either side of the time frame). I think out of the 50 or so sets I got from this guy, I only needed to buy/replace like 10 pieces total.  So miracles can happen on occasion I've learned.  Even if you have to wade through a dozen of these types of transactions, one amazing one can make it all better in the end.
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 648
    One time when I was little, my senile cat used a small box of Lego as a litter box. My parents didn't want to bother trying to sanitize it, and it was tossed in the garbage. I lost an original Forestwoman minifigure, among other things.
    catwrangler
  • LegoVirusLegoVirus Member Posts: 9
    I had a very similar craigslist find. It looked good going in the car. Upon further inspection, I realized the their cat must have used this container of "LEGOs" as a bed...for years. Sorry...I don't have an accurate weight for the cat hair.
    catwrangler
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    edited April 2015
    Humans step on Lego and it hurts like hell. Animals use Lego as a home, a bed or a place to rest. There you have it; no aminal can resist Lego :)
    BACbrixcatwrangler
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,086
    edited April 2015

    If your dog swallowed your ...let's say...Cloud City Boba Fett; would any of you try to retrieve it?

    My Dad swallow his gold crown and, yes, he did retrieve it....... Wait......you have sucked me in too........must resist.......Back yea thread usurpers!!.....back to the hell called the Predictions thread where yea belong!

    (I'm holding up a M***-B**** which cause all true Lego Fans to flee in terror)

    SumoLego
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,349
    SumoLego said:
    ^  Yes - but I have a chihuahua, so it wouldn't be that unpleasant or time consuming....

    Im not sure the Chihuahua would be able to say that..ouch
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    "He's no good to me dead."
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,927
    ^ I hadn't considered that part of the equation. I think proportionally, that would be like trying to pass a Barbie Doll.

    I suppose it would be time for a new dog and a new Boba Fett. Maybe we'd fare better with the Episode II Boba Fett with the short legs...

    Derailed again!
    Pitfall69
  • cleverusernamecleverusername Member Posts: 60
    I'm done with buying Craigslist LEGO from kids. The last time was the worst. It was a round tub, and I could see some fig parts near the top. It was promising. Then I started picking through it. Mega, crayons, and even hair can be dealt with. However, brooches with open pins are bad. I always wear rubber gloves, but they were not enough this time. Too much crud on the bricks, too much damage, and too much risk of disease caused me to abandon the entire lot. The grossest part of these lots is what is left at the bottom of the container after all the bricks and junk are out. What is that powdery mess?
    catwrangler
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,232
    edited April 2015
    ^ My guess is crushed rockets... I think in the US they are called smarties... or so I've told myself anyway. Yuck! 
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    Pet dander, Smarties, Sweet Tarts, Kasha...It's a potpourri really :)
    timinchicagomadforLEGO
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,806
    White powder can also be dried battery electrolyte, after they have leaked.
    weevinSumoLego
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,349
    CCC said:
    White powder can also be dried battery electrolyte, after they have leaked.
    That may have explained what was all over one of the lots I had purchased off of eBay.
    This thread should really be about bad lots bought. It really does not matter where you get them from, for every one really good lot (clean, somewhat complete, no trash, etc) you are going to get some nightmares. Like the one time that my hands were pitch black from handling what appeared to be a box of LEGO left in a garage for many years with the top open. And the other that has covered in cat hair and what I hope was a clump of dirt in hair, and not 'cat dirt'
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,927
    Cat dirt... sounds like buffalo chips.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    When I got back into Lego i quickly decided I would never buy used Lego. Especially not bulk lots

    Reading these stories always validates my decision
    CCC
  • natro220natro220 USAMember Posts: 545
    dougts said:
    When I got back into Lego i quickly decided I would never buy used Lego. Especially not bulk lots

    Reading these stories always validates my decision

    I've gotten significantly pickier about the lots I'll buy.  Which is why I haven't bought any in 3-4 years.  Seems competition for picking them up on Craigslist has increased incredibly over the years too.  They're often gone 15 min or less after being listed...at least ones here.
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