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What is the purpose of a polybag?

ModeltrainmanModeltrainman In the Disney Infinity Toybox, Windows, or digging through LEGO parts.Member Posts: 191
This might sound strange, but what is the purpose of a polybag set? Are they just supposed to be 'pocket money', or cheap LEGO? Trials of different themes? Meant to fill in gaps in themes? (30382 Baby Raptor Playpen, which I STILL can't find offline springs to mind) Excuses for NPU, rare colors? Is there any reason they're always $3.99?

Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,188
    edited June 2018
    There are two different types of polys in my mind: Production (can buy the bag alone) or promotional only (which can include 'production' polys, but usually you do not see promo polys appear for purchase, unless a store needs to move a bunch of them after a promo, like LEGO LDCs sometimes do).
    IMO Impulse buys, mostly for the 'production' polys. Sometimes part of a promo to get someone to buy a larger set as a thank you or a 'free gift'.
    Not all are 3.99 either.
    I think it is a great way for LEGO or other companies to get people to come into stores as it is usually a unique set, or even unique parts, characters. Though a bit annoying if you cannot find one you really want.
    Bumblepantsgmonkey76donutboyFizyxOnebricktoomanySumoLegokiki180703
  • jmeninnojmeninno The Batcave (MA)Member Posts: 665
    edited June 2018
    What is the purpose of a polybag?  Like @madforLEGO said above...to drive us AFOLs crazy looking for them!  ;)
    gmonkey76OldfanModeltrainmanmak0137donutboyOnebricktoomanySumoLegokiki180703
  • donutboydonutboy U.K.Member Posts: 660
    They quite often are small versions of larger sets. Like SW ships or Quinjets for instance.
    Sometimes (rarely) they are exclusive minifigs. The Hulk or Iron Patriot.
    I blimmin love em'
    SumoLegoSprinkleOtterMr_CrossOnebricktoomanykiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,479
    More like a dimebag.  But I don't know what that means.
    davetheoxygenmanpharmjodAstrobricksPitfall69FizyxMr_CrossOnebricktoomanykiki180703
  • MugenPowerMugenPower Member Posts: 434
    SumoLego said:
    More like a dimebag.  But I don't know what that means.
    Perhaps for the AFOLs looking for hit after hit after hit.

    But I was thinking more along the lines of the parents/grandparents looking for a cheap goody for little Johnny and grab one off the pegs in passing, as I'm sure many of us have seen.  That breeds a new AddictFOLs, who in turn looks into larger, more advanced sets.  And before they know it, they're scouring forums on predictions about the next UCS or modular or Creator Expert vehicle...

    Wait, where am I going with this...  Not trying to say parents/grandparents are enablers or creating addicts or whatever drug stuff... I also have no idea what this means.
    davetheoxygenmanSprinkleOtterBaby_YodaMr_CrossOnebricktoomanySumoLegokiki180703sid3windr
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,167
    donutboy said:
    They quite often are small versions of larger sets. Like SW ships or Quinjets for instance.
    Sometimes (rarely) they are exclusive minifigs. The Hulk or Iron Patriot.
    I blimmin love em'
    Today I learned that "blimmin" may or may not be uncouth UK slang for I don't know what. If only there were a way to search for the meaning of a word on the internets.
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda The world's backsideMember Posts: 1,078
    A polybag that isn't promotional is the lowest price point Lego can reasonably achieve. I only ever find them in supermarkets (where it's the only Lego they stock). If Lego want to release a model that's ridiculously small, they pop it in a poly!
    Astrobricks said:
    If only there were a way to search for the meaning of a word on the internets.
    Do NOT bring that up again!
    BumblepantsSumoLegokiki180703Astrobricks
  • tbzztbzz Member Posts: 5
    I love polybags. For me they are quintessence of the Lego, so I collect them all the time. And this is a score - 317 polybags in one place. All with instructions and bags. More on my web (non EN).https://legosoul.wordpress.com/

    OnebricktoomanymadforLEGOcatwranglerdutchlegofan50sid3windrFowlerBricksKLOKRIECHER
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,379
    Opening them is sacrilege.
    OnebricktoomanySumoLegogmonkey76davetheoxygenmanoldtodd33mak0137Baby_Yodadingbat
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,178
    There are for me to get excited about when I find them cheap in supermarkets and feel it's OK for me to 'treat myself' to Lego when I am buying boring things like bread and toilet cleaner because I don't have a lot of money these days and many sets are out of my reach and being about to sneak a little set into a weekly food shop makes me come home with a smile. 
    OnebricktoomanyToc13kiki180703catwranglerBaby_Yodadingbat
  • tbzztbzz Member Posts: 5
    Opening them is sacrilege.
    So, where's a fun? I Have many MISB, polybags too, but without opening, You wouldn't feel smile on Your face.

    OnebricktoomanyBumblepantskiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,479
    Opening them is sacrilege.
    They open?  Huh.  I learn something new every day.
    Onebricktoomanygmonkey76davetheoxygenmankiki180703madforLEGOBaby_Yodadmcc0SprinkleOtterOldfan
  • J0rgenJ0rgen NorwayMember Posts: 172
    I will never understand collecting unopened LEGO. Not even polybags... It's like having your cake, and stowing it away in a cupboard.
    BrickByBrickFowlerBricks
  • CoopsCoops SuffolkMember Posts: 22
    What do you do with the unopened Lego? Display it?

     I can understand boxed Lego but polybags might be a bit difficult. Could you not just build the Lego but rerese the box and display that? Maybe you could put some loose bricks back in the box to make it sound authentic if someone picked it up and shook it...
    SumoLego
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,479
    Coops said:
    What do you do with the unopened Lego?
    The precious should be hidden away and not be exposed to light, but kept in a sterile, climate-controlled environment.  And kept away from nosy Hobbitses...
    Toc13gmonkey76kiki180703OnebricktoomanySprinkleOtter
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,188
    Why can't you display polys? all you need in many instances is to have some sort of hook to hang them off of?

    That being said I have been contemplating different small display case ideas to be able to display built poly sets so they do not get a steady coating of dust.
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 1,893
    SumoLego said:
    Coops said:
    What do you do with the unopened Lego?
    The precious should be hidden away and not be exposed to light, but kept in a sterile, climate-controlled environment.  And kept away from nosy Hobbitses...
    Careful, you'll be putting them in acrylic cases with little grading certificates next.
    Baby_YodaSprinkleOttersid3windr
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,479
    Well, that's just ridiculous.

    ...subtly moving GFA Gem Rated-10 chrome C-3PO out of eyeshot...
    bandit778SprinkleOtter
  • MugenPowerMugenPower Member Posts: 434
    Appropriate:


    PJ76ukSumoLegoHugeYellowBrickCaptainRogersbandit778Baby_YodaOldfan
  • truck730truck730 Member Posts: 191
    Polys  -build then mod or scavenge for parts, if you can get them for 4Euro or less then good value, I do feel a gatewayness  to them also
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,167
    Why can't you display polys? all you need in many instances is to have some sort of hook to hang them off of?

    That being said I have been contemplating different small display case ideas to be able to display built poly sets so they do not get a steady coating of dust.
    #5005406 is nice for that.
  • HugeYellowBrickHugeYellowBrick At my PCMember Posts: 476
    edited September 2018
    Build the set without opening the bag, whilst still in the shop, then put it back on the hanging strip.

    catwranglerJ0rgenoldtodd33SprinkleOttersid3windrOldfan
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,479
    Why can't you display polys? all you need in many instances is to have some sort of hook to hang them off of.
    Something like this, I suppose?

    Courtesy of @vwong19

    (Color me a bit envious!)
    catwranglerBaby_Yodavwong19SprinkleOtter
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 583
    I did see some collectors once in 2008 bring a huge basketful of Clone Wars release day Hasbro toys to the counter in Toys R Us. So far, so normal. But it turned out they had specifically inspected every iteration of each Hasbro toy for imperfections to choose the ones which had no scratches or dents on the packaging, nor any nasty price labels. They were also handling the boxes with gloves and insisted on scanning each toy through without the cashier touching them. I like my polybags but I never want to be that type of collector.

    Also, good thing I got 2 chrome Vaders back in the day - one for display, one for accumulating a steady 3 figure sum.
    madforLEGOSumoLegoBaby_YodaSprinkleOtter
  • DB361DB361 UKMember Posts: 188
    I'm surprised to see a few people commenting on how much they see them in the supermarket as, apart from the occasional Tesco (and it is very occasional given how much I hate the way that company's gone...), I don't see them at all. They would be the perfect market for them - small pocket money sets were exactly the type of ones I got as a 4 year old that first got me into Lego. Sainsbury's and Asda would do very well from stocking these I think.
    catwrangler
  • bricknationbricknation Member Posts: 666
    DB361 said:
    I'm surprised to see a few people commenting on how much they see them in the supermarket as, apart from the occasional Tesco (and it is very occasional given how much I hate the way that company's gone...), I don't see them at all. They would be the perfect market for them - small pocket money sets were exactly the type of ones I got as a 4 year old that first got me into Lego. Sainsbury's and Asda would do very well from stocking these I think.
    The main reasons for absence of polybags from supermarkets are people in purchasing departments and collectable minifigures. There also other factors: shelf space, margin, sales velocity, display method, desirability, value perception, effect on other items etc.
    catwranglerBaby_Yoda
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,297
    Coops said:
    What do you do with the unopened Lego? Display it?

     I can understand boxed Lego but polybags might be a bit difficult. Could you not just build the Lego but rerese the box and display that? Maybe you could put some loose bricks back in the box to make it sound authentic if someone picked it up and shook it...
    They also work well if you want to display a collection like it is a store:

     

    SumoLegomadforLEGO
  • DB361DB361 UKMember Posts: 188
    bricknation said:
    The main reasons for absence of polybags from supermarkets are people in purchasing departments and collectable minifigures. There also other factors: shelf space, margin, sales velocity, display method, desirability, value perception, effect on other items etc.
    Fair points, but then why do Tesco see potential in them? Also bear in mind that supermarkets generally have too much space now and are trying to fill it with just about anything. And what about Mixels? They were everywhere, and have never really been replaced by anything.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 758
    I have nothing to base this on but I get the feeling polys are given away to retailers depending on volumes of Lego sold, hitting sales targets, running promotions, etc. Compared to the former TRU, Tesco likely doesn't sell all that much Lego. I get to the UK 2-3 times a year and the available selection of Lego in the massive Tesco stores is usually less than 20 different sets. Asda and Sainsburys usually less.

    In contrast, some supermarkets in the US dedicate full aisles to Lego, and those same stores always seem to have a good range of polys.

    The supermarkets here in Belgium usually carry more Lego than Tesco too, though still nowhere near a full selection. And polys occasionally turn up for purchase, though usually as giveaways if you spend €x on Lego.
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,178
    I think polybags are turning up in supermarkets (in the UK) a bit more because we no longer get them for free with newspapers. That's probably why a load turned up in Poundland (for two quid) last Xmas. They were probably stock originally planned as newspaper freebies. Whsmith are missing a trick in not selling them as they were usually where you got the freebie ones and lets face it - who actually buys anything from Whsmith anymore! 
    SeanTheCollectorCCCMr_Crosscatwrangler
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,297
    In fact, WHSmiths were selling them a while back (a few years?). They got the cardboard displays with a selection of 5-6 polys. 

    I imagine they cannibalise  sales of small sets a bit. Why sell another £4 set when you can sell a £10 one? The CMF cater for the pocket money sales.
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,178
    I have given up on CMFs. I am fed up of all these blind bag toys (not just Lego). The prices for buying a toy that you don't even know what it will be are getting ridiculous. I would love for Polybag size sets to be a proper 'thing' like Mixels and the Friends animal sets.
    AleyditadatsunrobbiecatwranglerBaby_Yoda
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 392
    CCC said:
    In fact, WHSmiths were selling them a while back (a few years?). They got the cardboard displays with a selection of 5-6 polys. 
     
    Which I seem to remember were branded as 'Series 1' on the stands, raising hopes this would be an ongoing thing. I'm still waiting, Smith's....
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,421
    bookmum said:
    I have given up on CMFs. I am fed up of all these blind bag toys (not just Lego). The prices for buying a toy that you don't even know what it will be are getting ridiculous. I would love for Polybag size sets to be a proper 'thing' like Mixels and the Friends animal sets.
    I could not agree more. If somebody else steps up with 2/$5 pricing like TRU used to, I might start buying them again, but for $4/each Lego will have to come out with something I really, really want. A set of Looney Tunes figures would work.
    catwrangler
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,421
    CCC said:
    In fact, WHSmiths were selling them a while back (a few years?). They got the cardboard displays with a selection of 5-6 polys. 

    I imagine they cannibalise  sales of small sets a bit. Why sell another £4 set when you can sell a £10 one? The CMF cater for the pocket money sales.
    There could be more profit to be made on polybags than on small boxed sets, and polybags fit better with many check-out line displays because they hang on hooks. I'm seeing an increase in CMFs displayed at checkout in the local Target stores now that they are priced the same as polybags.
    SumoLego
  • Speedman29Speedman29 Brickswell CloseMember Posts: 1,181
    They also make great birthday presents for my daughters school friends parties.
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 1,374
    Didn't we recently learn that they can double as food storage bags too when in a pinch? 
    sid3windrgmonkey76Baby_Yodadmcc0
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