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The fact is that the aftermarket is about supply and demand just like any market and it could be crushed tomorrow given enough people decide to sell their NIB or used sets tomorrow. Call it preservation of the aftermarket and self-preservation of Lego.
In rewarding their fans with discounts, LEGO would still be making money by selling their product at discount. I would imagine they'd rather that than give away something that's cost them to produce than give away for free.
That is wrong and it's that, not the loss of a discount, which should irk anyone. Instead of discounts, Lego should compensate via fixed amount gift certificates or something.
Previously, LEGO benefited from the help of loyal and faithful fans and they rewarded those fans without not actually giving anything away but instead getting an income from doing so. From a fan pov, you're right, giving me a £100 gift card would suit me down to the ground, but I have never felt hard done by when being rewarded discount for helping out. Now, I feel hard done by that they expect something for nothing.....because they know they can. That relationship the fan thought they had with their favourite store appears to have been a one-sided one.
I beg to differ, but 95% of this forum will disagree entirely with you. LOL, this thread wouldn't exist if it were the case.
30% off an exclusive for producing a store model I wouldn't consider being ripped off. 19th signatures and free entry to my workplace on the other had? ;-)
a few months ago lego were doing kids builds in store and left the creations on display for a few hours, days. I suspect that was much more worthwhile for the brand than a showcase, and the kids didnt expect any financial gain in exchange.
That said i can understand the annoyance with the rule change, confusion over sets allowed etc. Im sure that to most showcasers the fact that you have a model displayed is more important than the financial reward, but no doubt thats still a nice show of appreciation that feels worse now its been removed. The idea of giving showcasers/volunteers giftcards rather than discounts seems very sensible to me, it overcomes any issues with exclusives, it gets rid of any chance of possible abuse by buying huge amounts with a discount (there are posts ive seen here of people listing sets theyll buy with a volunteer discount and some did seem to be taking the piss) and means that everyone gets the same benefit regardless of ability to benefit. The discount system does clearly benefit those afols that resell more than others, as does AFOL day etc. In fact, LEGO could just replace the AFOL day, brick friday etc discoubts with a free gift voucher when you make a spend over x amount, limited to one per person. instead of scratching a different disvount you scratch a different gift card amount.
Now, as for the store model example, we're seeing a jumping around here over and over with what these discounts are for and whether outrage over restrictions upon them is warranted. Some are justifiable and some are not.
Assisting in events: Outrage over lack of compensation justifiable but discounts are hardly a fair means to begin with. Outrage should be directed at the lack of any real accountable compensation that doesn't require an expenditure of your money to capitalize upon.
Building a store model: Outrage over compensation is not justifiable since you're getting the experience and enjoyment of doing it anyway. You're still being compensated for something that you enjoyed and Lego could find alternative ways of achieving.
Coupon on the back of catalog: Outrage not justifiable since it's a bonus that Lego doesn't have to offer and doesn't offer to those who may need it more than you. Count yourself lucky you've gotten it in the past and remember that if you still get the discount, you're still getting something for nothing regardless of restrictions.
@cheshirecat Yep, I'm pretty much in agreement. :-)
Maybe you are more sensitive than I am, because most of the feedback I've heard doesn't move the needle in registering as complaints when compared to the type of complaints retailers typically field. You've used "outrage" a few times but I don't see that reaction here and I didn't see it on the ambassador forums. I can't speak for everyone, and in fact only represent my LUG, but our feedback mostly consists of what implication it will have on our participation in the programs (a negative impact) and the sentiment is best characterized as disappointment.
I don't dispute that we can also walk away from the program if we don't find the terms agreeable. We very well may, but first we are informing LBR that might be the case and that the quality of our builds may suffer because it is now harder to justify spending hundreds of dollars on bricks when the incentive has decreased.
What's interesting though is that you say lego haven't discontinued it so they surely see the cost benefit. Yet, they have just changed the rules, seemingly with the result that people think the incentive is reduced. So perhaps they have looked at the benefits and costs (not just financial, but impact on other contracts, pr etc) and decided that the balance wasn't right.
I hear from my local store that many customers ask, "where can I buy that set" and "when is that set coming out" when looking at the LUG displays.
The stores are using space to show off sets that don't exist and can't be purchased.
Despite the reduction of rewards support is still strong. In the store I co ordinate all slots are filled into the spring of next year. It appears to be a popular program with the staff to. There are always very enthusiastic during an install and are eager to find out what is coming next.
I can't comment on how effective it is as a marketing tool. After all once you're in the store they kind of already have you. I always gather feedback on the popularity of a display and not once have I had a negative response.
I do think it can be improved upon. I've recently suggested changes to make it more interactive with customers but only time will tell if those changes can or will be implemented.
Harris Teeter doubles all coupons up to $0.99. A few times a year, they offer double or even triple coupons on coupons up to $2.00. Plenty of families -- mine included -- have grown to rely on those markdowns as part of our budgeting and purchasing habits. If Harris Teeter suddenly stopped offering the coupon doubling, I see no reason why I shouldn't call that change into question and express dissatisfaction with the change.
But as I mentioned there are also expectations of us. It is expected to be a "professional-quality" build. It is expected to suit the display space. Certain topics and elements are prohibited. As a result, many of our LUG's models are built specifically for the window.
Our manager has flatly rejected or asked us to modify some models. To take a page from LegoFanTexas's book, (but use it more appropriately, of course :p ) if they ask something of us, they should offer us something. They seem to realize it's not enough to expect this work from us merely because they offer a place to display it.
You're saying the change is now rebalancing what LBR views the value if this program is. But if that is true, why were ALL discount opportunities affected? If you're saying it's a matter of value, why are Technic sets that carry similar values as some of the excluded sets still allowed? These programs have always stated a maximum allowable discount, and that hasn't been adjusted down. So no, I don't buy that this is simply TLG deciding the program is worthless or worth less.
My prevailing point here is that the rationale hasn't been made known to us and that's why we are asking. You may say that they aren't obligated to provide an explanation, and in isolation you'd be right, but it runs counter to the cooperation and community outreach that TLG expresses interest in maintaining with the fan community.
Just occasionally comments appear to suggest there is a sense of entitlement for all the discounts mentioned in this thread, including showcases, and that just seems too far.
But everyone would still like these AFOL-oriented, exclusive sets to be an option so that they can buy it once in a while. This is why I endeavor to understand the goal to see if there is a workable alternative that stops short of an outright ban. So let's set aside the discounts if you think without them the arrangement is already balanced. I'm curious to hear what value you assign to the "free" promotional display that LEGO would be receiving.
That is a slap in the face to employees.
I ask because it seems that you are stating the later, which if that is the case is an opinion.
I have really only seen in this thread standard venting, annoyance, frustration, expression of anger. Those are all very typical and normal feelings for a change in a long standing policy or expectation. There is nothing not justifiable about that.
People are not stating that Lego has no right to change what they do at anytime. People are reacting to change and expressing an emotion.
Various personalities vent and frustrate differently, and so what may be simply venting to one person may seem louder than the norm to another.
Typical feelkns, though, are normal and justifiable for any change.
It is when we move off typical emotion into atypical, that things become unjustifiable.
Being mad that someone cut you off in traffic? Typical. Road rage against someone that cut you for in traffic? Atypical.
I think most folks would probably agree with your statement about atypical feelings not being justifiable for the lose of a measly 10% that people were never guaranteed anyway.
The difference here comes in that I only see typical, normal feelings expressed on this thread, and that is justifiable IMHO.
The level of resentment from a personal point of view is lessened to some extent in knowing that we are part of a bigger picture, but it's still a kick in the teeth.
Still, I'm sure your current pension plan will work out far better. ;-)
It would be more along the lines of making you buy your own office supplies...
I'm most annoyed that I built a display for a window, drove out to the store to install it, and grabbed an Arkham Asylum off the shelf only to discover that I couldn't get a discount on it. That was the only thing I'd planned on even buying that month. I wasted all that time, effort, and money on gas only to have been bait-and-switched. That is not okay.
First, that should be easy to fix, simply limit 1 per set at the discount price. So they could resell, but not much and not for long.
Second, they could be limited to 5 sets per month at the discount. (or some other number)
Keep in mind that this isn't just $8/hr local store employees, this is everyone from HQ on down.
This perk didn't really cost TLG anything, they are still making money at 30% off RRP, it just takes away something of value to employees.
Will many (or any) quit over it? No, probably not, but it does leave a sour taste in everyone's mouth. It makes them all love the company they work for just a bit less. And that has an effect over time that is hard to measure, but exists regardless.
TLG is well within their legal rights to do this. But then companies act all surprised when employees quit without notice.
Big surprise, treat your employees like dirt and you get the same in response.
Employees are the lifeblood of any business, treat them right and they'll return the favor. They are human beings, not machines.
One interesting item I have been considering, which may or may not be connected...
I have been noticing over the past year that discounts at places are becoming smaller and smaller. In addition, often the discounts are not on as many items as before, especially in regard to 'name brand' items.
Last year I picked up a bunch of name brand school supplies to donate to a classroom when Target hit their clearance. I went back a day later that day, and those particular name brand items were suddenly no longer discounted! I went to another Target, and they let me have them at the discount, BUT they had been told to remove them from the back to school section and put them in the back room not to be sold.
This year was worse, in that they 'prepared' the back to school areas several weeks before one would expect discounts hit. They removed the 'exclusive' or 'name brand' items that one would really want the discounts on, and that I have seen on clearance in the past.
Name brand school supplies are pretty small potatoes when it comes to cost, but when even they are being very particular about allowing discounts, then one has to wonder if part of this is more a global trend instead of simply specific to Lego.
With regard to the staff discount; if reselling sets is an issue they could find a way to limit the purchase to 1 per person as LFT mentioned earlier. Maybe I am missing something, but after ebay/paypal fees and shipping, a 30% discount is not going to generate a lot of income. Sure, they could hold it until retirement, but I'm not sure if a lot of LBR employees can float the capital until that time.
Since this is a retailer, I would think they want their employees to buy and build sets (including exclusives). This gives them something to share with people buying gifts who ask for advice. Imagine hearing an employee respond;
"oh, I haven't built the Ewok Village.... Corporate axed our employee discount on exclusive sets so I haven't been able to buy as many excusives, but it looks nice."
Sure this is hypothetical and I'm sure there are lots of fallacies, but disgruntled employees aren't going to generate much goodwill. I would think LBR would want to encourage employees to use their product.
You acknowledged in both of your examples that downing tools likely has no effect. Therefore expressing your feelings is the course of action to draw attention to your displeasure (even if it might fall on deaf ears).
At least by having your say, even if nothing comes of it, those in a position to make changes will then have additional facts to consider in future decisions - and might decide in your favour.
I have always said it to colleagues in work, if you aren't happy with something you must take it up with superiors, don't just quit in frustration and walk away saying nothing. Otherwise everybody carries on as before, non-the-wiser as to why people continually quit on them, and might never think to ask.
I'm not particularly bothered by the changes personally, but to suggest people who are should make no complaint but instead just walk away is stupid.
Sometimes a voice, a vote, is all we have. So use it, lest it be taken from you.