Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dear Lego

It might not even be safe to write this letter, but I feel I need to do it.  Your power has grown immensely since I was a child.  Somehow, you were able to bring Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Disney, Marvel, and DC comics all under your licensing to make toys.  This is the business equivalent of trying to get two angry dogs to kiss and not getting bitten.  You made a movie that ostensibly was an hour and a half long commercial for your products, and looked like geniuses instead of money grubbing asshats.  The movie had something for everyone, and already has two sequels on the way that people will actually be interested in seeing.  With all that power, would it be so hard for you to do me one favor?  Could you bring back the big red bucket?

Near Christmas, I went into a Lego store with my friend Kentucky Jim.  He was either looking for a gift for his niece, or trying to fill the void in his soul that was left when Hangin' With Mr. Cooper got cancelled.  I really don't pay much attention when he talks, to be honest.  The point of the story is that we went into the Lego store.  Quit getting caught up with the details. 

Anyway, I remember thinking that it was a bit crazy that there was a whole store devoted to Legos.  When I was little, there was just a small part of the aisle set aside for them, near the Lincoln logs, tinker toys, and those bigger fake Legos they made for toddlers.  The only Legos I remember having or being sold when I was of Lego age were sold in a big red bucket with a lid on it.  There were no people Legos, just different colored blocks, some windows, and a few different shaped Legos so you could build houses, or buildings, or anything vaguely  square or rectangle.  Now, there are playsets where you can build whole scenes, including an awesome looking X-Wing that I would have done any number of terrible things for as a child. 

After looping through the store, it struck me that the one thing I hadn't seen was my old favorite.  In the midst of all the glitz and new stuff, there didn't seem to be an option for just a pack of normal building blocks.  Everything was a set based on a movie or some object.  Jim was puzzled as well, because he wanted to get the very same thing for his niece/HWMC withdraw.  He wanted her to be able to use her imagination to build anything she wanted, not be told that she was building the Chamber of Secrets.  Does this sound familiar at all, Lego Corporation?  Is this maybe the theme of a certain movie that is making you lots and lots of money?

Jim shouted hysterically at the clerk, asking where the big red bucket was.  At least I assume he did.  I swear, when he opens his mouth, it's like a high pitched buzzing mixed with the sound of a pumpkin slowly imploding while a middle aged Persian woman hums a tune she wrote to The Wreck of the Hesperus.  Regardless, I had to step in because he was making a hysterical scene, and the preteen looking clerk behind the counter had no idea what we were talking about.  It's as if the big red bucket was put into some Lego Gitmo, never to be seem or talked about again.  He asked two of the other workers, and they didn't know either.  Worse, the only simple package they had that just sold blocks was very small, and cost about as much as the sets.  They suggested he buy her one of the theme sets, and she could use the blocks from that to make whatever she wanted.  Kentucky Jim proceeded to vomit in disdain.

While it is true that kids are going to do whatever they want, with most other activities they are taught to follow the rules.  Draw in the lines, Do Not Pass Go and Collect $200, Simon Says Green Yellow Red BUZZZZZZZ, and don't hit the sides in Operation.  So, if you give a kid a Temple of Doom playset, more than likely they will be Kalima'ing each other and making the little Short Round Lego say vaguely racist things.  They aren't going to use that set to make a boat. 

Look at it this way: Baskin Robbins didn't stop selling vanilla when they got up to 31 flavors, because it is tried, tested, and true.  Does that help you understand?  Well how about this: Did Mark Curry give up when that one woman that isn't famous that was playing his housemate left the show?  No.  He hired that annoying girl from The Cosby Show to fill in, and Mr. Cooper continued to Hang for another few seasons, because the show was about Mr. Cooper, not his housemates.

The Red Bucket is Mr. Cooper, in case you didn't get that.

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