Friday, April 18, 2014

TWIL #7: Mini-Figure Surprise

This has been one of those weeks where I find myself asking "Where did the week go?" I can't believe that it's Friday already. 

So other than spending time with Aria on her birthday and writing about her party what did I do this week? Well, I won't go through the entire week but I will mention a series of events that gave me a pleasant surprise in the world of Lego.

Tuesday I drove to Nashville for the 3rd time in less than two weeks. I had to return the costume I wore at Aria's party. I also made my "mandatory" stop at the Opry Mills mall. The Lego Store and Disney Outlet Store were once again my only destinations. 

I know this is difficult to believe but I did not buy anything at the Lego store; not even a cup filled from the "pick a brick" wall. 

But while I was there I asked about the release of the new Simpsons mini-figure series in a couple of weeks. The employee I asked told me that they would be available when the store opened on May 1. 

He also mentioned that a customer had claimed that the Simpsons series blind packs were already available at WalMart. I didn't think anything of it. I'd looked for a new series of mini-figures in stores only a day or two prior to the scheduled release date in the past and came up empty. 

I thought that if the Walmart claim was true it was probably an anomaly. In addition, I knew that if they were being sold early they were already gone. 

The next day while doing some grocery shopping at Walmart in Bowling Green, in what I considered an act of futility, I crossed the store to the toy section.  I had never found Lego mini-figures at this Walmart even after they were being sold at other major retail outlets. 

I walked down the aisle that displayed the Lego products and all the other building block toys. Among the Chima, Star Wars, Creator, City, Super Heroes and Duplo brands I saw no sign of mini-figure packages. Near the end of the aisle among the Kinex sets was the light blue cardboard box with the Lego logo and the Simpsons' mini-figure packets.  

There were a few packs left in the box. Two weeks before they were even supposed to be sold I was looking at 8 yet-to-be-discovered characters included in Lego's first ever commercially licensed mini-figure set that could be mine. 

I scooped them up as fast as I could and headed for the check out counter. Soon I was sitting in the driver's seat of my car, opening my new mini-figures with the pair of scissors I keep in the dash for just such an occasion. Here's what I opened.  

In case you don't recognize these characters I'll name them front to back from left to right: Grampa Abraham Simpson, Ned Flanders, Crusty The Clown (2nd row) Millhouse Van Houten, Ralph Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (Partially blocked by Flanders), (3rd row) Scratchy the cartoon cat. 
I now have 7 of the 16 figures in the set. The eight figure was another Apu. 

Later in the week, I went to the other Walmart in Bowling Green and the Target store but didn't find any Simpsons packs. I called the Walmart in Glasgow but they didn't have them either. 

It seems that the Walmart distribution centers only sent stores one box of the product early. My best guess for this would be to judge how quickly they would sell. But that's pure conjecture on my part. 

So now I have to wait a couple more weeks to try and finish my collection. But this gives me the opportunity to study the pictures of the figures I need. 

I can make notes about the unique tactile qualities so I can identify them by feel and only buy those I need. I can also keep watching on the internet for news about the bump codes on the back of the packages. I did very well with the last series figures from the Lego Movie using these tactics earlier this year.

If you are a collector of any kind of item or product and have ever waited for the release of new products then you know how exciting this week was for me. It was quite a surprise to get a highly anticipated Lego product two weeks early.That adventure made it a great week for me in Lego. 

Now I look ahead with plans to be at the entrance of the Lego Store on May 1 at 10AM to restart my search for the Simpsons again. I look forward to opening new packs and finding the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie figures to add to my collection.  

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