Friday, June 27, 2008

LEGO Retail Store at Brickworld2008- Part I

Visiting a mall after all of the stores have closed is like walking into a zombie movie or a Kevin Smith flick. You never know if the undead or Ben Affleck is waiting around the corner. It's also lit impossibly well by buzzing fluorescent lights and could be anywhere in America.

As I stepped on the escalator at the Northbrook Court Mall, the first thing I heard was a crackling, a fire getting started. When the escalator steps reached the second floor, I saw the beginning of the line into the LEGO retail store. The crackling was the buzz of conversation as adult fans of LEGO discussed potential set purchases, "Green Grocer," and "Indiana Jones" being popular choices.

The store would be opening late for the attendees of Brickworld2008 and the employees seemed a bit overwhelmed by the crowd. The group I was with walked to the back of the line, which stretched for several hundred people and was growing at an alarming rate.

"What's this for?" asked a teenage girl as she walked by with her friends.

"Brickworld," said the store representative before launching into a complicated explanation of discounts and shipping orders.

"Oh," said the girl, quickly losing interest in the hundreds of adults streaming into the mall for a chance to pilfer the inventory of a toy store.

The line began to move briskly until the store reached capacity with 100 fans grabbing and clawing through bricks. I was stopped near the front of the line until someone left with their purchases- the LEGO employee at the door operating like a club bouncer in a bright yellow apron. It was one in and one out, under the watchful eyes of two of Northbrook's finest, on hand for crowd control.I watched the frenzy as people grabbed discounted sets and began to fill from the Pick A Brick tubs (loose pieces that you can grab and buy in bulk). And I wanted to get inside and join them. Part two: Inside the Store comes Monday.

Photo by Nannan Z.

1 comment:

Brian Jay Jones said...

Great post, Jonathan. I'm reminded of the Lego store at Walt Disney World where, much to my later dismay, I passed on the 5,000+ piece Millenium Falcon, and have never seen it again.

The coolest tchocke for sale? A keychain with a Lego man on it! By far.