Monday, June 30, 2008

LEGO Retail Store at Brickworld2008- Part 2

I'm staring at a LEGO store employee that looks impossibly like Dustin Diamond, better known as Screech from "Saved By the Bell." While I'm trying to figure out what Screech is doing in a suburban Chicago mall, the employee at the door waves me inside even though nobody has yet exited.

I walk in and I stop five steps later. The store is packed with LEGO fans, carrying arm loads of kits and cramming brick pieces into empty white cardboard boxes that sell for $150 a pop. There is the excited buzz that I always imagined was reserved for the adolescent winners of toy store shopping sprees. I blurt that out to a forty-something guy, wearing a yellow LEGO t-shirt.

"It's like a shopping spree you always dreamed of as a kid," I say to him, stepping aside as a pair of teenage boys walk past excitedly pointing to the Indiana Jones sets.

"Except you've got to pay for it when you get the bill next month," he responds laughing and walks toward the back of the store where a LEGO employee has just emerged with a handful of Green Grocer sets, in an attempt to try and restock the store. The employee will never even reach the shelves in the front.

I'm experiencing stimulus overload, so I mostly stand in the middle of the store like a child hoping he isn't really lost. I'm struck that despite a lack of personal space, I don't see one angry face or hear a terse word. This is what bliss feels like.

I eventually settle on buying a Pick A Brick cup, an over-sized, clear cup that you can fill with whatever loose bricks and pieces are available for $15. A savvy LEGO collector can stock up parts well below retail or aftermarket cost. I am not savvy, but I can pretend. I marvel over bright orange 1x4s and translucent blue 2x2s. I load up on white plates, window frames, and 1x1 headlight bricks. As Mr. Barnum would say, "I'm the sucker born right this minute."

An hour later and I've reached the front of the line. I place my Pick A Brick cup and two LEGO separators on the counter.

"What do we have here?" says the guy, working the counter.

"That's everything," I shrug.

"This is kind of anti-climatic," he says, gesturing to the two gargantuan sales bags that the person in front of me is still struggling to carry from the store.

"I know," I admit, "But we can pretend that I just helped you reach your sales goal for the quarter."

He half-laughs, in the way you humor someone you will interact with for a short period of time, but don't find especially funny.

"Shouldn't be a problem. Okay. Have fun at the convention." And with that I walk out of the store $19.61 poorer.

1 comment:

tot_lug said...

I'm so glad we could contribute to your delinquency. :-)