Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Demise of Legos = The Demise of Childhood

While doing our Christmas shopping this year, I was shocked by the lack of any Lego sets on the shelves at Wal-Mart. When I asked an employee, they took me to the smallest little section of the toy department and said that the last ones they had had were in this section (the building section). There was only one sad little box of Lincoln Logs. Now, don't get me wrong, I like Lincoln Logs and I bought them, but it wasn't what I was looking to purchase. I had promised Junior Bean that we would try to get him the super cool Pirate Lego set we saw advertised on TV. No such luck. As I got home, I mentioned to MemeBean the scarcity of Legos. She responded that she seemed to recall reading that they had either gone out of business or been bought out, so maybe that explained it.

This morning, talking to Kinzi, I was reminded of this and used my best friend google to get to the bottom of the matter. Here's what I found. The article talks about how kids are wanting more and more gadgets and fewer building toys. How sad is that? Do we really need another Princess pretend cell phone? A set of keys that chirp? Another gadget or gizmo? Where does the learning come in? In my house, we need fewer, not more. We have plenty of cute little pretend cell phones. And, while I fell trap to the trend and got the kids games for their V.Smile for their birthdays, at least they are educational. And, I can't buy Legos. What's a mom to do?

The article notes that competition from brands like Mega Blocks with a lower cost structure has hurt Lego. In addition, they spent lots of time chasing trends rather than focusing on their core business. Now, again, don't get me wrong, I like Mega Blocks. In particular, they're the only ones out there that I've seen making Lego-style blocks for little ones (under 3). But, in their range for older kids, they haven't moved into the neat sets where you can build a pirate ship and an island... They just aren't Legos.

As much as I'm frustrated by old people (read that MY age) and their harkening back to the "good old days", in the world of children's toys, I think that the demise of Legos is a sad thing for us all. Personally, I'll shed a tear for the remembered worlds I cretaed in my childhood. I wasn't even very good with Legos, but the things my brother could make out of little colored stackng blocks! How sad for my kids, that they don't have that option anymore...

Happy Legoland!


At 6:22 AM , Blogger Hani Obaid said...

I remember having the Lego set with the green base in 5th grade I think it was, and doing a science project creating a working windmill with Legos, a little engine discarded from another toy, a lollipop and an elastic band :)

Nowadays my brother helps school kids build full blown robots in his free time. Time are a-changin !

At 6:12 PM , Blogger Sam said...

hmmmmmmm that is one thing i have to get for the kids...i though i kept their leggos sets, but apparently i gave them away when we moved to SK:( yeh it is sad how toys are becoming more and more high tech...:(

At 9:12 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I love Legos. I am sure they won't go out of business but maybe restructure. There is too much good in them. Lincoln Logs are good as well. They take a bit more brain to build a really good house and you have figure out the structural intricacies of the layout. I hope your kids enjoy them. We are hanging on to the Legos we have. Saw a pirate ship building thing at one of the Mecca Mall stores for 39.00 jd which I thought was exorbitant. Definately not on sale.

At 10:34 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Hani, times are definitely changing and not always for the best... I miss my Legos, waaah.

Sam, good luck in finding replacement Legos (and skip Wal Mart, been there done that).

Nicole, given the total lack of Legos on the shelves in the US, maybe 39 JDs isn't so bad... Sad.


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