Pieces of Eight (Hundred)

legoshipWhen my kids were little the hardest toys to get your hands on were Legos. Not boxes full of assorted pieces that force children use their imagination —but the elaborate kits where you build something huge. And by “you” I mean mom and dad.

One Christmas the absolute must-find present on the Christmas list was this huge Lego pirate ship. This was long before the days of online shopping so finding it meant hoofing it to five different stores. No luck.

Next step: call every toy store within a 75 mile radius of Albany. Nobody had it.

I finally managed to track one down at FAO Schwarz in Boston. It was December 23 so I shelled out to have it shipped via FedEx. All 865 pieces arrived just in time. Guess how I spent Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning?

These days the hardest things to get your hands on are some of the the Lego Star Wars kits. These are expensive to begin with, so when you’re under the gun and forced to buy them on eBay you know you’re not going to get a good deal. As Yoda might say, “Pay through the a**, you will.”

Now here’s my consumer tip: if you find yourself in a jam with this stuff get on the phone with one of the Lego stores. In the past they’ve had items in stock that were impossible to find elsewhere —and they’ll ship it the same day.

It’s probably been 17 years since pirate ship Christmas. We still have that ship in our house —but unfortunately it’s in 865 different places.

Have a story about finding the unfindable present? Please share!

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2 responses to “Pieces of Eight (Hundred)

  1. The first year they were available, Nintendo’s Wii was the make-or-break gift for my son. And even tho I work for one of the world’s leading electronics retailers, company policy ‘discouraged’ employees from buying the system until ‘the customer need was completely satisfied’. Thanks, Estb-ay Uy-bay.

    So going against every belief I hold dear…(sigh) You know those nuts you see camped out in front of stores overnight ? Guilty as charged. But in my defense, it wasn’t Black Friday and we still use the Wii today.

  2. I remember helping Nolan assemble a Lego Naboo Starfighter only to have him dismantle it a few days later.

    “What are you doing?!?!” I thought.

    However, he and his brother have since built a plethora of robots, spaceships of their own designs and all sorts of other things from the pieces (and the gazillion other Lego parts we have).

    As for the Wii, most of their favorite games are the Lego ones. This year Santa is bring “Lego Rock Band.”

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