Last week, I was contacted by a father who lives in Canada with a concern regarding the LEGO Monthly Mini Builds. I was planning on sharing our conversation next week, but with next month’s LEGO Monthly Mini Build registration around the corner, I thought I’d bring this up today. He was wondering when did LEGO make it policy to start asking parents to bring ID for their kids to participate in the LEGO Monthly Mini Builds?
This was the email I received from my reader:
My son and I went to the mini build last night, and I have some bad news – it appears they’re going to enforce the “6-14” age rule, as we were told that we’d have to bring ID next month. This was at the Edmonton, AB Southgate Mall store; they said word came from head office.
This was complete news to me, since I had never heard of an ID requirement for kids. He went on to explain that the store manager at the Edmonton store told him he would be required to bring a birth certificate or a passport to prove his child’s age. He was also told if he was caught lying, they may be turned away from the build. That’s what prompted him to reach out to me.
This is the letter he sent to LEGO after his discussion with the store manager, which he kindly shared with me:
I took my son to the mini-build last night, and he had a blast making the hedgehog; it was his first time doing it, and unfortunately it’ll be his last, at least for awhile. The problem is that he’s 4, and previously we were told that the “6-14” was a soft rule, and he’d be allowed as long as he could build it himself (which he could – he built the Lego Dimensions portal by himself, among other “older kid” sets). The staff at the Edmonton, AB Southgate Mall location told everyone at sign-in that kids would require ID next month, and the “6-14” rule was going to be enforced, as word had come down from head office.
Kids like my son are a bit lost when it comes to the Lego products, especially when age limits like this are enforced. He’s very spatially-aware, and loves making the Lego sets along with his own creations (he even studies the instructions after they’re complete!). Lego is such a wonderful toy for fostering this skill, and promoting creativity, and he pretty much plays with it from waking up until going to bed. The junior sets, which are aimed at him, don’t offer him much challenge.
It would be awesome if Lego would consider a parental waiver that could be signed in order to allow younger kids the opportunity to participate in the mini-builds. Maybe you could have a special time slot for younger builders to gauge interest (the first hour?). As you know, the mini-builds can’t be purchased on their own, and my son always seems interested in the sets (they’re pretty awesome). The hedgehog has already been converted into 4 or 5 things this morning :D Plus, we always seem to spend money in the store whenever we visit.
I realize that rules are rules, and I doubt anything will change regarding the age limits, but I also know that you’ve made a number of changes to the mini-builds in the past, so I wanted to provide feedback. Also, I have nothing but praise for the Southgate Mall staff. They are excellent, every time we visit.
Thanks for listening!
I found this all very interesting and wondered exactly how LEGO was planning on enforcing id. After all, here in the States, kids don’t get a form of identification until they get their driver’s permit…unless they need a passport at which time they would get an ID. The reader said the store manager told him to bring a passport in lieu of an ID.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in toting around my kids birth certificate just for this event. I did speak with my local store manager and he pointed out that because my reader is in a different location, they may have different rules.
And I just want to clarify one thing…this parent understands that there are rules. He followed up with the store again and had this to say:
Well, I stopped in at the Edmonton store and spoke to the assistant manager, and I got what’s likely the whole story.
So, we know that Lego had changed some things to make it harder for kids under 6 to participate. The Edmonton store was still in the “soft rules” stage, but had to make it more firm due to demand. He said that they filled up their 300 spots in 15 minutes, and had a wait list of 550+ kids. Part of the age crackdown is so they can accommodate the kids who the event is meant for by bumping the younger kids (some of which can’t even build the sets themselves).
I think that explanation makes sense. It’s a bit like being in the express (9 items or less) lineup and seeing someone with 30 items in front of you. It’s not fair to the ones that play by the rules. I’ll just have to wait a year and a half when my son turns 6. January 2016, we’ll be doing the mini-build!
Guess we’ll just have to buy some of the cheaper sets until then.
And what he found out was what I figured was happening. Too many kids and not enough spots, so the store was trying to ensure appropriately aged kids got a chance to build. This may not be what is going on in all stores, but if you have a very popular store and if you have a kid who doesn’t look of age, you may begin to encounter this request.