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Secret LEGO: what stores don’t tell you…

(Written by William)

When you go to a major outlet for LEGO needs, like Toys’R’Us or an official LEGO store, you can get a little frustrated if they don’t have what you want. Many times you will have to go out of your way just to get to these places. This is especially true with the official LEGO Store.

Fortunately, there is an option for those of us who desperately need that particular hard-to-find set. Stores like Toys’R’Us and the LEGO Store do offer free shipping to your home if you order at the store. You will still need to pay sales-tax for the store’s location, but in general this is a good way to capture a good sale that is happening in the store when they don’t have the items you want in stock.

Now before you go off and make your dream-list, there are a few things you might want to keep in consideration. This may require a little homework on your end. 😉

Make Sure it’s Available Online

Stores do have special connections with their distributors. However, their hands are just as tied if something is not available online. They can provide discounts and free shipping, but they can’t create LEGO when there’s none to be had.

This is an easy thing to prepare for. Before heading out to your favorite LEGO-supplier, simply go to that store’s website. If the item says available then things should be smooth sailing for you. If not, then there will definitely be a problem.

Problem with Cross-Promoting

Another problem that may arise involves a sale that requires the purchase of multiple items. For instance Buy One Get One 50%/Free/Misc. Discount is a typical sale that is run on LEGO products.

The problem with these sales is that they can only be applied to items in the store or items online. You cannot cross the sale and buy one thing in the store and one thing online. Of course, some store managers may help you out with a nice deal. However, that is no guarantee and does not follow store policy in most cases.

In fact, stores will only let you place an online order if and only if the item is not in stock at that store. This is why it may be a good idea to call the store ahead of time before going out. Things change on a daily basis so the more recent your information is the more affective your actions can be.

Speed up the Search

When it’s time to talk with an employee at a store, it’s best to be fully prepared. For example, talking with the people at the LEGO Store is easy. They will only need a rough description of what the set is to identify it. They can also give recommendations on other sets that may interest you.

Toys’R’Us, on the other hand, will need a bit more help. Even the name and set number provided by LEGO will not help at times. This is when you need to provide a separate identification number. To find the one for Toys’R’Us start by finding the item you want on the website. Then scroll down to where you see tabs like “Description” and “Additional Info”. Click on the “Additional Info” tab. The first number listed should be a six digit number. This is the number you want to use. There is no way they can mess up finding the item if you have this number.


Make sure you know what’s current and what you want when looking for a set. Know that an empty shelf in a store does not have to mean you’re out of luck. By ordering through a store, you won’t have to miss out on rare LEGO sales that would otherwise be impossible to capitalize on. Remember that asking will get you answers!

Good luck! 😉

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • brickmaster July 6, 2011, 9:07 PM

    Thanks for this! Good to know! Just to clarify; so if one of the sets I want is at the store and the other one they normally carry but they ran out of, I cannot have the missing one shipped?

    • Will July 7, 2011, 3:33 PM

      That is correct. If you’re going to have it shipped, it either needs to be sold by itself, or if you’re combing a sale, both items need to not be in the store.

      Also, I forgot to point out that Toys R Us tends to increase the price on LEGO by 10%. However, if you’re on the ball, this price increase usually comes a week after they start selling the product. So if you get within the first week of selling and they have a sale, and they’re not in store, you can still manage to get a really great deal sent to your home for free, without the price hike.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • brickmaster July 7, 2011, 5:26 PM

        Thanks, Will!

  • LegoMom July 7, 2011, 5:45 PM

    Thanks for this info! It is so disappointing to take the kids to TRU, only to find that the sets they wanted are gone! But we never bothered to ask! As you said; asking will get you answers! Gotta remember that! 😀

    • Will July 23, 2011, 11:18 AM

      Yeah, the last thing I want to find is that I’ve taken all the time and energy to get there, only to find they have everything but the one I want. I’ve started getting into the habit of simply calling ahead, with the item number. This has saved me a whole lot of time and gas, even though I have to wait on hold for a while. This is also how I found out about ordering through the store. When I was lucky enough to talk to one of the store managers.

      One other thing that I forgot to mention that applies to TRU is that if they are ever having a special offer like a free LEGO set with a purchase of X amount of dollars, 9 times our of 10, you’ll be able to simply ask to purchase it. Even if they don’t have it out on the floor. The price of these will usually ranged between $1.99 and $3.99 and they’re less likely to mark-up the price on them.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • admin July 26, 2011, 5:15 PM

        Will, a friend of mine in New York reported a few weeks ago that the Jack Sparrow fig that was given away for certain size purchases could also be purchased separately for 1 cent! 😯

        Of course he bought them all! 😆

  • Giza July 8, 2011, 11:28 AM

    Will, I believe at the LEGO store you can have items shipped that they are out of but is part of a sale, and pick up the ones that are available. Is it not?

    • Will July 23, 2011, 11:20 AM

      That’s something I haven’t tried at the LEGO store. I recently purchased things that they didn’t have and got the free shipping, but they currently had no combination sale so I couldn’t test that theory. I’ll keep it in mind to ask next time I go to the store.

  • Andrew Burton February 6, 2013, 2:43 PM

    how do i speacial order a lego star wars set?please contact me at email a.s.a.p thank you.

    • admin February 6, 2013, 2:58 PM

      Andrew, I’m not sure what you mean by special order. You can just go to LEGO’s website to order any recent LEGO Star Wars sets you want. Links are in the right-hand side-bar. 😉

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