Since 1932, LEGOs have found their way into millions of households worldwide. Whether it’s your seven-year-old child or seventy-year-old father, LEGOs have fans of all ages. One thing puzzling LEGO collectors for years is the availability of extra pieces in their sets.
This revelation has led to a slew of pieces simply lying around in the room collecting dust. The true reason behind these extra blocks is quite surprising. Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to make this situation better for LEGO builders of all levels.
Better Safe Than Sorry
In a feature on Gizmodo, a representative from LEGO discussed why extra pieces can be randomly found in certain sets.
“For two reasons: first, because some pieces are so small that they weigh too little to be measured by their scale, during packaging. Second, it’s better to have too many of those pieces than have one of them missing. Since we statistically know what pieces may get lost, we include some extras when appropriate,” the representative said.
Since 1952, LEGO blocks have mostly come in a 2×1 format with each block weighing a shocking 2.5 grams. With such a small weight, most people won’t notice how many blocks are available at first. On average, a pound of LEGO bricks will arrive with 165 pieces.
This could mean around 10-15 pieces could be extras tossed in for good measure. Knowing what pieces could accidentally be absent is perfect for making customers happy when they begin working on their first or twentieth LEGO set.
Things Go Missing Sometimes
While most LEGO sets come with extra pieces, there have been instances where some sets arrived with pieces missing. While some LEGO pieces are common, some can be a complete pain to find if they’re gone. Some of the rarest LEGO pieces in history include the red Star Wars Darth Vader helmet from 1999, the sand green corner brick from 2000, and the Mr. Gold figurine from 2013. Having one of these pieces go missing could mean going to eBay and dropping hundreds of dollars to make your set complete.
In 2021, one customer named John contacted LEGO about several missing pieces in their Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina set, which features a whopping 3,200 pieces. At a $350 price, this is the most expensive Star Wars LEGO set to date. Seeing missing pieces in such an expensive set can be upsetting for anyone. Contacting LEGO (or any major company out there) can be a daunting task for many people. Millions of people contact LEGO for various reasons, so getting some sort of response can be considered hitting the jackpot.
Fortunately, LEGO responded to John via email in a lighthearted manner that would make any customer smile. “Dear John, Thanks for getting in touch with us and providing that information! I am so sorry that you are missing bag 14 from your Mos Eisley Cantina! This must be the work of Lord Vader. Fear not, for I have hired Han to get that bag right out to you. Have a bricktastic day and may the force be with you,” the company stated. The customer was able to get their missing pieces within a week after sending the email.
In a piece with Inc., LEGO Group CEO Niels Christiansen talked about the company’s desire to please customers. “Shoppers and fans reach out to us for many different reasons,” Christiansen said. “They often share photos of their builds and love for the LEGO brand, but they also get in touch with their ideas, perspectives, and questions about their shopping experience. Often, there is no standard reply we can provide, and our consumer services team are incredible in providing great and personal responses.”
What to do with Extra Pieces
If you have extra pieces, one obvious question is always, “What do I do with these?”
One thing most people do is use them as replacement pieces for their current set. Another great option is to add them to the set for some extra pizzazz. Avid LEGO builders will also throw these pieces on other sets to spice things up. Over time, some builders will accumulate a slew of extra pieces, which will often be put to the side.
If you save up enough pieces from various sets, you could try creating something new with the pieces. Representatives from LEGO would be glad to see what new creations are made from leftover pieces.
In 2019, LEGO unveiled LEGO Replay, which allows people from the United States to donate unused LEGO pieces to various children’s charities. Aside from extra pieces, some individuals have donated full sets to the cause after holding onto them for years. “We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks. The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or donate their bricks. With Replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group.
The program is done in collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach For America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. Since its launch, LEGO Replay has gained over 720,000 pounds of LEGO bricks. Over 100,000 children have been able to unlock their creativity thanks to these generous donations. With various options available, people can give their extra LEGO pieces a second lease on life.