Why do Lego "build this particular thing" kits always have a few extra parts?
September 16, 2010 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Why do Lego "build this particular thing" kits always have a few extra parts?

I've been building Lego things for many years--both by myself as an adult before I had kids and with my son. Today, my son stayed home sick from school, so I picked up a small Lego Star Wars kit when I was at the store. After he put it together (correctly, I'm sure), I noticed that there were two parts left over. This made me think that there always seems to be a few left over.

Given that missing or wrong parts would be a pretty big crisis in Lego kits and that I've never (maybe once?) seen it, Lego must have good processes for putting the correct parts in kits, so I'm thinking it might be intentional for some reason.

Or maybe I'm just over-thinking it (on MeFi!?!?!?! Say it ain't so!!!): their processes are simply good at putting at least the correct number of the correct parts in kits, and they accept the occasional extra part as no problem.

Am I just suffering from confirmation bias? Have you experienced this? If so, why do you think this is?

Thanks for helping me answer this great mystery of the universe.
posted by tippiedog to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
 
This was the first google result for me. A gizmodo article with answer straight from Lego.

Why did I always have pieces left over when I built my castle sets? Do they just do that to jack with kids?
For two reasons: first, because some pieces are so small that they weigh too little to be measured by their scale, during packaging (you will see this when I publish the factory tour. J.) Second, because 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.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:08 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most recent sets I've bought have a few extra pieces of the smaller bits...single stub parts and stuff like that....I imagine they are there just in case you lose one or two.
posted by AltReality at 12:08 PM on September 16, 2010


They're spares.
posted by John Cohen at 12:10 PM on September 16, 2010


I bought two identical small kits a couple of weeks ago. One kit had no extra parts. One kit had two extras (duplicates of other parts).

So I think it may be the case that, as you say, their processes err slightly on the side of too many parts.

Unlike Ikea. I've bought dozens of things from Ikea, and never have I had a single item missing or left over.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:11 PM on September 16, 2010


It's true that the leftover parts in the kit my son put together today were very small.
posted by tippiedog at 12:23 PM on September 16, 2010


Once upon a time, the extras were not all duplicate parts. The kits would have ideas pictures of other things you could build with the set, and a few key pieces were added when they could greatly improve those models. Nowadays though, lego kits don't provide readymade alternatives much, if at all.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:01 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nowadays though, lego kits don't provide readymade alternatives much, if at all.

.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:36 AM on September 20, 2010


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