The Politics Of Bulk Orders And LEGO Donations

Ai Weiwei instagram post small

Opinion

Like most adults I have my own political opinions. I don’t share those opinions on this site because Bricking Around is a LEGO blog and I consider that to be a subject that can very easily remain apolitical. It appears that The LEGO Group has a similar view on politics, but it’s getting them in trouble.

LEGO has been in the news this week for rejecting a bulk order for artist Ai Weiwei. The bricks were intended to produce artwork for a show in Melbourne. After the order was cancelled the artist took to social media to blast the move as “act of censorship and discrimination.”

A lot of the news seems to be overinflating the issue; LEGO has not forbidden Ai Weiwei from using LEGO products to produce his artwork, nor have they stated any opinion on his political views. They have rejected an order in an effort to remain apolitical. They are well within their rights as a private company to do so. Discounted bulk orders are not a right that is being denied.

I do not want to weigh in on the artist’s work or views other than stating I don’t think LEGO have done the wrong thing. What I do want to address is all those people out there sending Ai Weiwei free LEGO.This story is about a well known artist wanting LEGO for artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria. If I was in a position to send free LEGO to somebody, that’s not who it would go to.

Christmas is fast approaching and there are kids who aren’t in a position to be finding LEGO under their Christmas tree this year. There are children in homes where they struggle to pay for food. Sending LEGO to Ai Weiwei will help him make his art and you can pay to go see it. Sending LEGO to a disadvantaged child can bring incredible happiness to somebody who may not have had something to smile about for far too long.

Below you’ll find some alternative suggestions for sending LEGO.

Kmart Wishing Tree

Kmart Wishing Tree Small

Each year Kmart work with The Salvation Army to send toys to disadvantaged children via the Kmart Wishing Tree campaign. The 2015 appeal doesn’t appear to have kicked off yet but you can find out more via the Wishing Tree website. http://wishingtree.kmart.com.au/

The Smith Family

Smith Family Toy Donation

The Smith Family provide support for Australian Families. You can learn more about their Toy & Book appeal via their website.
https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/get-involved/give-toys-or-books

Children’s Hospital Foundation

CHF-logo-340w3

If you would like to help sick kids then get in touch with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to discuss toy donations.
http://www.childrens.org.au/

Fairy Bricks

Fairy Bricks

International charity Fairy Bricks supports a variety of children’s hospital’s around the world, including several in Australia.
http://fairybricks.org/

If you know of any other worthy donation options add them in the comments.

Photo via https://instagram.com/p/9Ll1WmKD47/

10 Responses to The Politics Of Bulk Orders And LEGO Donations

  1. Another member of our local Lego club also helps the St Vincent de Paul Society with their donated Lego, by replacing missing or damaged pieces and getting them back to a full set when possible. The sets end up much cheaper than brand new store bought ones and help lots of disadvantaged families.
    So there are lots of real charity options for your old Lego.

  2. John Boxall says:

    Ai Weiwei could always ask for Mega Blocks instead…

  3. Aiem Rilishai says:

    You have your points, he have his points, everyone in the world have points; the world is so pointy it hurts… I was looking forward to playing with my Lego and you made me realize each block have its own points… *sobs* We are… We are so self righteous… *making a Lego version of me and pushing it off the top of my Ewok Lego village*

    • Michael says:

      I’m sure there are plenty of parents that wish LEGO didn’t have so many points when they step on them.

      Maybe the LEGO version of you could help the LEGO Ewoks instead of being pushed off a tree?

  4. Ryan says:

    how do you even order lego bulks?

    • Adam says:

      Contacting the corporate office, I’d guess.

    • Xenoliths says:

      Lego Certified Professionals can bulk order directly from Lego – Ryan McNaught is the only LCP in Australia that I am aware of. But this comes with rules about what type of thing he can build – so you won’t see real war themes, or alcohol, or illegal activities etc etc. Lego is, after all, primarily aimed at children, and the LCPs have to operate to those guidelines as they are effectively brand ambassadors in all but name. Lego also offers a program called LugBULK which members of officially Registered Lego User Groups (RLUGs) can bulk source parts. This comes with its own set of rules, but those don’t relate to what you build out of the parts.

  5. KT says:

    Thank you so much for this post, I share your sentiments too. I’m rather disappointed with the strong stance some people have against the decision made by LEGO. All made worse by the terrible (sensationalised) reporting by some news outlets all in the name of a story.

  6. Mark says:

    Well said Michael. Regardless of political or personal views on censorship and freedom of expression I don’t think anyone could mount a rational argument against what you have conveyed here.

  7. Please leave Lego out of politics says:

    Well said Michael.

    This so called “artist” seem to have a skewed logic, and in the 1st place, has dubious motives to use Lego’s reputation to his advantage – promote his own ideological view.

    The logic comes down to this: Jack is selling one set of curtain in his house. Bob comes in and say “everyone loves your curtain, I need a bulk order for all curtain in your house so I can create “art” to show people my good taste. Jack politely says no, and bang, Bob spits the dummy and blasts Jack in social media as “act of censorship and discrimination”. Feel like moral blackmail (inappropriate one that is) or a kindergarten act.

    Everyone has their own views, however I will refrain to impose those views (especially political ones) to others, or call anyone names, let alone an serious accusation such as “act of censorship and discrimination”.

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