So today was an absolute shambles for Australian and New Zealand LEGO fans who were waiting for the highly anticipated LEGO Ulysses Space Probe reward to go up online on the LEGO VIP Rewards Centre.
Update: You know you dun goofed when Brickset gets mad.
There is a lot of rage, frustration and disappointment flowing through the ANZ fan community, and it was especially frustrating for me as well, judging by the conversations happening on the Jay’s Brick Blog Facebook page.
But first, a recap of the day’s events!
Confirmation that the Ulysses Probe was coming
Yesterday, Australian LEGO fans were sent a little surprise email from LEGO VIP, confirming that the Ulysses Probe was on the way. No details, or timing were given and I had to ring up customer service for confirmation and timing and we were given a date and time – 14/4 at 9:00AM AEST!
The morning of 14/4 – trouble is brewing
So we wake up, all ready to spend our hard-earned LEGO VIP points, but trouble had already began brewing.
For one, the VIP Rewards Section got incredible slow and glitchy, with individual rewards not showing up, and the website generally working really slowly, with people having issues even logging into their LEGO account.
It was probably heaving from eager fans refreshing the VIP Rewards Centre, and websites get funny when under high traffic loads. Remember when this blog was down at Christmas for a few days because the traffic crashed my site?
9:00am comes… and then nothing
It’s go-time, and most people refreshed the second the time ticked over to 9AM but the Ulysses Probe is nowhere to be found!
9:30am passes, and more refreshing occurs. The VIP rewards site is as slow as a turtle.
10:00am – nothing.
11:00am – nothing.
I post a funny photo and snarky caption on Facebook and thoroughly enjoyed the GIFs and chatter. Thanks to all readers for making the conversation fun and lighthearted.
Group chats are going off with speculation of what is happening, and local LEGO Groups are also chattering away.
The Ulysses Probe finally shows up – at 12:22pm!
Some people probably gave up after 3 hours of refreshing the page, or some people probably had to get on with their day. Some of us actually have jobs and not all of us are lucky enough to work from home, or from a computer with easy access to the internet, or our mobile phones.
I was ducking into Microsoft Teams calls and Zooms here and there, so I wasn’t just mindlessly refreshing, and at a few times were I was busy – I terribly feared that I would’ve missed out.
At 12:22pm (according to reader reports), the Ulysses Probe finally shows up! Late, but worth the wait. I scramble to hit the Redeem Button (bye bye 1,800 points!) and lock mine in.
With how much of a shitshow this has been and fearing that LEGO might screw inventory up, or accidentally oversell Ulysses Probes, I then put an order through for the Space Shuttle to capitalise on Double VIP points, and also ensure that I’d get my probe.
Sold out at 12:55pm!!!
About half an hour later, the Ulysses Probe sells out, much to the disappointment of people not able to refresh the page constantly, or weren’t glued to my Facebook page.
Sorry, tough luck, you’ve missed out on this pretty cool VIP reward. Better luck next time.
This is an old photo of mine from 2016, but I think this is the closest I can imagine what the LEGO IT/Digital department must look like.
As I write this, updates are flying through my feed and it seems those in the UK and Europe are also having issues redeeming the Ulysses Probe.
This isn’t a post to talk about solutions, or the changing paradigm of limited edition, artificial scarcity strategy that LEGO seems to be employing with the LEGO VIP Program.
It’s actually funny (and somewhat prescient), but Richard and I were discussing this very issue on Episode 1 of our Extra Pieces Podcast, but I don’t have the energy to talk about solutions, ramifications and the “why” behind this.
I still maintain that LEGO absolutely messed up with this, and they should’ve given this out as a Gift with Purchase with the Space Shuttle.
This post is just here, to document the shambolic chain of events, and preserve how I feel about all that transpired today.
I am really sorry if you missed out – it’s not nice, and totally unfair to have something not go live when promised. Many people just gave up after awhile and I don’t blame them because we all have busy lives and priorities.
To those that managed to get one and I hope I helped a few of you get one through updates on my Facebook page, I’m really glad I was somewhat able to help.
For those of you in the USA waking up to this, please prepare accordingly, because I can guarantee that it’s not going to go perfectly, so strap in for a long bumpy ride redeeming the Ulysses Probe.
Look at what people are selling the Ulysses Probe on eBay for!
Update 2: Double LOL
For those of you in the USA, the Ulysses Probe is meant to go up on LEGO.com at 9:00am EDT. Good luck and godspeed.
What do YOU think of this? Did you miss out, or did you manage to get one before they sold out? Are you in the future checking in on this and want to vent? Please let me know your feelings in the comments section and I will absolutely ensure they get passed on to LEGO directly.