Parents Fall to Pieces Over Unassembled Toys
Construction toy sales booming, but then you have to build them
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2009 11:35 AM CST
A girl assembles a Lego Star Wars toy.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Toys that required assembly were once an end in themselves, and their elaborate instructions made the process fun. These days, parents shopping for their kids don’t have much of a choice. “Toys do have more parts today,” a store owner tells the New York Times. Shipping flat and not assembling at the factory “keeps the costs down. It’s the Ikea model.” But even parents who appreciate the savings have that distinct Ikea feeling when they open the box. "Just looking at the Lego packages makes me cringe," says one.

Construction toys are the antithesis of electronic games, and the drive to tear children away from computer screens has pushed sales up 21% in the last year, even as the industry overall declined. But those numbers are cold comfort if, say, you’ve dropped $399.99 on a Death Star Lego set with 3,803 pieces and your child loses interest in building it herself. Another growth area: customer service hotlines.