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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Is Bricklink buying safe during peak coronavirus?

A viewer today asked for my thoughts about a potential LEGO fan safety issue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They have a friend who is abstaining from making part orders on the popular Bricklink marketplace out of fear of contamination, and wanted to know if I felt this was an overreaction.  Below was my response:
"I think everyone has a right to be as safe as they feel they need to.  There's no single right answer.  The fact is, no matter what we do, the majority of people on the planet are going to contract this illness, it's just a matter of when. Even if every country completely "flattens the curve" we're not going to exterminate this virus from existence, we're just slowing its spread so healthcare systems can keep up, while also trying our best to not transmit the darn thing to particularly vulnerable fellow humans that we or others care about.
With respect to Bricklink orders, based solely upon what I've read to date from the scientific community, in the worst case scenario if the sender has the virus and is contagious, viral RNA (which alone is essentially inert) can remain detectable on plastics for up to three days, but whole viruses are certain to have become nonviable more quickly than that.  Even if a contagious Bricklink seller coughed & sneezed directly into the package right before closing it up, unless it's sent via Express mail the chances of the recipient getting infected are probably infinitesimally low.
I think your biggest risk is if the mail carrier is infected and happens to cough directly onto the package right before dropping it off.  Still slim chances. If worried, open the package, dump the contents out, discard the package, then wash hands, exercising normal good hygiene practices along the way.  I think this can all be done very safely.
All that said, again, I think your friend has every right to choose to hold off for the time being, if that's what feels most comfortable to them.  Managing mental health and a psychological sense of safety is important especially when there are other stressors about."
What's your take on the situation? Are you avoiding LEGO purchases and "non-essential" package shipments right now?


  1. I've made an order from bricklink these last few days, but am not entirely sure if it was the right thing to do for another reason entirely: I don't want to be responsible for someone healthy leaving their house to mail a package and getting sick then. (Or someone sick mailing a package and then infecting a postal worker, someone else in the queue, etc, etc.)

    That was a couple of days ago and I'm yet to get any order shipping confirmations: I think I may have to see if people are actually able to ship right now, or if I'll get a refund. Maybe the latter would be for the best after all - I don't want to endanger anyone's health for my MOCs.

  2. Hi Jang, I agree with your answer, but I am not placing any orders for anything and, as of this week, will only be buying groceries using curbside pick up or delivery. The chief health officer of my province, Prince Edward Island, does a press briefing twice daily asking us to stay home except to go for a walk each day and to think each time we leave the house "Is this essential?" (She started shutting done the province shortly after our first case on March 10th. We're at 11 cases this morning all returning travellers with mild symptoms who self isolated.) I can follow her instruction and, like the poster above says, I can do my best to help others minimize their risk by not ordering stuff right now. I am grateful that youtubers like yourself have kept working as watching a few videos on my different hobbies each day does give me a little lift. I hope you, your family, friends and neighbours stay safe. Thank you:)

  3. Just place the package in a safe place (cellar, etc.) for three days. Then you can open it without any risk.

  4. I don't build free form, just collect and build sets but am still ordering. My mum is 72yrs old and checks off pretty much every box on the most at risk list, I'm 45 and have a poor immune system with a disability, so we are being safe about things coming into our house.

    Once our postal driver (Pete had a heart attack a month ago, so I know he's being safe, though back at work in two weeks, take it easy man!), the parcel - both in plastic bags or in a box - is left in an unused lounge area just inside the door for at least 24hrs, then I open the outer box or bag and tip out or lift out the item/s after placing a glove on one hand that only that hand touches the inner items (I wait a day or two if I know something else is coming to save on gloves, but already had them in the house for the rare occasion I have to touch the cat litter tray, very very rare!). The contents are placed in another area for a further 24hrs. After having wiped them over with an antibacterial wipes then then disappear into my increasingly over crowed room. Initial packaging is taken straight back out the front door to bins, hands and front wiped down straight away and further hand washing done at kitchen sink immediately there after.

    As Jang says, you do what you are comfortable with. I'm a OCD germaphobe who never touches door handles in public (oversized longline clothes where made for a reason people!) or to be honest most in the house without washing my hands after, of which I already do a lot of, so handwash shortages have me using bodywash and just telling myself a lot that it's not as good as handwash, but better then nothing or God forbid a communal bar of soap!

    That may seem like over doing it to a lot of people, but it's only slightly more then I usually do. Part of that is OCD but a lot of it is about germs. As awful as what is happening is, the silver lining that may come out of it is that people, especially young people, who are otherwise healthy might start to look at how they interact physically with the world and going forward be more mindful, thoughtful and otherwise kind to the strangers around them. We may well get back to a place where our young might offer help when they see people in need instead of just walking on by and listen when they are asked to stay home rather then going to the beach.

    And yes, 18-25yr olds in Australia are just as thoughtless as those in America, we had beach parties go on here, so the States passed laws to fine people and started doing checks on those that are supposed to be self isolating. Nothing like being fined $1000's and facing possible jail time to motivate people into social distancing!

    Hope you are all well and safe. Keeps your spirits up and reach out to someone you care about or someone you haven't talked to in a long time, especially the elderly, my mum can us Facebook (mostly) but wouldn't have a clue how to Skype or facetime and yet not one of her 11 grandchildren have called to ask if she's okay or needs something and only 1 of them is under 18. Man I'm getting old lol! Sorry for the long post! Be well :)

  5. Bricklink actually has guidelines posted now on the website. Mostly just to let packages sit unopened for a few days. I did get some orders and washed them with soapy water and let them soak. I even sprayed some with hydrogen peroxide and then rinsed them off. From what I understand from Dr. Fauci, is that mail is not a huge concern right now, as long as we are being careful.

  6. It is very low risk for buyer, I think so but sellers are in bigger danger. In my country (Turkey) home pickup services are expensive and small businesses like me have to go to post office. Officers have to deal with so many people in a single day. Sellers have to contact with them. If any post officers is contaminated, you have a great risk for contamination too.

  7. Hey Jang! My name is Josiah and I have been watching your stuff for years! I was wondering if you could do me a favor. It would be just sharing my lego ideas project on your stuff. Here is the link.
    Thanks! - Josiah

  8. Hi Jang, love your work!

    Regarding this, Ive been planning a bricklink order for a few weeks and within that time as you may have heard, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, has become overwhelmed by covid 19. The seller I wish to buy from lives in Melbourne. While Im confident in the safe practices of the seller, do you think it would be wise to buy during this time?

    Furthermore, would it be appropriate to contact the seller asking them to 'leave the order under the counter' so to speak, (if items are sold thats life) until it is felt to be safer?

    1. Hello! From a biological standpoint if you have any concerns about viral transmission via this order, just put the package in a lonely place when you get it, wash your hands, and wait 2 or 3 days before opening it. There's more risk of you getting the virus from your mail carrier than the Bricklink seller. I don't think there's anything at all to worry about if you do the very lightweight, basic quarantine procedure.

  9. Hello! My name is Keith and I am 8 years old. I really like your videos. I am a huge LEGO fan. Thank you for making your videos. I have found a lot of great sets thanks to you.