When I was a little girl, American Girl dolls were so cool. My best friend and I were obsessed with them. We both read the books and talked about how much we wanted dolls of our own, and poured over the catalogs, pointing out all the accessories we’d get when we finally got our dolls.
We both read the books, too. My best friend liked Samantha, whereas I was a Kristen and Molly girl. I liked the Molly books the best, but I wanted a Kirsten doll because she looked like me (duh!). Every time the catalog would come (which was often), I would beg and beg and beg my mom to buy me one.
Pssh! That never happened. My parents learned their lesson about buying me expensive things when I was four years old. They bought me a really nice gold locket – and I proceeded to stick it in my mouth and chew on it whenever I wore it. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything expensive since then, except maybe my car.
But my best friend eventually got her Samantha doll, and we spent some time playing with her, which mostly involves dressing the doll up and talking about the books. It didn’t take long for me to realize, even at a young age, that the dolls weren’t all they were cracked up to be. They just made you want to buy even more accessories for them – and the catalogs certainly provided enough of those for us to yearn for.
It’s not that I didn’t play with dolls. I had Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls – it-s just that I realized American Girl dolls were so friggin expensive, you couldn’t really do anything with them, for fear you might damage them. On my Cabbage Patch doll (which was reasonably priced since I was years younger than the craze period), I had no qualms using her hair to teach myself to braid. But American Girl doll hair was so delicate and pretty looking, I wouldn’t have dared style it myself.
What fun is that? A doll you’re afraid to play with?
Still, even today, the idea of owning an American Girl doll is pretty ingrained in my psyche. Maybe it’s because I loved the books so much. Or maybe it’s some residual jealousy that my best friend got one, and I never did. Or maybe it’s just ingenious marketing having left a permanent stamp on my impressionable brain. I. Still. Want. One.
Or at least, I did, until five minutes ago. Then I saw this post on Consumerist: American Girl Place Mocks 6 Year-Old For Having A Doll From Target, Refuses To Style The Doll’s Hair (which describes the blog post “Fake Out” by blogger “One of those horrible moms”).
Oh. My. God. There aren’t even words to describe my disgust. At this moment, I’m ashamed this company got my family’s money for the books, and I’m thanking all of my stars that I never put out the $80 or whatever it was for a full-blown doll.
I was actually looking forward to the idea of someday, in the far, far, distant future, maybe having a daughter and getting her one of these dolls. Or maybe even buying one for my niece in a few years (she’s two years old right now).
No way, now! Forget it, American Girl – you’re dirty. This also falls under my category of “Not Understanding Companies That Make It Difficult For You To Give Them Your Money.”