Monday, November 10, 2014

(non) American Girl Girl ~ No dolls for us

My first exposure to the American Girl (AG) doll was one day at the Mall of America (MOA). My parents had just moved to the US and we had taken them on a trip to Minnesota to meet the extended Mike family. One cold day, and aren't most of them as such in MN!, we decided to show them the biggest mall they had ever seen. And so a road trip to MOA ensued. It was right after Christmas but the mall was still dressed up extra special.

After walking around and seeing the usual corporate chain stores, buying a load of holiday chocolates from Lindt which was on clearance after December 26th rolled around, and remarking on the indoor amusement park, we decided to see what else made MOA so special. And thus we found ourselves in front of a three floors store catering just for dolls.

Our jaws dropped and our eyes opened wide. Still new to the culture of American capitalism, consumerism, and retail therapy, we could not comprehend the concept behind such magnification of and dedication to doll, and frankly I still do not understand! We stood in awe of all the effort and detail and attention put into marketing dolls and all their accessories to girls from a young age.

Shoes, underwear, hair brushes, sports gear, casts, wheelchairs and crutches to assist with injuries acquired from using said sports gear, eye glasses, braces, retainers, furniture, books and CDs, and the list goes on for things you could buy for your AG doll once you have settled on your loved one.

And not only that, but your purchasing power allows you to match the doll to yourself and  your interests, or is it the other way around!

We were mesmerized, especially when we saw the price tags! While you could bring home a doll for a little over $100, it was everything that came after that that added up.

One could possibly graduate from college with the money they would potentially spend over the years outfitting and caring for their doll.

Walking through the store cheerful ladies holding their favorite dolls greeted us and asked if they could help us. We saw a long line at one end, and wondered what all these girls were waiting for: their turn at the doll salon! For $12 you could get a professional braid for your doll! For $12 I could have my own hair cut!!! We were speechless! And even more so when we were asked if we had reservations at the cafe and were told there was a wait to be seated! Of course, we waited; I wanted to see what the buzz was about. Whipped cream with sprinkles, bite sized desserts and high chairs and pretend treats for your doll to dine on. It was certainly an experience.

On that day, and during that time, I decided that I was not going to take my family down the AG doll lane should I have a daughter. There may well be other doll lanes that we travel, but this was not going to be one of them. I felt that AG dolls had their own culture and life-style circling around them, were so consumer oriented and that you could do not AG half-way. I saw girls walking around touting their look-alike dolls down to the hairdo and I just did not picture myself doing that with my daughter.

And then I had a daughter!...

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