For this post, I believe the pictures are worth the 1000 words. I had the opportunity to go with my 5 year old cousin to the American Girl store on a trip to Chicago last weekend. The trip was for her, but also a social science moment too good to pass up.
What was inside was incredible. Three floors of dolls, accessories, a hair salon, a hospital and a "museum". It's honestly difficult to discern if this is a horrendous marketing scheme or just a good idea gone bad. Teaching young girls about history through dolls is theoretically a good idea. Paying for your doll to go to a hair salon, enjoy a fancy tea and being swept up in the "stuff" of it all is a different experience entirely. The good news, is that there is hope for the economy based on the masses of people there with disposable income spending money on something other than food, gas and housing.
I'll let the pictures speak:
One American Girl doll has an unassuming demeanor. This case full of genetic options (hair, skin and eye color to match that of your 7 year old) is downright creepy.
One might question the choice of this diorama, showing the option to buy accessories and night clothes. Should the American Girl really be sitting spread eagle on a bed with shiny pajamas on? I suppose the American Girl does need to represent all career options for your 7 year old's future.
Yes, they really have a hair salon. You can pay $10-$20 to get your doll's hair done. For an extra $5 you can get the pampering package - a facial scrub and decals on the nails to mimic a manicure. Really.
And finally, representing the incredible attention to detail paid in this space, the bathrooms sport these American Girl doll holders. While you relieve yourself, Kit, Josefina or Nellie can rest easy supported by this ingenious doll holder. Hopefully, nobody will try to use it for their 1 year old.