American Girl Place Mocks 6 Year-Old For Having A Doll From Target, Refuses To Style The Doll's Hair

This story is just heartbreaking. We feel really, really bad for this little girl. Etta saved all her money and purchased a pretty doll from Target named Gracie. When she was invited by her friend to bring her doll to American Girl Place for a “doll hairstyle” she was thrilled…until the stylist chided her for not having a “real” doll and refused her business.

From Etta’s Mom’s Blog:

“Come spend a day you’ll never forget!” the website promised. And boy did you deliver.

Frommers Guide to New York says “don’t forget to bring [your] favorite doll so it can get a makeover at the store’s own doll salon.” I know it’s craaaaazy that a Target fake (that cost only $29.99 of Etta’s real saved money!) would be her favorite doll but it was.

At least it used to be.

Back when she thought it was real.

“This isn’t a real doll!” the stylist exclaimed. (Thank your stylist!–we never would have had the heart to explain it that way!). And to prove that a fake doll isn’t worth the plastic she’s molded out of, she refused to do the doll’s hair.

I’m not sure exactly what’s in it for your company, because you still stood to make $20 off of my daughter for doing the fake doll’s hair. I have two thoughts on that. Either her $20 wasn’t worth the same as someone else’s $20 (in which case I’ve learned something new too!) OR it was worth the $20 to you to be able to be the one to break the news to, I mean, to *enlighten* my little girl. You do promise to teach little girls, don’t you?

And she cried and cried and cried, and your stylist held her ground. That was a good lesson for her too. That feelings don’t have a place in “the heart of Manhattan’s prestigious shopping neighborhood” (another quote from your website).

This makes us feel terrible. Really terrible. We had a fake Cabbage Patch Kid when we were small. Our parents weren’t about to wait in line and punch other people just to buy a doll, so we made due. We loved that fake doll, and can’t imagine how terrible we’d have felt being publicly humiliated in front of “Real Cabbage Patch Kid” owners:

And did you realize how loyal to you all the other mommies in line were? You’d have been proud of them.

One chided Etta for not knowing she couldn’t bring a fake doll to the store. Tsk tsk. She’s in first grade now and can read by herself (taught herself, in fact). She probably should have done the research. There’s another great lesson for her. (Thanks mom in line!)

One mom muttered to another that Etta probably couldn’t afford a real one. Great hunch! She’s six!

One mom just smiled and said “Well, American Girl Dolls aren’t for everyone, you know.” A sentence cleverly crafted to make Etta feel like someone cared about her but also to be aware that she really didn’t belong there in your fancy store with the other, richer, better girls. How compassionate!

Mean! —MEGHANN MARCO

Fake, out. [One of those horrible moms] (Thanks, Matt!)