I dislike a lot of things: bugs with more than four legs, the sound of snow crunching, Justin Bieber, and chocolate raspberry anything. I hate when the garbage smells like a dead body is rotting and it’s four more days until collection day. I hate toddler underwear with skid marks, when my DVR screws up and when I realize I forgot four necessities AFTER I’ve returned from the grocery store. I hate The Octomom, Kimye and Beyonce’s thighs. And, I hate NBC for canceling Smash.
But I loathe the American Girl Store.
I loathe it so hard that just thinking about the place makes me twitch.
Pink and red everywhere.
Plastic, scary dolls looking at me from every. single. angle. with names like Felicity and Patience and Chastity and Harmony and You Are Special.
Little girls swooning over dolls in period clothing that no self respecting Laura Ingalls would EVER wear (I’m looking at you, Josephina).
Grandmothers wandering around with open purses and excitedly buying entire wardrobes of clothing for dolls that they’d never have bought their daughters.
Fathers standing anxiously by the doors wishing to God and all that is holy that a doctor would approach them with an offer to do a “Turn and Cough” exam outside on Fifth Avenue rather than stand in the Pink and Red Store From Hell.
Employees who talk about The Dolls as if they really exist in some wrinkle of time and space and who have had more caffeine than Robin Williams on steroids.
The sounds of agony when a little AG devotee can’t buy All. The. Dresses. The sights of meltdowns, matching dresses, and things called “skiffs” that cost $175 (Seriously, Caroline??). The smells of croissant and pink confections emanating from the Buy Expensive AG Themed Food To Go With Your $400 Purchase Cafe. The touch of tangled doll hair that the over caffeinated Hair Artists in the Hair Salon restyle for little girls who will promptly destroy the artfully designed coif in four minutes flat.
The hysteria generated by getting your picture taken in the same clothes as your doll. The drama of taking your $100 doll to The Hospital to be repaired. The importance of making sure the younger sibling who doesn’t understand what the Sam Hill is going on in This Pink Place of Hell gets a Bitty Baby so as to avoid mocking by fellow preschoolers.
And, mothers, like me, standing in the middle of it all with a “WTF? Where did my life go so very wrong that I’m standing in this Pink Place Of Hell And Doll Pandemonium” look on their faces.
I tell you: Loathe. It.
I’ve had occasion to make holy pilgrimage to The Shrine of American Girl and All of Her Expensive Toys twice, both times to the NYC location. The first pilgrimage was made with Fruit Loop #2 and my mother in tow to celebrate Fruit Loop #2’s “Whole Hand Birthday” (kid speak for turning five) and that pilgrimage came complete with a birthday lunch reservation in the overstimulating, very pink, “Holy Crap You Want How Much For Something You Call Tic Tac Toe Pizza?!” Cafe. Suffice it to say the following: no one should ever have to endure that many little girls celebrating their advanced ages in such closed, Pepto Bismol colored quarters. And, for the love of Hello Kitty: would SOMEONE figure out how to get the moms in there a proper cocktail? Apple juice just ain’t gonna cover it, AG.
The second pilgrimage occurred for Fruit Loop #2’s “Whole Hand Plus Two Fingers” birthday. Yes. I went back. Again. This time, with three seven year olds in tow. And no additional adult back up. Let that sink in: three seven year olds. NYC. Three hours of shopping. Suffice it to say: I left the store that day with a headache that no amount of Tylenol would suppress, a credit card bill that would rival Donald Trump’s and a newfound hatred of the phrase “Follow Your Inner Star”.
When I think back to my doll days, I can’t think of a single time that I was in a store that looked remotely like American Girl. Quite the contrary, in fact. I was a seven year old knock kneed kid wearing jellies and a terry cloth shoulder tie up one piece standing in the aisles of Kmart buying a $7 Barbie. I’d go there on a Saturday morning with my mom and while she purchased detergent, motor oil and shoes for my brothers, I’d beg for Barbie Dream Date or Pink and Pretty Barbie. There were no croissants. Kmart didn’t have a Barbie hospital and the only hair salon option was the Big Barbie Head On A Tray. The biggest excitement of shopping for a doll came in the form of The Blue Light Special. And they NEVER did that in the toy aisle.
Dolls were DOLLS, not experiences. And, did I mention there were zero croissants? Somehow, the Super Pretzel at the Kmart cafe pales in comparison. Not at all bitter here. Not a bit.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a teeny tiny part of me wishes my mom would be as excited about taking me to Williams Sonoma as she is with showering her granddaughter with every single piece of Elizabeth’s wardrobe. Kidding, Mom. Sort of.
The argument can be made that if I hate the place so much that perhaps I should keep my AG Hater self out of the crowded store so as to allow an AG Lover more room to shop. And I would agree, except that I live with an eight year old who is consumed by her dolls and the pretend world in which she plays. She loves the stories that go with The Dolls, dressing them up and actually creating a world with them that makes her feel happy and safe. With the likes of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber bombarding her age group with songs, police run ins and costumes made of vinyl, I should thank my lucky stars that she’d rather go to the Pink Palace of Hell and Doll Pandemonium than a be a Belieber. And I do. Really.
But does it have to be so damned pink??
|The Pink Palace of Hell and Doll Pandemonium.
AKA: American Girl NYC.
Stacia Ellermeier of Dried On Milk does NOT agree with me and my hatred for all things American Girl. In fact, she likes going there almost more than her daughter does. If you would like to read her dissenting opinion, click HERE. I honestly don’t know how she and I are friends because she uses words like “fun” and “magical” to describe visits to AG. Ahem.