"I think dolls can get massages there," Andy said, which caused me to cough up half my Bacado omelette during hangover brunch this past sunday. While I incredulously listened on, he described a number of mind-boggling details about American Girl Place. My mind could not accept what I was hearing, so I resolved to go straight to the store and see for myself.
The place was packed with over-compensating mothers and future "my sweet 16 party on MTV" girls. They were swarming over every inch of the store. Particularly popular is the clothing section. It's not normal little girl clothing though, it's coordinated sets of clothing so that your daughter can dress like her doll. What the hell?? American Girl Place is selling dolls as members of the family, and business is good.
I wander over to the next section of the store, the Doll Salon. Here the dolls can get facials and haircuts. I can't even fathom the board meeting at American Girl Place Inc. where this was pitched. "Hey Bill, I have a great idea. The girls can bring their dolls in for a facial. We will then rub the doll's face with rubbing alcohol to clean off all the little girl grim that is all over it, and charge them ten bucks." After the laughter in the board meeting subsided, American Girl Place decided to do this, and the salon had a backlog of dolls to tend to. The joke is on the poor moms and dads that pay for this ridiculousness.
I chatted up the doll stylist. She kept looking at the doll and saying "she" all the time. It was creeping me out. "She is getting a little trim". Ummm, what the hell else could you give "her", her hair doesn't grow back dear. That trim better be a few millimeters. There was also a hospital where you could bring busted dolls. The dolls were dressed in hospital gowns and put in wheelchairs. I started looking out the periphery of my vision. Perhaps I was having an acid flashback, and this view of the world would suddenly peel back to reveal true reality? No such luck though, American Girl Place was really happening.
Shaking my head I strolled through the closed doors that hid the cafe. The clamor of little girl excitement was decibly equivalent to small jet airplane takeoff. God bless them, they were just excited. Maybe they were just excited because every doll got its own high chair at the table and 3 course meal. However, the high chairs were not just limited to dolls. One girl had a high chair on either side, for her stuffed pets. Yes people, apparently make believe pets are allowed to have 3 course meals including tea, right at the table, complete with little bibs around their necks- Heaven forbid any crumbs spilled on their "ANIMAL" FUR!! I wondered how this little girl's reality fit with mine;In hers pretend animals got elaborate meals at the table, in mine animals got purina dog chow on the floor and -gasp- had to take craps outside.
I was reeling at this point. I have truly gotten out of touch with the mainstream. Or maybe I would just be an unfit parent. American Girl Place shows that if you can create something that little girls will want, their parents will buy it for them to avoid the tantrum.