Finally, I Have a Reason to Boycott American Girl Stores

This post was written by Katie Morton. Photo: Fuzzy Gerdes/Creative Commons

Even before I knew what American Girl was, I had a feeling of distrust and suspicion around the brand. All I'd heard was that the dolls and accessories are criminally expensive, and that little girls (and sometimes adult women) are obsessed with them.

I heard myself say, "I want to keep Alex away from that stuff."

My mother-in-law seemed puzzled by my apparent misgivings about the dolls. I couldn't really tell you why I felt a visceral circumspect attitude. Maybe because I'm assuming that anything that expensive that develops a fanatical following must be propelled by marketing genius rather than quality. Not a fact by any means. Just a knee-jerk reaction.

Then I read that a breastfeeding mom was supposedly ousted from the Fifth Avenue New York store. From Shawna Cohen of Mommyish:

The woman's husband, David, tweeted about the incident: "Wife kicked out of NYC #AmericanGirl store sitting area 4 breastfeeding. Went 2 fitting room. Employees outside, talking loudly about her."

"She called me after it happened and was pretty upset. Completely unacceptable," he writes in a follow-up post. And then, "No one should be made to feel this way about feeding her child."

So for a little while at least, I feel marginally justified in my reservations about the brand, even though I know rationally that the acts of some random employees have nothing to do with the actual product.

I'm also guessing that the nasty attitude of those store clerks doesn't reflect the corporation's philosophy. An American Girl spokesperson is trying to do damage control for the incident, as reported by The Stir, saying:

We're taking this misunderstanding very seriously and are looking into this matter at our New York location.

I think I'll withhold final judgment until I hear the outcome. Until then, I reserve the right to continue to bristle at the American Girl brand and their insanely high pricetags.

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