American Girl Riot

August 14, 2007 | Family

I received an email from Studs’ oldest daughter the other day that had me dying. “T” has allowed me to share it with you. I think she needs to write a book. Enjoy!


Sorry this is lengthy but I thought I’d share with you my lunch hour experience today at the store that will well go down as enemy number one in the book of every father’s worst wallet nightmares come true – The American Girl Place in Chicago.

You know that I don’t have a daughter, but I’m lucky enough to have a goddaughter, and her sixth birthday is coming up in a few days. I decide that I’m going to be “Aunt of the year” (as the lady on the AGP hotline told me when I called to make the reservation) and take her to afternoon tea at their cafe. The reservation is set for Sunday. I set out at noon today to get her a Bitty Baby doll so she can start her collection and her parents can kick my ass for how much all the accessories cost that she’s going to want to get with Bitty Baby.

So, at noon I run out because, according to our Kronos time software here, I’ve now officially got less than an hour to get from my building, across the city to the store, make the purchase, and hi-jack a cab back to the office in time to “punch back in”. So the race begins….

I literally stole a cab from some poor guy waiting with his suitcase. I didn’t realize it until I was already hopping into the cab and well, I figured if I was this rude already, why redeem myself?! I’ll just hope he’s not an attorney that works in my building and get on with it. The guy shrugged his shoulders at me and I mouthed a sincere “I’m sorry” with batted eyes and we took off. 8 minutes, a maniac cab driver, and one good bout of carsick nausea later, I’m standing in front of the store.

The store is, in a word, unbelievable. Where was this place when I was a kid?! If it did exist, I guarantee you my father made hell and high water sure that I didn’t know about it. I was fascinated and dizzy at the same time. There was so much to see. There are 3 floors of purple and pink walls with every doll, accessory, and amenity that goes with the dolls that you can possibly imagine. There are so many things in this store that there is a Concierge when you first walk in to answer any questions or handle any reservations you may want to make. Above her desk was a scheduled sign for the café, their theatre, the doll hospital (yes, a doll hospital) and the doll hair salon. (yes, a doll hair salon) all reservation slots for the rest of the day are sold out. All I can think of is that somewhere in this nation is a real rich lady because no guy ever thought this up.

I get to the floor with the dolls, and start heading for the bitty baby section. The place was a literal madhouse of women and young girls, and every once in awhile you would see a father being drug with a leash around his neck. Trying to keep with my tight schedule, I do a 360 looking for where I need to go, and a clerk walks up to me and asks if this is my first time here. I guess I was looking obvious. She leads me to the section of the Bitty Baby – which ironically was anything but bitty.

I squeeze my way through the crowds and mounds of accessories to get to the dolls. There were several different types of Bitty babies, according to hair color and eye color and skin color seemingly at least ten different combinations. I laugh at this, because I get a great visual of my father coming to pick something out for a possible granddaughter someday, (the only reason he’d ever be caught within even a 5 mile radius of such a store) Not because he’s color blind, but because he’s just a guy (like any guy) who when faced with a lot of choices tends to break out in hives. If the time ever comes, I’ll have to make sure he has a personal shopper with him so he doesn’t have a stroke and have to be escorted to the doll hospital’s ER.

So, to match her, I grab the blonde haired, blue eyed baby, and being the girl I am, could not resist one accessory, the diaper bag complete with diapers – a onesie, wipes, powder, sippy cup and a “baby toy” The details crack me up and I look around for a minute longer before I realize I could spend a lot of time (and money) here and I better get a move on and get in line. To quote A Christmas Story -“The line for the cashier stretched to Terre Haute and I was at the end of it”. Thank God there were three cashiers who were so eager at doing their job that each and every purchase took no less than 15 minutes. Ok, I guess it wasn’t that bad, but, the Kronos clock was ticking for me like a dead man walking, I had to get out of there.

I finally get my purchase made, and after some mild sticker shock, I’m back on the trail again to work. Luckily, Lighting McQueen disguised as a cab driver pulled up just in time to give me my second bout of carsickness for the afternoon and in the blink of an eye I was back at my building. Punched in with a minute and a half to spare, I now decide to breathe, and it felt good.

Love, T

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5 Responses to “American Girl Riot”

  1. Melissa Bradley Says:

    American Girl Place is a nightmare. All that pink and purple makes it look like a Pepto-bismal, Prilosec cocktail. Little girls should never, ever be allowed anywhere near that place cause it sucks out all their intelligence, their parents money and all for the ugliest dolls ever created. If the terrorists are looking for a soft target, I’ll happily put the bulls-eye right there. The creator of these dolls should die a slow, painful death.

  2. T Says:

    I just read Melissa’s comment and well, I guess I should have relayed the ending to this story. I can sum it up quick –

    We were sitting in the Cafe, a beautiful black and white striped room with hot pink flower chandeliers, a harpist and all the imagination that makes the whole experience there for little girls really magical. They had seats for the dolls that attached to our table and little tea cups with saucers were provided for them. It was the ultimate tea party, complete with little cakes and sandwiches and really creative desserts.

    After they brought out her little heart shaped pink and white cake with a candle and the whole room sang happy birthday to her, my goddaughter looked up at me and said with a big smile “It doesn’t get any better than this”.

    The genuine gratitude that I received from her and all the fun that we had that day was worth every bit of effort in what I went through to make it happen. I’d gladly do it over and over again.

    A sucker for some marketing genius you say? Well, maybe but I’ve always been a person to thrive on good imagination. That place is chock full of it. Any experience is only what you make of it and I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of it myself! 🙂

  3. Beth Anderson Says:

    MELISSA! I’m SURPRISED at you! Good Lord, woman! My granddaughters had American Girl dolls and they both LOVED them! And yeah, they did cost both grammas some bucks, but hey, granddaughters are a precious thing and nothing’s too good for them. I’d like to know where that tea place is in Chicago, if there is one. It’ll have to go some, though, if it’s going to beat out High Tea at the Drake Hotel at Christmas. I’m taking my granddaughters there again this Christmas; it’s a family tradition.

  4. Bonnie Hunt Says:

    Hi there…I Googled for pdf writer, but found your page about can Girl Riot…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  5. Sloane Says:

    Glad you liked it, Bonnie. Be sure to stop by again.