Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Segregated Dolls at Local Walmart



On the eve of Christmas Eve I received a phone call from my daughter asking if I had dolls appropriate for a friend's boyfriend's three young daughters who at that time would not be receiving dolls for Christmas for reasons that I will not share here.  The girls' stair-step ages range from 3 to 5 years.  My immediate answer (spoken like a true doll collector not wanting to part with any dolls) was, "No." 

Dolls that I have as singles and duplicates.

I felt, at that age, they needed the same doll and I only had two of any one kind of never-removed-from-box doll and those were articulated Barbies that might not be appropriate for them.  (Reason:  Mattel's discontinuation of articulation in the playline due to the potential skin pinching caused by movement of the joints).  Others I considered were the $5 fashion dolls from Family Dollar, but I only have two and they are not the same doll.

 My daughter told me there were no black dolls at the store where she was shopping.

I asked, "Where are you?"  It was late, and I wanted to know why she was out shopping, alone.  She informed me of her small town location outside the city limits.  I said, "That's why you can't find any black dolls.  You're shopping in the wrong area.  You need to go to Walmart."  Her answer was, "I am at Walmart."

"Well, you need to go to a different Walmart that stocks black dolls," and I told her which one, "but not tonight!" I ordered.  "You need to get off the street."  Her answer, "o...kay," was spoken in a tone of obedience or in a manner to make me think she would heed my advice.

I tossed and turned a bit that night thinking about the little doll-less-on-Christmas-morning girls.  I had decided that as soon as I completed my workday on Christmas Eve, as much as I did not want to be caught in any stores with last-minute Christmas shoppers, I would check the nearest Walgreens or Family Dollar to see if any black dolls were left that were age appropriate.   My initial plan was to locate three Doc McStuffins dolls.

Because I knew she would be awake, I called my daughter at 6 a.m. the next morning.  The following conversation ensued:

Daughter:  What-up?
Me:  Where are you?
Daughter:  On my way to your house.
Me:  For what?
Her:  To pick up the Vans that you're giving L. because I bought another color instead.  I'm going to take the pair you have back.
Me:  I've already wrapped them.
Her:  That's okay.  The pair I am bringing for you to give him instead are already wrapped, too. 
Me:  He's going to recognize your wrapping paper and know they're from you and not me.
Her:  It doesn't matter.
Me:  Where are my boys?
Her:  With their dad.
Me:   Oh.  I'm going to Walgreens or Family Dollar today to find dolls for the girls.  How old did you say they are?
Her:  I found some.
Me:  You did (relieved that I don't have to go out and that she found dolls)!  Where?
Her:  Walmart.
Me:  Which one?
Her:  The same store.  They had the black dolls segregated.
Me:  What????
Her:  Yes.  I asked someone [a store clerk] why weren't there any black dolls and she showed me where they were, in a random area no where near the toy section.
Me:  That is ridiculous.  Well, I'm glad you found some.  Which doll did you buy?
Her:  I don't know... the ones with the vinyl faces and soft bodies.  [Similar to this one maybe.]
Me:  Good.  That's the kind they need.  Why are you out so early?
Her:  You know Kohl's is open 24 hours.
Me:  No, I didn't know.  


Now the moral to this story is:  If you are shopping for black dolls in a store where none are in sight, seek help by asking, "Do you have any black dolls in stock?"  Chances are, if the store is a small-town Walmart where the African American demographic is low, the dolls are either non-existent are pushed to the side in some inconspicuous "random area."


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22 comments:

  1. That is the wildest thing I've heard in awhile. Actually, I've been hearing crazy stuff all year. But, anyway, would the white kids die if all the dolls were on the same shelves? Or are they much too delicate for that? I wonder what would happen to them if that were ever to occur. SMH

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    1. LOL! No, no one would die if the dolls were stocked together, but putting the black ones off to the side sure does lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time attempting to locate them. I wonder how much revenue the store has lost from people who didn't bother to ask if any black dolls were available.

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  2. OMG, that is just crazy. Your daughter must have felt like she was in a time warp! Well, I am glad at least that she found some.

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    1. Yes, it is crazy, Phyllis. I'm glad she found them too, for her sake and mine. It saved me a trip out on Christmas Eve.

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  3. That is... bizarre.

    A couple of my local Walmarts had second toy sections near-but-not-contiguous-with the regular toy section, but it was clearly overflow because of the larger stock and not segregation -- the Sparkle Girlz were in their usual spot in the main toy section, with both black head molds in the cone dolls and the minis. Separating all the "we're four BFFs who love fashion!" doll lines by skin tone makes no sense.

    I'm glad your daughter found what she was looking for, but wow...

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    1. Overflow might have been the reason for the separate (yet unequal) location for the black dolls in this particular store. If overflow is required, however, why would it be done according to color and in a remote location from the other dolls? In stores here, I have seen a separate section that was away from the toy department but these were clearance dolls and toys of all types.

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  4. I can't say I,m surprised. The closest Walmart to me Never has black doll!, mind you this is the one most folks can get to on the bus. The one I do go to ALWAYS has multi cultural dool. When I go to Kmart I go in the doll isle and re arranged the doll isle, just because, lol.

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    1. I have done a lot of rearranging of shelves in my day, Brini, too Brini.

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  5. That is absolutely horrifying. :(

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    1. I agree Rosemoo -- horrifying, frustrating, and just plain silly.

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  6. Wow! That's insulting! At least here in Surprise AZ I can find a few and I mean a few Black dolls. But to keep them separate. I would have to ask the manager of that store why!

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    1. Had I been there, I would have had to ask why, too, Bonnie. I think my daughter was so focused on finding the three girls and their brother (she purchased a guitar for him) a black doll that she was relieved once she located them.

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  7. Having grown up in a small town this does not surprise me actually. Heck, I live in the "big city" now and it still happens.

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    1. This should not be commonplace or happening at all in 2015.

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  8. That is so bizarre, almost surreal! At least your daughter found the dolls for the girls, but really...

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  9. Wow. I'm glad the store actually carried the dolls, but keeping them separate blows my mind.

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  10. The fact that they were in a totally different section is, as others have said, extremely strange. I have never heard of that before. smh

    Your comment about "pinching" is the first explanation I've come across for Mattel producing more unarticulated dolls. At least it is something. However, it's interesting that all of the Monster High and Ever After dolls articulated. The latest Style set I've seen have articulated arms, but the legs are straight, and they just added some new ones to the Fashionista set that have unarticulated arms and legs. However, I couldn't pass them up because they had Nikki and Lea, and I understand Grace will be added in at some point. I would love to see Grace with both articulated arms and legs, but that may be hoping for too much these days.

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  11. The pinching is not a confirmed official reason that the jointed dolls were discontinued. I read it in a comment by "Sergio" to one of Muff's posts, here. I can see their use of this as an excuse to discontinue articulation in the playline.

    I'm just speculating, but maybe an older intended age group for MH and EA dolls is the reason articulation remains in these dolls.

    Yes, I think your hope for articulation in the new Fashionistas dolls might be too much. But you just never know. We can always keep hope alive.

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  12. I'm happy that those 3 little girls woke up to new dolls on Christmas Day! As for that store and the segregated dolls, I'm just shaking my head.

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    1. I am happy for them, too, Roxanne!

      That Walmart... is about all I am willing to write about that store.

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