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Economy Down? Get Dolled Up!

Doll chair ready for next customer.In these days of recession and high unemployment rates, there’s one field of professional endeavor that has a cheery future: if you can handle the challenge, why not apply for the rewarding job of Doll Hair Stylist?

Help Wanted ads pop up regularly on e-employment sites like Monster and Simplyhired. American Girl Place stores across the country are in constant need of salon employees. Responsibilities include braiding artificial hair, piercing ears (they do not feel pain, therefore, no screaming!), and giving facials (“wiping the schmutz off of doll faces without removing features”).

The Roadside America connection?  Visiting a doll hair styling salon is high entertainment and low cost (free) if you’re just gawking. But behave like a customer, not a tourist.

Styling.Demand is high, especially on weekends. On a recent outing to the Fifth Avenue location in New York City, I was informed that if I wanted to bring a doll on Saturday, I should get there “when we open” and the wait would be three hours long.  By the way, the salon gals do not actually “cut” hair—although they do snip scissors in the air for effect. Instead, they ponytail, pigtail, and braid. I couldn’t help but notice that, unlike in the real world, I did not see a single gay male doll hair stylist…quel scandale! The Doll Hair Care handout was very informative: it warns that you should avoid washing the doll’s hair if at all possible (“Your doll’s eyes may rust…”)

After my stop at the salon, I explored the rest of the store. I found the most disturbing area to be the “Just Like You” display, where a zombified army of $95 dolls awaited matching with their new overseers. I noticed that despite over twenty potential combinations, redheads and little girls with pixie cuts are out of luck. Also, you may not choose a perverse and fantastical combination like dark skin with blond hair.

American Girl Dolls.

The American Girl people certainly have figured out many ways to separate the doll-crazy from their dollars. Aside from four levels packed with dolls, clothes, furniture, and accessories, there is a photo studio, hospital, and restaurant ($19-26 per person, but dolls eat free). The whole experience is extremely wholesome, making me wish there was a Bratz Slutty World megastore down the block.

And don’t make the mistake of bringing in some cheap knock-off doll and expecting a braiding job—she just might end up traumatized like this kid! [Post by Anne D. Bernstein]

Sections: Places 1 Comment »

One Response to “Economy Down? Get Dolled Up!”

  1. ADalton Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I always like to see people’s reactions to the world of American Girl. I myself have been to all three stores, and so am a bit of a veteran. So, it’s cool to learn about people’s first reactions. There is just soo much at those stores!

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