Review of American Girl Merry Magenta Outfit

Every year American Girl comes out with several pieces in the fall that are meant to be holiday outfits.  I tend to wait to purchase these when they go on clearance after the new year as I think they are generally overpriced.  Boy was I glad I waited this year because it was a major disappointment.  In fact, if I had paid full price for this set to begin with, I would have sent it back.

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Very cute…from a distance.  The workmanship on this dress leaves a lot to be desired.  But first, the good!

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I do like the shoes and the purse.  However, the purse tends to bulge, the vinyl they used is a bit too stiff.  Hopefully I can remedy that.  I’m going to try setting something on it to sort of squish it down.

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The headband is cute, but it had one of those gigantic tags on it.  I cut it off, but there is still some of it that shows.  I don’t get the point of these giant tags on these.  Why couldn’t they stamp it like they do some of the other items?  And would someone PLEASE redesign these headbands????  They don’t fit well and tend to pop off, especially if using them on a doll with a Josefina mold face.  The sides aren’t long enough to even hold all of the hair back.  Hey AG designers, take a look at the My Life As headbands, they know how to do it right!

So, onto the fails.  First off, the lacy overlay.  Very pretty, but it has a major design flaw.  The back side of the design is white.  So wherever it may show, it looks terrible!!!  The dress I got wasn’t as bad as some I’ve seen either, but it is really distracting.  I don’t understand why it wasn’t dyed the pretty berry color the whole way through???

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Then the next thing is the ribbon that goes around the waist.  You can sort of see it from the last photo, it’s too loose.  It was even worse on the front:

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I shouldn’t be able to fit one finger in there, let alone 3!!!  What in the world???  It almost sags, it’s so loose.  This is just bad design.  I think I can fix it, but quite frankly, I shouldn’t have to.  AG charged $36 for this set at full price, it should be right the first time.  Please note too, it’s sewn on in sections, not one continuous piece, so it’s a fail not once, not twice, but three times!

The last thing–the tulle underneath the skirt.

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I held a piece of paper behind it so you could see it better.  It looks like it was cut out with the world’s dullest scissors.  Or perhaps chewed out?  I was appalled when I saw this.  Tulle cuts very easily, there is no excuse for this.  GAH!

I rate this set overall a C-.  An A for the shoes, a B for the purse, a C for the headband and an F for the dress.  It’s a shame because the dress could be so cute, but when a company sells a doll outfit for what a human article of clothing costs, I expect a lot more.  I’m very concerned that this dress is a sign of things to come with American Girl.  I recently spent some time reading the reviews on the items that were released for Gabriela and they aren’t very good.  Apart from the many complaints about holes poked in the clothes from them being sewn into the new packaging, there were a ton of complaints of poor paint jobs, or paint coming off on several of the items.  Not good at all.  It just seems lately that American Girl is suffering from a lot of one step forward, two steps back.  How long until they completely loose their customers because of it?

In case you are wondering–this set was from the last order I placed with American Girl, and it will be the last I place until they either apologize for undermining the intelligence of the fans and/or improve their quality.  I’m not going to waste anymore money on their crap.  My husband even commented on the poor quality this time and said “If I were you, I would quit buying from them.”  Done deal.  I will spend my money on Etsy instead.

February Book Group Read–Lanie!

Hello everyone, welcome to our bookgroup discussion! Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion via the comments section. I do want to set a few rules first though. No personal attacks, we can all have differing opinions without nastiness. And please, keep on topic. If I find that a comment is not on topic, it will be deleted. The only exception to this is if the conversation goes in that direction, but this is not the place to discuss other posts and other goings on in doll land. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started!

The book for this group “meeting” was Lanie, written by Jane Kurtz. Lanie was the 2010 Girl Of The Year, and what attracted me to her story was the ecology/nature aspect of it. I’ve been a long time supporter of recycling, even working as the recycling coordinator at my last job for a small municipality. I also liked the outdoorsy theme running throughout the book, when I was that age, I practically lived outdoors.  I was even known to drag all of my Barbie stuff outside during the summer months.
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Since we’ve all read the book, I’m not going to go into depth about the story. This isn’t intended to be a review, nor do I want to recap it completely, less ruining it for someone who maybe hasn’t read it. The main purpose of this group is to discuss various points in the book that we liked or didn’t like, themes, etc.

Let’s see…as I mentioned before, the nature part of it was a big attraction for me, and my favorite part of that was the story about the hatching of the butterflies. I’ve always been fascinated by that whole process, particularly with Monarch butterflies, and it took me back to a book I had when I was a kid that explained the process with fantastic photos. I’ll be honest, after I got done reading Lanie, I was tempted to go order one of those monarch butterfly hatching kits, it stirred up that interest all over again. I also liked her journaling like she was doing scientific studies and her vast interest in science.  Her interest in birds was also appealing to me as I used to be very into that when we lived at our other house.  It wasn’t something I got into until I was an adult, but it’s a fascinating subject!

Parts I didn’t like: the nasty neighbor with the cat. I felt that the whole part of the story with Lulu and the cat having a confrontation was kind of unnecessary. Plus the whole situation with the neighbor went rather unresolved at the end of the book. So that really served no purpose and I think that section of the book could have been left out and replaced with more about her older sister, her aunt and the science she was studying. I also didn’t like how her older sister was depicted at the beginning, she comes off as being a bit of a prissy pain in the neck, but then later in the story she seems to be the one person who genuinely feels bad for Lanie. I’m just not sure about how she was portrayed.

The rest of the characters were fine, although I would have liked to have seen more of her Aunt Hannah. I haven’t read the second book yet, so perhaps that is covered more there. I got a kick out of her descriptions of her parents, her dad sounds like the typical absent minded college professor! And Emily is your typical 1st grader, picky eater with an unreasonable fear of bugs. I thought they got the dynamic between the two girls right, it reminded me of a friend of mine who had not one, but two younger sisters, and the issues they would have.

There were quite a few things that she had to deal with that were handled in an appropriate manner–her envy at her friend Dakota, taking on the job of the garden in her Aunt Hannah’s absence, and her frustration with her family and their “indoor genes” when she suggests going camping.  My only complaint was in how her mother handled the situation with Emily when she damaged Lanie’s journal for science class.  This would have been a good opportunity for the author to go into respect for other people’s belongings a bit more.  I thought it was kind of lost and something that could have been a learning moment was ignored.  Oh well.

Did anyone else love the little illustrations throughout the book?  They reminded me a bit of Susan Branch or Marjolein Bastin drawings.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better GOTY books, and I especially liked that her interests were science related.  I wish they had done more stories like this, showing that girls can have interests beyond dance and music.

Talk amongst yourselves now!!!

Book for March 15 is Meet Kit (pre BeForever version), book for April 15 is Isabelle, book for May 15 is Meet Marie-Grace.

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My own Lanie and Emily!

 

How To Lose A Million Dollars In Sales Quickly…

Just when we didn’t think it could get any worse, #Pantygate spiraled completely out of control yesterday. Someone purchased a doll with a less than satisfactory stuffing job on her backside. She also had “squishy” vinyl. When confronted with the doll via social media, “that company” denied it was their doll and even went so far as to accuse the person of altering the doll or that the doll wasn’t theirs. I heard that at one point, the traffic got so heavy to their Facebook account that it went down. Not sure if it crashed or they deliberately shut it down, but it looks bad no matter how you try to spin it.

This whole thing got me to thinking…how many people would have to quit buying their products before they saw a substantial hit? I’m a numbers girl, and I keep track of things that most people wouldn’t bother with. So I pulled up my trusty spreadsheet that shows what I purchased with “that company” over the past couple of years. Because of the blog, I probably buy more than the average individual, so I scaled my numbers back, and then ran my calculations.

If you use the thought that the average customer spends $1000 annually, and 1000 of those customers quit buying, you lose a million dollars in sales. Let’s take that down a bit, with the average customer only spending $500, you only have to lose 2000 customers to reach that million. Ramp that number down to what I would say is a good first-time customer figure of $200 a year, and it only takes 5000 customers. I think it’s safe to say that somewhere between $200 and $1000 is a very realistic figure for the average customer of “that company”. I think it’s also a good bet that at least 2500 people who have decided to either cut back their purchases significantly or quit buying all together.

They have alienated a lot of their customers with this recent debacle. Once the new releases are out and those still buying them come to the realization that the quality is less than satisfactory, the number of customers leaving is bound to go up, as well as product returns. They can’t continue to ignore this, but instead of trying to do some damage control, they have let it not only escalate, but they threw fuel on the fire! I’m just shaking my head at how all of this has unfolded over the past several days. I don’t know what to think anymore, and I know I’m not alone. This is one of the craziest business models I’ve seen in my life, and I quite honestly don’t get it. At all.

I’d like to think that perhaps we’ve reached the end, but I’m not holding my breath. Only time will tell. All I know is I’m glad I’m not employed by “that company” this week. I think it’s going to be a tough couple of days until their employer steps up and takes responsibility for their reckless actions. Ugh.