Sorry American Girl, This is NOT acceptable!

Lately a lot of us have been scratching our heads at some of the moves that management at American Girl has been making. Some of them have been minor issues, but as more and more things change, they seem to get more ridiculous. This week information was released that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

In case you haven’t heard about it, American Girl announced that any of their dolls that would normally come with modern style underwear, will now come with underwear attached. These cannot be removed, not with a seam ripper or any other method. Recent information shows that they are going to be pink as well. WHAT?!?!?!?!

The reasoning behind this is so that they will be less likely to be lost. Are you kidding me? I didn’t realize this was a huge concern. There are plenty of other things that AG dolls come with that could be lost. Are those things going to be attached as well? A simple solution to this would be to offer doll underwear on the website that could be bought for a nominal fee. But instead, the “solution” is to simply no longer make them removable. Are you kidding me? As someone on another blog pointed out, are Bitty Baby’s diapers going to be permanently attached now?

For some this might not seem like a big deal, but for those of us who have large collections of swimsuits, dancewear, skating costumes, etc, it could be a bit of an issue. I don’t want pink underwear showing through or peeking out from under these items! It’s hard enough working around their ridiculous placement of the tags. Why don’t they do something about that instead?

Personally, I think this is yet another way to cheapen the product. It has nothing to do with convenience to the consumer, just convenience to the company. Since the underwear is part of the construction of the doll, that eliminates some of the expense. Let me guess, the dolls will still sell for $115, with no underwear. It’s bad enough that the outfits are getting less and less complex with fewer and fewer pieces, but now we aren’t even going to get a pair of panties.

While I haven’t agreed 100% with some of the other changes they have made over the past year or so, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Between this recent change and the poor handling of the Gabriela GOTY release, I’m beginning to think that they really don’t care what the customer thinks. Therefore, I’m making an announcement right now. The order I just received last week will be MY LAST American Girl order! I will spend my money on ETSY and other companies instead. Those people value my opinion and business. Obviously AG doesn’t care about their customers, or they would quit making changes to their lines which cheapen the product. Yes, I realize that they are in the business to make money. However, for the prices they are charging for these items, I expect better quality than what we are getting. We are getting substandard products, but the prices are still outrageous. And the real kicker is their competition (Our Generation, My Life As, Sophia’s, etc) are coming out with even better products that are selling for a fraction of the cost.

So, I encourage EVERYONE to complain, and complain loudly to American Girl about this. Go to social media, write them a letter, get it out there that you are not happy with their reduction of quality.  We need to bombard them with complaints.  They have accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (there may be others), so be sure to send them a message expressing your unhappiness with their recent changes.  If writing a letter, send it to:

Ms. Katy Dickson

American Girl

8400 Fairway PL

Middleton, WI 53562

I think we need to get our point across to them that we are not pleased with what they are doing.  I know it seems ridiculous to make such a big deal about doll underwear, but my point is, what is next???  Will the dolls be made of all plastic eventually?  Will the accessories become more like Barbie items, but at the same prices?  The direction things seem to be going in does not look good.  There are other things that aren’t right at the moment that I haven’t even gotten into.  It just seems like we are on a rapid downhill path, with no hope of it stopping.

I’ve had enough, and I know a lot of other fans have too.  It’s time to make our voices heard.

In case you haven’t seen their statement, Jen from The Dolls Between Us was nice enough to share this screen shot with me.  Sorry, but I don’t buy anything they are saying.  This is all about the bottom line and money, nothing more.  As I said to her, I have some pants that won’t fit over the current underwear.  How am I going to work around that ribbon like “waistband” as well since it’s not removable???  And sure, it works with THEIR current swimwear, but what about older pieces or ones made by other manufacturers? 

knickers

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56 thoughts on “Sorry American Girl, This is NOT acceptable!

  1. Thanks for this post. I have issues with the new box, the clothing sewn onto the cardboard, and I’m really disappointed with these pink underwear. I feel strongly as someone who spends every day with elementary age kids that AG needs to offer products that are less stereotyped. As I mentioned on Heather’s blog, short skirts, pink undies and long hair are not representative of all girls or females. I think of Molly’s wardrobe with the flannel shirt and corduroys, or Saige with lots of pants and tunic/sweaters. Also, many upper elementary girls like a wardrobe more along the lines of Justice or Athleta…
    My bigger issue is just tell the darn truth. Don’t take a negative and tell me it is going to enhance play. If there is a problem with lost underwear, sell them with free shipping. There’s no way that is the real problem.

    • Fantastic points. I’ve thought the overabundance of pink was a bit much–and I like pink! However, it’s not the only color in my closet, and I’m sure everyone else would say the same of any color. They keep saying they want to be diverse, but we keep seeing more and more of the same thing.

      And yes–just tell the truth. I’m tired of being told that customers are requesting these things. Dolls have had removable underwear for many, many years. And now all of a sudden it’s a problem as far as being lost? I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you cheap too!

  2. They are already sell underwear sets if you loose them, and I heard they’re selling well. So their “reason” makes no sense whatsoever. I’m proud of you for completely boycotting AG. I’m not sure if I could do that. I’m very seriously considering doing that to dolls though.

    • It’s not the first company I’ve ever boycotted, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I just don’t feel like throwing my money at a company that obviously doesn’t care about anything but the bottom line. I quit buying Nike a number of years ago (along with several other brands) because of their unfair labor practices under the guise of “made in America”. I have a low tolerance for being lied to or misled. And I won’t spend money on low quality, which is what we are getting now.

      Stay tuned. I have a product review from my most recent (and last) order that not only annoyed me, but my husband’s reaction was “I would quit buying from them if that’s all the better they can do.” DONE!

      • I thought the same thing, but my experience with Samantha was such a letdown, it may be easier than you think. I’m almost afraid to see what they do!

      • The real question will be the quality. There were several things in Gabby’s collection I wanted until I started reading the reviews.

      • Oh, my. I just read a bunch of reviews of Gabby’s outfits and her showtime accessories (the only thing I’d be interested in) and everyone complains of holes (I figured that) and the showtime accessories seem to be falling apart – worse than OG! The only thing I own of Gabby’s is her meet outfit and I love it – it came in a bag so no holes.

  3. I am so glad you posted this….I too am concerned about the decisions that are being made at the corporate level of this company!! They are not listening to their fan base 😦 AG has gone too mainstream and has cheapened their product. I have been in love with American Girl since I was 9 yrs old (Pleasant Company) it was something that always brought me joy but this new modern line production and this new packaging and now dolls with affixed underwear has me really thinking about pumping any more $$$ into this company or CORPORATE MACHINE. I am very sad, this sure is not the same company I grew to love at the age of 9.

    • That pretty much sums up how I feel. I’ve been a customer off and on since 1990, and the quality was something you could always count on. When I got back into AG heavily in 2014, the quality was still very good, but over the course of the last 2 1/2 years, it’s obvious to me that it is changing and some of it drastically. I just can’t spend my hard earned money on junk anymore, especially with a company that doesn’t have the same devotion to it’s customers that we’ve had to them. I’ve stuck by them and defended them for the last time.

  4. Thank you very much for posting this, Flo – I haven’t seen their statement until now, so I’ve been in the dark on exactly what they said about the new undies. I’m disappointed and frustrated with AG, and I’m just not sure what to do. This will probably force me into purchasing a TM doll that I had planned to buy in the summer much sooner before they go through this underwear change. “Eventually” doesn’t give me much of a time frame, American Girl.

    • That’s probably a good idea if you really want it. I’m tired of their vagueness, excuses, and worse yet, lies. I thought about doing the same thing but then decided I really had reached the breaking point. If I buy any other dolls, I’ll be getting older ones with the better quality wigs off Ebay.

      I am debating on what to do with Abby (Saige) as far as her hair, I was going to send her in for a head replacement. I was going to wait until after Easter, but now I’m half afraid to for fear of her getting parts of lesser quality.

      • I was waiting until after Easter because that is when the doll hospital isn’t quite so busy. Doll changes (particularly to the modern line) usually happen in May, and 2017 would be the year for Truly Me to have some sort of changes such as meet outfit, retirements, etc, so I suspect that may be when we see the mass change. I’m assuming they will try to sell off as many of the dolls without the attached underwear beforehand, but how long those will last is anybody’s guess. And since they haven’t done anything the same as before, it’s really hard to say. Abby may be going on her trip this week!

      • Hmmm… Saige needs her hair replaced. It’s a hot mess. I wonder if Brianna would prefer this to something new for her bday. Thanks for giving me this to think about. Saige has such a great face I’d hate to have her be the one doll that is a wreck in the future.

  5. I saw the writing on the wall when AG started using knots instead of ferrels to keep the doll’s limbs tight. Yet another way to get money out of their customers, (i.e. doll hospital) and now of course their doing the same thing w/ the zip ties, (meaning they don’t want you to fix your own doll). They had zip ties some time ago w/ the transition dolls, (my Stephanie is one of those). But having sewn on or printed underwear is really the limit. Why would you make a bathroom w/ a shower for dolls that can’t even be naked? And why would you want your doll to have 2 pairs of undies, if you chose to purchase the other ones? This just doesn’t make sense. And yeah, the packaging is crappy too. They say it’s so that customers won’t open boxes to inspect dolls, but I think the truth is it uses less cardboard and therefore cheaper. And has anyone noticed the prices haven’t gone down? Just the quality. And as a black person, I’m really annoyed at the that they used a recycled doll for the GOTY and that she has a crappy collection! And rumor has it they’re retiring Addy? Why? There can’t be more than one black historical doll? I’m glad I don’t need anymore AG dolls (I have 6), and that I bought a Jill’s Steals doll for my grand-niece for when she gets older, but I’m expecting another grand-niece. I guess it’ll be the secondary market for her doll. Sigh.

    • As for the packaging too–since you have to mutilate the packaging in order to get the clothing out of it with the GOTY and Wellie Wishers line, there is no reusing these boxes for storage or anything else. So into the landfill it goes. Does not make this former recycling coordinator very happy. 😦

      And yes, why can’t we have more than one black historical doll?????

  6. Dolls should have the right to go without panties! No chastity belts for dolls! Do not tell our girls they have to hide any part of themselves in play or life!

    This isn’t about modesty. The sewn in bikinis are not a modestly designed child-styled panty. They are skimpy and sexualized with their low cut cut styling.

    This isn’t about customer request. Clearly, the customers are irate.

    This is about the bottom line.

    I told Mattel that I am not crossing their line anymore. I will not purchase a doll with sewn on panties. I will not encourage others to do so either. If you want to, go ahead but really think about what message this sends our children. Cover up your girl bits. That’s the lesson. Not play. Not realism. Not modeling behavior. Cover up your girl bits.

    I am not ashamed to be female and I wouldn’t buy a doll that encouraged body shaming. Sewn on underwear does shame the person playing with the toy. The toy doesn’t care. Any reasonable person knows that dolls are genderless anyway unless they do have “bits” to be covered. American Girl dolls never came with bits, boy or girl. There is nothing that requires covering!!!!

    • “They are skimpy and sexualized with their low cut cut styling.”

      I thought the EXACT same thing when I saw them. You make numerous excellent points here. I hope someone at AG reads this.

  7. I quite like the idea of permanent undies. All of my dolls are rescues and most were naked when I found them. If they did come dressed, they did not have undies or shoes. Permanent undies make sense to me. Fawn

    • Fawn, I appreciate and respect your sharing a differing point of view. I noticed a few comments on Facebook that do agree with you and don’t mind the change. It might have be received better if the permanent undies were white or nude colored instead of pink, and if they were so tiny they would fit unnoticeable under older swimsuits.

      • Another way for them to have approached it was to make it an option. Do some test marketing on them beforehand. You can order a doll with ears pierced and hearing aids, even bald. Why not do the same with the underwear option? Instead, let’s just shove it down everyone’s throats whether they like it or not. And lie about it. That is the part that burns me more than anything. I’ve lost all respect for them as a company.

    • Fawn, you rescue dolls, so you’ve seen and experienced first hand the condition some (many?) rescue dolls are in. I know it sounds like permanent underwear is a great thing, but I don’t think the permanent underwear are going to fair well, even under careful play conditions. We all know what happens when the velcro snags on the tights. How many of us have ruined a pair of tights because of the velcro on the clothing, even if we try our darnedest to be careful? That shiny silver elastic on the waistband of the new permanent underwear? Yeah, I don’t think it is going to fair well. It’s going to get snagged and get ugly.

      And unlike the tights, the underwear can’t be removed and replaced. So now instead of replacing a pair of underwear, we have to replace an entire torso…

      …wait a minute…

      …that is diabolical, American Girl.

  8. This is just ridiculous. And what if my daughter doesn’t want her doll to go swimming in her underwear because who does that? Or what if she wants to put a different pair of underwear on the doll, one that we already have? Does the doll then wear two pairs of underwear? Ludicrous! I personally sew a lot of adorable underwear for our dolls, so does that mean that now all of those pairs of underwear should go in the garbage? Because I am sure that my daughter doesn’t want to put her custom Hello Kitty or Monster High dolly underwear on the doll over top of the underwear that is already attached. SMH Plain pink undies are so boring!
    LOL Nonna! But I have to agree, no chastity belts for dolls!

    ginnie / http://www.fakingitmostly.com

    • I think I’m going to do a post in the near future which tests this idea of it not showing AT ALL on some of my older swimsuits as well as some of the ones that are made by other companies. I am fairly certain I have a couple of them that expose areas. They have only shown it with the most recent one that they offer. And no, who wears underwear under their swimsuits?!?!?!

  9. I left a comment on the Facebook page announcement. I don’t understand this change at all. From a marketing point of view you want the customer to loose items so they purchase new to replace them. I suggested selling more foundation garment sets varying in price from $7 – $12. Not a horrible price; I’m certain there is a ton of profit in that amount considering how little material goes into doll size underwear.

    I also asked if the material used for the new sewn on would be the same as that used for Grace and Lea’s panties. And wondered if yes, what happens when the panties become super shabby from all the velcro snags? A trip to the doll hospital for a panty transplant? What is the cost for a new torso?

    While reviewing the comments on Facebook I saw some raised the same questions I had. The AG rep noted that dolls arriving at the hospital for torso work would leave as they came in – if no panties then the old style torso. If panties, then a new style torso.

    One of the comments really peaked my interest. The mother of an autistic child who loves dolls and has several American Girl dolls. Her daughter strips her dolls upon arrival; they pretty much stay naked. She mentioned the kind of frustration and melt down that would result should her daughter receive one of the new dolls. Tears came to my eyes, because I have witnessed a few frustrated meltdowns and the trauma that remains after.

    I’m a fiercely loyal person and my loyalty is shaken. i too will be searching Craigs List more frequently for secondary market dolls. i only want two more for my collection. Clothing wise, my wardrobe is sufficiently packed and the OG, Silly Monkey, and Etsy stores hold more promise.

    I wonder what Pleasant Rowland is thinking about the direction her legacy has taken?

    • I never thought about that, but I understand completely what the mother of the autistic girl would be dealing with. Heck, that’s sort of a rite of passage for most little girls to take their clothes off immediately. I know of many households who have had to deal with naked Barbie’s laying around all the time!

      The whole thing is just annoying, simply because they tried to pass the buck and lied about the reason. Money is the root of all evil, and I think it just got very real for AG.

  10. I read someone else say since AG isn’t having the older historical wear permapanties, folks may buy a historical and a modern, switch heads and return the historical. I’m curious to see what happens to AG in the future if they don’t change this.

    • Never gave that prospect a thought, but now it makes me wonder if that was the driving force behind them eliminating neck strings and replacing them with zip ties, making them more difficult to switch? Hmmm…

  11. Come for the article, stay for the comments!!
    I appreciate Nonna’s comments above. I do feel the underlying truth is that they are opening in the UAE and to sell in Muslim countries the Girl toys need to be covered. They deny this, but it I s the only thing that makes sense. As Nonna says, what does this say about being female.
    Also I can see many torn dolls as Xyra alludes to… some kids just gotta know what is underneath and it won’t be pretty when they find the stuffing coming out!!!

    • If in fact, that is the reason, what would be so wrong with making different dolls for the Muslim markets? Companies do this all the time. I can remember back in the days of JCPenney catalog sales, they actually had different catalogs for different regions of the US. The reason was that they had found that different colors, particularly in houseware items such as dishes, bedding, etc, sold better in different markets. This isn’t reinventing the wheel! I suspect though, this is more than that, I’m sure it all comes down to money, plain and simple. I’d love to know what kind of salary the CEO is getting? And what her guaranteed raises are?

    • After I thought about this a bit, it dawned on me that it REALLY doesn’t make sense. Obviously there are still going to be two separate production lines, one for the new design and one for the old. So why can’t we have a choice?!?!?!?!

      • Agreed! Since both body styles are still in production, there is no reason to not offer customers a choice between the traditional body style or the new permanent underwear body style when purchasing a new doll. These new permanent underwear should have been an option, not a mandate.

        I applaude you for boycotting AG. My kids think the permanent underwear is weird and creepy (their words). They don’t want dolls with permanent underwear. It’s going to be a factor in our future purchases. I have a feeling Craigslist and eBay will be where we get dolls from.

      • It just seems like the obvious solution, doesn’t it?!

        I will be sticking to Craigslist, eBay and Etsy for any future doll stuff. Also, will be only buying AG items that are retired so I’m sure that they aren’t perhaps profiting from it. I know there are sellers who relist stuff while it’s still available, and then have it drop shipped direct from AG, so that defeats the purpose. They aren’t getting another penny from me.

  12. I am so disheartened by everything American Girl has done lately. How did they NOT anticipate pantygate happening!? The neck string to zip tie change wasn’t as noticeable as this and even THAT wasn’t easily accepted by a lot of people. Did they really think they could ship out dolls and people would just be like “Oh! Well that’s different!” and go about their business? But more than not mentioning this change, I’m SO amazed by their social media responses. You can’t delete complaints and then praise people who aren’t annoyed by the change – that’s a great way to fan the flames!

    • I agree that they are just making the situation worse. I’m wondering what is going to be left by the time this is over with, all they are doing now is angering more and more people. Those who might have been on the fence about it may change their minds by their poor reaction to it. I’m very picky about who I do business with and this kind of behavior would make me think twice.

    • Yeah, I plan on sticking to that as well and expanding my purchases out to other companies. I looked at the new releases this morning and I was less than impressed. Everything looks so cheap, but they are still charging premium prices!

  13. I mean pink underwear? Pink? I hate pink!!! Why can’t there be different colors! And more diverse dolls like an Irish one because my family is Irish and I don’t feel like they are really exploring different cultures or a doll that wants to be something other than a dancer, singer, or adventurer. What about a doll that is into robotics and stem? Or a doll that likes martial arts? Even one who wants to write a book, a game designer, an engineer, an athlete (a runner would be nice), or even one who is interested in politics. If American girl wants to inspire girls, they should stop telling them everything needs to be pink (like the permanently attached underwear for starters) and that you have to pick a doll who either sings or dances. AG needs to start working on their business skills. Girls shouldn’t be afraid to like the color green or like science and be smart. Girls need to reach their full potential and if AG can straighten everything out then they can do that. I am really starting to loose faith in AG at this point but I haven’t lost all hope yet. I just want to see what they do in the future. -Bea

  14. I want an Irish doll that I can relate Back with my family’s Irish heritage and a doll who loves the arts, writing, plays, and crafting, and a doll that is into robotics and STEM. AG please stop with everything pink and short skirts. And don’t deny that you did it AG. We need girls to be interested in something other than dance and singing. There are so many great careers out there. Who thinks there should be a doll that wants to be a scientist, politician, doctor, artist, teacher, astronaut, comedian, inventor, cop, or a lawyer. Listen to us AG!

    • Could not agree more! While there are a lot of girls who take dance lessons, there are even more who don’t and are interested in other things. Why not someone in a marching band? Or who is in a gifted program in school where she mentors other kids? On the debate team? A mathlete? I’m sick to death of AG pigeonholing their modern characters into typical girl crap. Diversity!

    • At one point there was an Irish dance outfit complete with curls. It was beautiful shades of emerald green.

      Lindsey was the mechanic or tinkerer and Jewish. Kailey was the first environmentalist. Marisol was the first dancer and Hispanic. Jess was the first to travel and ended up liking archaeology; Lea follows in her footsteps with regards to travel and wildlife rescue. Nikki, Chrissa and Saige were the artists also looked at service dog training, bullying, and activism respectively. Lanie was essentially the biologist or botanist with her love of the outdoors. Kanani was the entrepreneur with her shave ice stand (of course, she took hula lessons too); Grace follow in Kanani’s footsteps with her bakery.

      Mia was the first one to solely focus on sport-ice skating. Later we had McKenna (rythmic gymnastics), Isabella (ballet), Gabriella (tap). So really only 5 (Marisol, Mia, McKenna, Isabella, Gabriella) of the 15 girls of the year have not had interests outside of sport or dance.

      • Sadly I didn’t ever get Nellie. I wasn’t old enough for AGs when she retired and her stuff is so high on eBay. 😭😭

      • I also feel like there aren’t any dolls solely interested in science astronomy and STEM. Listen to our voices AG!

      • Yes, I agree about the focus on STEM interests. They got close with the science faire set last year. Even the movie Mean Girls (in the end) shows how cool it is to have a brain and be a mathlete. One of my favorite scenes is when Cady’s crush tells her off for playing down her math skills. And now we have more information about those wonderful human calculators NACA employed (NACA became NASA; NACA used the calculator corps most heavily) thanks to Hidden Figures. (Loved that movie and those women are/were amazing!) Would love to see something about the human calculators pop up in MaryEllen’s and Melody’s stories to tie the histories together.

        With regards to Nellie. Check the secondary market – your local craigslist – I’ve found a couple, but didn’t jump fast enough to get her. The ones I have found were reasonably priced too.

      • You’re welcome. 🙂

        I keep looking for the Garnet holiday outfit, but they are always too expensive. 😦 It’s the one holiday outfit I kick myself for not getting.

  15. I recently tried to buy my daughter Addy for her birthday this June 2017. I asked the sales lady on the phone if the dolls still had their removable underwear, she told me no the dolls with the permanent underwear shipped in around January. I then continued to ask her if it was possible to see if any Addy dolls from before the change over were available in the back room or at the ware house, she said no and asked why I didnt like the permanent underwear. I responded saying, I have bought six dolls since 2014 and my daughter would not want her new doll to have any changes to the underwear. The lady told me that you can fit underwear over the permanent ones. I told her that was not acceptable, my daughter wants the original one. She then told me the orders are shipped from the warehouse, maybe I can get an older model in the order, but its not guarantee, and I can send the doll back if not satisfied. I am very sad and disgusted at the no care attitude about this perma panti issue. Even the sales people do not care if your satisfied or not. I will no longer do business with American Girl Doll until they respect the clients opinions and put the dolls back to where they use to be, historical made of better qualify, and no perma panties. I have bought an original Pleasant Co. Addy on Ebay, no perma panties on my daughters much wanted doll.
    A very unhappy mom in Millbury MA

    • I’m not sure which disturbs me more about this story–the fact that the salesperson was dismissive over your concern, or the fact that she doesn’t seem to know her product. From what I understand, the older historical dolls won’t have permapanties. So is this just a case of an unknowledgeable sales person, or is that not true either? So many things wrong with the company at the moment, I can’t blame you a bit for not wanting to buy from them anymore.

    • I read your comment and was confused. Everything I’ve read about the perma panty dolls is that with the BeForever’s they start with Maryellen, Melody, and Julie. Everyone before 1954 should not have perma panties. So how clueless is this sales associate?

      I’d call again and ask someone else. And one more time after that if the next associate is just as unhelpful. Third time is either the charm or a complete strike out.

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