Someone at American Girl has lost their mind… (or at least their ability to have any common sense)

When the 2020 Girl Of The Year was released, I was particularly intrigued by shots of a VW Bus that appeared to be part of the collection.  However, it wasn’t released at the new year.  Instead, customers were invited to sign up for email notification when the item was available, sometime in the spring.  Hmmm…

Last night the e-mail hit my inbox.  Not only is it not spring, but…well.  The price for this item is $650!  I think someone at AG has totally lost the plot.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s cute as heck.  But not for more than the price of what my car payment is.  I calculated it out–by the time I paid tax and shipping, it comes out to $715.  That’s MORE than what my mortgage payment was!

Here are the pics, from the AG website.  I don’t usually like to do this with items that haven’t yet been released, or with photos that aren’t mine, but since they’ve apparently lost their minds, I figure I might as well lose mine.

 

Let me just say, I’m not the only one appalled at the price.  AG’s FB page is already rapidly filling up with complaints and people are using the reviews section on their website to express their not so great sentiments.

A couple of things to note.  First off–you don’t get free shipping on this item.  Yep, isn’t that insanity?  So much for good customer relations and the idea that if you spend over $125, you get free shipping.  The description of the item is very vague, but in response to some of the complaints on the FB page, they are stating that “it’s made with real metal.”  What parts exactly?  And plated in gold???  Something tells me that any discounts that might come out in the coming months will not be applicable to this item as well.

Let me just point out that I’m not complaining because I can’t afford this, because I could easily buy it.  I’m complaining because to me, $650 for an item that is supposed to be for children is absolute insanity.  I’m going to put this in a bit more perspective.  I have a very nice acoustic guitar, made by a top brand.  The model I have is the most expensive consumer model (before you go into the professional series).  It’s considered to be one of the top guitars available, made of solid wood, handmade with way more detail than a child’s toy.  Bruce Springsteen, Blake Shelton and the late Glenn Frey use/used this brand.  And the retail price…$650.  A very nice, Schwinn bicycle costs around $350.  Let’s get a little more real too.  The average US family spends $650 a month on groceries.  At the price of this item with shipping and tax, I could make two car payments! (and have some money left!)

As much as I hate to say it, I am really hoping that AG gets stuck with these.  Not holding my breath because there are some people out there who are of that mindset that they just have to have it, no matter what price it costs.  These are also the same people who have to have every new incarnation of the iPhone at an overinflated price, are driving vehicles they can’t afford and are probably paying a ridiculous amount of interest on their credit cards.  Yes, I’m being judgy here, but it’s something that someone needs to say because everyone else has their heads in the proverbial sand and are living in the “rainbows and unicorns” world of disillusion.  Somewhere the stupidity has to come to a stop!!!!!!

I feel bad for the parents who have to explain to their children that, no, Santa isn’t going to bring you that.  I guess the positive takeaway is that these kids are learning early on that life can be tough.  But it’s sad that a TOY COMPANY is contributing to that disappointment.  The other side to it is that there will be the unscrupulous jerks who will buy these up, also messing up the numbers so that AG thinks these are selling well–but with the intent of doing nothing more than taking them to Ebay to make a huge profit.  I hope those people also get stuck with these items.  A perfect example of this at the current moment are the multiples of Grace’s bakery for sale on the secondary market, and they simply aren’t selling.  Awwww… (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing?)

It really saddens me that an item designed for kids has turned into a tool for financial exploitation.  I truly thought that American Girl was changing their ways a bit when they dropped the pricing on their dolls and then made a significant push to improve the quality on some of their newer releases.  I’m afraid this latest release is a potential trainwreck for a company already suffering financial losses.  Who is running this show???

So…how do we get this to stop?  QUIT BUYING THESE ITEMS AT THESE RIDICULOUSLY INFLATED PRICES!  As long as they feel the consumer will purchase it, they will continue to make them and charge whatever they feel like charging for them.  It’s as simple as that.  I’ve not seen this much pushback so fast on a bad decision from American Girl since the whole permapanty fiasco, so maybe we’ll see some backpedaling in the coming weeks.  We’ll see.  All I know is I’m not spending $715 (w/shipping and tax) on a toy.  I love my doll stuff, I love VW’s, I think it’s very cute, but even I have my limits.

Rant over.

(Edited at 10:58AM EST  **Note: When I wrote this post, people were posting “reviews” on the AG website to express their displeasure with this ridiculous price.  There were about 19 reviews posted.  On a recent check, they have all been deleted.  Again, American Girl not dealing with negative criticism very well.  I’m having flashbacks.)

(Edited at 11:41AM EST  **I had posted a comment to Facebook about the price and exactly what was metal since that seemed to be their justification for this ridiculous price tag.  This is a screen shot of the conversation.  Laugh amongst yourselves.  I’m also having difficulties even reading replies, which makes me think I’ve been limited by them.  Good way to treat a Berry member.)

 

12 thoughts on “Someone at American Girl has lost their mind… (or at least their ability to have any common sense)

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. For us in Canada that would be $850 plus shipping of about $150 and then import duties as well. I can afford it, but I’m not paying $1000 for a doll van with a table in it. It’s absolutely absurd and insulting that AG thinks we are so foolhardy with our money that we would just throw it at them like that. It’s a hard no from me.

    ginnie / http://www.fakingitmostly.com

    • Yep, and for the most part, all of the comments I’m seeing various places are similar. I’d love to have it. But not at this price. The remote control car is only $215, how they can justify the price difference is a mystery to me. Even the pop up camper was less than $200. Someone has rocks in their head.

  2. The price is ridiculous. I wonder how much American Girl had to pay Volkswagen for the use of the name. That may have added to the cost, but not $650 worth. Did you notice in the email it said there was a limit of 3 per order? Can you imagine anyone ordering three vans? That would amount to over $2000. Totally crazy!

    • I’m sure they had to pay something–but the VW Bug they sold wasn’t $650, so I think it must not have been too bad. I really think this is an example of price gauging at it’s worst and perhaps it will backfire on them.

      Yeah, I saw the three limit, mentioned it to Evil Twin when I talked to her and she just burst out laughing. I’m sure there is some idiot out there who maxed out a credit card thinking they would make all kinds of money selling these on Ebay. I think they might end up with a white elephant instead!

  3. The price is insane! It’s adorable and, being a California girl whose home beach is Huntington Beach, I’d love to have one. But the price is absolutely ridiculous!

    • I’d love to know how many of these actually sold. Based on the complaints I’ve seen in various places, I suspect not many.

  4. I’ve actually read a few comments where people have said they bought it and one young blogger actually posted a video of the bus that she and her dad went and purchased along with the berry reward member wetsuit. I’m really sad. I was really looking forward to this item being released and I’m not sure now that I will get it.

    • I think that if they don’t sell as well as they expect, we’ll see them go on “sale” at some point. Might have been the plan all along. See how much the public is willing to pay and gouge the heck out of those who will pay any amount. There is NO way this item is worth $650. When I was a kid, I had a Barbie GMC motorhome that was every bit as large as this one. Very detailed too. I found what the price of it was and recalculated it to today’s costs. Even it doesn’t come out to $650. Not even close!

      • Yeah. I could understand AG asking for a price between $400 and $500 (maybe even $550) due to the VW sponsorship, size, detail, and working parts; but $650 is extreme and I was hoping the rumors were false. Nope. I hope it does get marked down but I bet the mercenary minds at corporate will make it exempt from any coupon codes – kind of like they do most of the time with the create your own dolls. SMH. I also (and my husband agrees) that it is underhanded that AG keeps deleting reviews. Not a good look for the company. There were 31 (only about 2 positive) reviews yesterday on the AG site for the product and when I looked today – all gone.

      • They have been regularly deleting all of the reviews since this item was made available to the rewards members, even the good ones. Which makes NO sense at all. But typical AG behavior. It reminds me of the whole perma-panty debacle a few years ago and how they couldn’t handle the criticism. Their FB page has a nice canned response to every person who makes a comment about the price, noting how it has “metal parts”. Uh…I’ve probably got more metal in my mouth than this thing has! I’m really disgusted with them as a company at the moment, I think now they are just taking advantage of people because they think they can. And what about free shipping on all items over $125?? Why all of a sudden is this exempt? Also–I’ve seen people making comments about Grace Thomas’ bakery as a comparison. At least that was all wood, not primarily plastic. All it’s going to take to break this is for a sibling to sit on it or an accidental trip down a set of stairs.

  5. My daughter started to lose interest in AG around 2014/collected her last item in 2015 and I didn’t really start collecting until late 2017/2018 so we missed grace’s bakery. When I first started collecting I was focused on the historical dolls and missed the whole permapanty fiasco until after many fans had protested and made AG change their policy. So I think this is my first “controversy” with the company and it saddens me. You would think with their sales slipping every quarter ag would be more mindful of their actions. Like you, I was hopeful they were making a positive turn around with lowering the price of dolls and mostly returning to quality materials. Now this seems like a step back. I also find their response to negative comments about the exorbitant cost is hilarious. Aren’t all of their items supposed to be premium toys? And I love how you are letting people know that only a small part is actually metal. I think I’ve seen your comments on Facebook trying to inform people.

    • Yes, that’s me, I’ve tried to make people aware of that because they aren’t doing a very good job of it. So many bloggers/YouTubers are afraid to say anything negative for fear of angering the beast, but not this cookie. I think there needs to be a high level of transparency when it comes to toys for numerous reasons, and to me, misleading consumers by saying “it’s metal” the way they have just to drive sales is horribly dishonest. I sent them an e-mail too, and may discontinue purchasing from them because of this. Nothing like getting a good customer back, only to alienate them once again! I have a $30 rewards certificate coming next month and I will use it up, but may be rethinking any further purchases from American Girl.

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