What’s the deal with Monster High?
Let me just say up front that I’m an adult and a doll collector, and I’ve certainly got no problem with adults collecting and/or playing with dolls, and that ought to be obvious within 30 seconds of reaching this site.
What I’m about sick to death of are empty shelves and scalping. If you’re in love with Monster High, then I’m sure you are too.
After months of looking at them every time I saw them in the store, I finally gave in and started my collection in April 2011. I was only going to buy Lagoona. But as soon as I took her out of the box and saw her delicately webbed fingers and fins, I was so charmed I had to go back to the store and get everyone else. And then I had to come back home and order Clawdeen online and pay for rush shipping because such was my Monster High fever.
Obviously it’s not just me because the Monster High shelves have been decimated for the last, what?, SIX MONTHS? I thought there must have been some kind of manufacturing disaster, but I can’t find any such thing. Here and there I read on the forums that stores are getting deliveries, they just can’t keep the dolls on the shelves.
Then my daughter became interested in Monster High. IN DOLLS. She’s nearly eight and was all about stuffed animals. I had so been waiting for her to get interested in dolls, hoping it wouldn’t skip a generation, and FINALLY she takes a real interest. So in January, off we went to go build her collection. And I found myself wasting all kinds of time and gas and just getting frustrated that we couldn’t find anything to buy for her in the stores. Not to mention the dire situation of knowing that Gil Webber existed and yet was never to be seen in person and here was Miss Lagoona, sitting on the shelf, just longing…
By the end of January I had had enough of the driving around and wasting money on gas. I gave in and got our collections up to date via eBay. For a few of the dolls, the ones I have NEVER seen on a store shelf, I paid a premium price.
Now, I’m not ashamed about what I spend on dolls. That’s my thing. Another parent will get season tickets to a sports thing and take their kid to that and no one blinks an eye. This is what I choose to do with my child. Doesn’t mean I’m happy to pay double retail or more, but to be able to share the thing I love with my daughter? Well, this is becoming a “priceless” credit card commercial.
Here’s the part that makes me really sad, though. There are other girls out there who are just as enchanted with these dolls as we are. And those girls don’t have moms who get the doll thing, and they’re not about to go online to hunt down some hard to find doll and then pay way more than its “worth” for it.
I mean, there are always dolls that are out of our range. When I was a girl, it was Madame Alexander. When you were a girl, maybe it was American Girl. But it shouldn’t be a mass-produced doll like Monster High.
The doll hobby could use more doll fanatics. After the baby boomers are gone we’ve got a generation for whom doll play (and anything seen as traditionally feminine) was kind of discouraged. And after that we’ve got generations for whom the period of childhood, the okay to play years, the okay to like dolls years, gets shorter and shorter. The window of opportunity to inspire some these girls to grow into the doll fanatics who will play with us and trade with us when they grow up is narrowing.
So it bums me out when I see girls inspired to collect and play with dolls only to be thwarted by the lack of availability. My daughter took several of her dolls with her to dance class a few weeks ago and one of the girls fell in love with Toralei. Of course, it had to be Toralei, right? Not one of the core group you can get in several incarnations. Not one of the new girls you might have a shot at finding reasonably. Toralei, the girl you pretty much can’t get for less than $40. Because, seriously, if you had seen this girl’s face when she held that doll, you would have gone home and looked it up on eBay, too. But it’s not appropriate for me to spend that much on someone else’s child (not to mention having no occasion to give it and there being other kids in the family), and her mom is never going to stumble across it on a store shelf and pick it up.
And it pisses me off to think that part of this lack of availability is due to the market manipulation of scalping. That the people who are getting their hands on them first are only interested in turning a quick profit at the expense of somebody’s mom.
And I seriously hope no one is turning their garage into a Monster High holding facility in which they’re hoarding these things by the case so that, when the price goes even higher, they’ll REALLY make a killing. I just can’t see that happening, can you? Again, mass produced doll. No matter what the demand is right now, it’s got to be a temporary thing. I’ve got a whole bunch of formerly pricey Barbies to attest to that. Lucky for me, they will always be beautiful, regardless of market value.
I’m not saying people don’t have the right to buy and sell dolls for what the market will bear. I’m just saying that when I see the other side of it, when I talk to a grade school age collector I know who hasn’t even been able to see some of the newer dolls yet, when I see little girls going without so that adults can keep dolls on the Amazon Marketplace for 2-3 times the MSRP, it makes me sad and pisses me off. And I have a right to be sad and pissed off.
So if you’re buying the few dolls that are on the shelves–and hey, I am–I hope it’s because you love them.