Saturday, August 2, 2008

American Girl Store, Chicago, Illinois

Warning: Visiting the subject of this post will cause your wallet to open up and large bills to fly out.

At the risk of demonstrating a blatant show of CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION, I wanted to make a few comments regarding our visit a few weeks ago to the American Girl Store in downtown Chicago.

If you have never heard of American Girl dolls, you probably do not have a daughter. By the age of 4, your child should be able to hop on one foot, speak in complete sentences, and demonstrate a wanton and unrelenting desire for everything American Girl.

And just as Mommies, too, get caught up in the Wiggles craze, The Thomas Train craze and The Webkinz craze, American Girl is no exception. Admittedly, our entire family, with one obvious tag-a-longer, looked forward to visiting the widely acclaimed and very popular Chicago American Girl Store.

We arrived in downtown Chicago about 10:15 A.M. on a Sunday morning. First mistake. If you visit the store on a weekend, arrive prior to 10:00 A.M. to get $12.00 all day parking rates. As it was, we ended up paying almost triple that... but we won't dwell on that.

The store is located at the intersection of Michigan and Chicago Avenues, just a few blocks from Lake Shore Drive and Water Tower Place. Wear comfortable shoes, and prepare to spend at least several hours. Even if you don't like to shop, you will enjoy the activity and ambiance of this area. There are some cool sidewalk cafes, but, for the die-hard fast food fan, you will find a McDonald's and a Subway nearby as well.

The store itself is 3 stories high, and sells every American Girl doll, article of clothing, and accessory ever created. The store has a reputation for outstanding customer service, but that appears to be a myth right up there with Nessie. It would be impossible to expect personalized customer service in a store packed wall to wall with giggling girls and their doting Moms. The best I saw was a few uniformed security officers saying "this way please". Once I pointed to one of the dolls and asked which character she was. The attendant looked at me like I had just asked asked her how many square feet in an acre.

Fortunately, there were plenty of checkouts, and the store was well stocked, so we had no trouble making a few selections and checking out expediently. I was hoping our daughter would choose the beautiful Kai doll or a "look just like me" doll with luxurious black hair and dark eyes, but alas, that was not to be. She chose the freakin ugly pink beauty chair and accessories. Fine. Note to self: this isn't about me.

All in all, I'm glad we went. More to satisfy our curiousity than for any whopping great time. To me, it would have been far more satisfying if towards the back of the store they had a giant "clearance" section but that just won't happen at American Girl.

If we go again, it will be more of an afterthought than the main event. We'll save the time, trouble and expense for the Museum of Science and Industry or the Shedd Aquarium - which ROCKS!

Oh yeah, and finally for my one "cerebral" reader, there are 43,560 square feet in an acre.


Sidneysmom said...

Please don't tell my daughter about this store.

Raising my kids RIGHT said...

It's not so much the cost of dolls that bother 'em Diane, it's that they're {gasp} American!

Scott J said...

I have been there. Couldn't believe how much girl stuff for doll things, and girl...stuff there was. I was jealous that there was never a GI Joe store like that when I was a kid. Bought my ex's Daughter an outfit that matched her American Girl Doll outfit. $$$$$ yea, no kidding.

Diane Vespa said...

Wow! That was an extremely nice boyfriendly-like gesture. Unfortunately for her your an "X". Oh well.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

We have a clearance section :-)

Knight in Dragonland said...

Jeesh, Red Dot ... you have to turn a post about dolls into a snarky political commentary? Let it go once in a while ... you're going to pop a gasket!

My girls have somehow evaded the whole American Girl scene, and my wallet is quite thankful. Webkinz, Carebears, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Ponies, Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers ... all permeate my household ad nauseam, but not American Girl. said...

I just had to say your kids are soooo cute! I just want to hug them! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diane Vespa said...

Back at ya, girlfriend. Congrats on your BIG DAY today!!! ;)