Dave Ramsey, the millionaire evangelical Christian money coach who’s famous for telling his clients they “can’t afford it” and hectoring them to pay their bills in cash, would have thought I had lost my mind.
And, indeed, it is true that I was aflame with that particularly American form of madness which manifests itself as Having to Shop. The day before I had faced some obstacles peculiar to the American professional workplace, nothing that was all that punishing but was disorienting and exhausting enough—work-life balance, blah blah blah—that the only appropriate remedy was to spend money. I took my five-year-old daughter to the American Girl store in Tyson’s Corner Mall.
This was a matter of some urgency: The dolls Marie-Grace and Cécile had “been retired,” and I was in a race to get at least one of them.
Let us pause now to consider the phenomenon of American Girl dolls in general, premium-priced, but not especially fragile or rare dolls that were once noted for their exceptionally and historically detailed accessories. The line of dolls with accompanying books launched way back at the end of the 1980s, long after my own doll years in the more modest era of the patchwork-clad Holly Hobbie. [Read more...]