The advertisement in the magazine offered 100 dolls for a dollar. How could a kid resist?
The accompanying blurb stated that the buyer would receive 100 dolls representing different countries around the world. The artwork showed German dolls in pretty dirndls. Spanish flamenco dancers with their dresses flying in the air. Cowboys in big hats and Native Americans in feathered headdresses. Hats were popular — sombreros, conical hats, and clown hats. Women with baskets of vegetables on their heads.
I was too excited for words when I put my dollar in the envelope and dropped it in the mail. I was probably nine or ten at the time and didn’t think for a second that there was anything false about the advertisement. My parents tried to prepare me for disappointment (this was not the first time I had fallen for an “amazing” deal that didn’t turn out well), but I wouldn’t be swayed.
I watched for the mailman. I didn’t want to miss seeing him lug this huge box of dolls to the door. I visualized those dolls in all their pretty “authentic” costumes.
The package came in our regular mailbox. Wrapped in brown paper. The size of one of those paper boxes that used to hold wooden matches. If you’ve never seen a box of wooden matches, imagine the length and width of one and a half IPhones.
Would they be sending the dolls one at a time? That would take forever!
I tore open the package to see which one came first and found…all 100 dolls. They were 2 inches tall. Flat. Pink plastic toys made in molds. There were no colorful costumes; the “authentic” dress was shaped in the plastic mold. I had also assumed (isn’t that an awful word?) that each one of the 100 would be representative of a different country, but what I discovered was that I had several of the same thing — a handful of cowboys, for example, and a whole bunch of Spanish dancers.
I made the best of it and spent time sorting them into like piles or playing games of pretend that weren’t nearly as fun as I had imagined they would be. It was a long time, however, and a few more mistakes made before I quit believing everything I read.
Did you ever crack the piggy bank and order something from an ad that sounded too good to be true?