It’s So Random

Today I thought I’d share a little gripe I have about buying dolls online. I’m not going to talk about eBay today. This is more about online shopping with Amazon and even the online versions of bricks and mortar stores like Myer, Target, K Mart and Big W in Australia.

Fashionista’s available in Hobart Target

These are the stores where I’ve bought the vast majority of new playline dolls over the past twenty years. Most of them have reduced the amount they carry so although I always look when I am able to visit one of these stores I look at their online stores as an alternative when I am unable to travel.

Recently, someone in a doll group posted that Target Australia was selling some of the Inspiring Women and other Signature lines at a good price so I hopped on their site to see what they had. Of course, as long as I was there I thought I might as well see if there were any new playline out. It was then that I noticed that when ordering Fashionistas or Chelsea and Friends you could not choose the doll you wanted. You would be sent one randomly. I’ve seen this before and it is not a trend I like very much. I like to choose a specific doll not have the store choose it for me. Some time ago when I was searching for Harry Potter dolls online I came across the same thing. The seller with the best price was offering a random doll. That didn’t suit me as I specifically wanted Harry. I’d rather pay more to get what I want than get something I don’t want or already have.

I have noticed recently that some stores have now added a place for the customer to agree to be sent a random choice. At least that makes it clearer. Although it was always stated on the websites it was in small print and not easy to see. However, if you don’t agree you probably can’t proceed with the purchase so it’s not really a choice just a warning.

Online ad for Chelsea dolls.

Of course, sellers of other goods do this random thing too. I’ve even seen it with clothing. A lot of things that come from China are like this and while I don’t mind buying half a dozen assorted doll outfits or pairs of shoes from an eBay or Amazon seller occasionally I certainly won’t buy my own clothes that way.

So. I’m interested to hear what your thoughts are. Would you mind getting sent a doll at random for yourself or to give a child or do you want to choose yourself. Let us know in the comments.


  1. I hate this! I had the same problem trying to buy one of the Tokyo Olympics dolls. It just smacks of laziness and a contempt of providing actual customer service. Other online stores, such as Toys R US and Toyworld manage to list and sell things individually, so there’s no excuse for the other stores. It would just mean adjusting their stock management procedures. It’s not good enough, and they wonder why retail here is failing and people are flocking to places such as eBay and Amazon. It’s time these stores took a good look at themselves and dragged their online services into the 21st century! Rant over, sorry, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wouldn’t want a random doll or outfit. I know I would either get one I l already had or the ugly one I didn’t like. both cases would make it a waste of money for me. My eye as a shopper and collector is automatically drawn to something I really like.That is the item I want and not a “Random something” I have had to pass on many a seller because or this. This is ok if you have nothing of that kind or you are maybe not very fussy. If you want to complete say a set of dolls then this won’t work. I think this is just laziness by the stores and sellers. They don’t want to put the time into it. Personalisation is not a happening thing although if you read their mission statement it would read “We are passionate about giving our customers a personalised experience blah blah blah” I don’t think random dolls fit in there at all. I have actually come to dislike any sentence that begins with “We are passionate about” or “Blah blah is our passion” Everyone says this these days and you will just get “Random” anything from them. If Myers, DJs , Target etc had a passion for their customer’s satisfaction I believe they would change this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They obviously don’t get that collectors are looking for a specific doll or type of doll. Even for a child I don’t think it works. I know it wouldn’t for me. If I’d seen a doll I really liked and then when it came it was a different one I know I would be disappointed. As you say it would be our luck to get the one we already had or the ugly one. We might get Man-Bun Ken ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had this a couple of times. I was collecting the repro Pedigree Sindy air hostesses and there were two I needed. EBay were offering buy one, get one free. I had a one in three chance of getting the two I needed. Knowing my luck, I sort of knew I’d get a duplicate. Although I did get one I already had, she has blonde hair and my other one is a brunette so still a slight difference. I bought the remaining one at a later date. Also I had an Argos voucher to use and you could buy 1 Ken doll or two for not much more. They were Fashionistas which in Ken’s case I did not have many so I thought it would be a good chance of getting two I didn’t have. I couldn’t choose, it just said “two supplied” so I knew this. The two Kens I got were both ones I didn’t have already so I was pleased with them. I would not normally do this either, I like to choose the doll I want, that’s why they are all made different, so we have a choice! When I wanted the Barbie doll with the prosthetic leg the shop had to order her from another store for me. Children are also particular in their choices, I know I was and still am.
    I can remember years ago looking at a catalogue when Cabbage Patch dolls came out. It stated, “We cannot guarantee which doll will be supplied as each doll is unique” Definitely a time not to order, I remember thinking, what if you don’t like the doll sent! Some things you just have to look at first or have the choice, random is not an option.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Children are particular and by doing this retailers are saying all dolls are the same and the whole point of Mattels new line is diversity, that kids can have a doll they can relate to. When stores do this random supply thing they make a mockery of that.


  4. It is Random, I never really tried shopping other than e-bay, so hadn’t even heard of that other than surplus buying where you get the item but they pick the color according to their available stock.,It’s certainly how I’m feeling as I receive yet another messed up order..and I have to track it and arrange to send it in random ordering do you get to send things back and try again? Or do you have to order more and hope to get something you want? It would be o.k. for me if I plan on donating new items to charity other way to say it, it IS so random!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d definitely want to choose. Like you, I’m usually looking for a particular doll, so to have the store choose for me, I wouldn’t want that at all!

    I don’t think my own customers would be very happy if I just sent them what I thought they might like!! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have not run across this random doll selling, but then again in Canada there are limited online retailers for Barbie dolls. Basically it’s Walmart, Toys r Us and Amazon. I can see where random ordering would be frustrating. I can’t imagine why anyone would want a random doll, unless you’re buyiing a group of dolls for charity. I don’t even know what to say about this type of selling because it’s so stupid. I do suspect part of the problem begins with Mattel. My understanding is that when stores order Fashionistas dolls or any other line of dolls, they don’t get to choose what they think their customers will want. Mattel just sends boxes of random dolls and the boxes may only have one or two of the most popular dolls in that line. It’s not an excuse for retailers selling random dolls, but Mattel’s distribution method doesn’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly wouldn’t help. It seems a weird way to market a product especially now when Mattel are going on about diversity. Apart from collectors and children I wonder if anyone cares though. Do parents think any old Barbie will shut their child up? I often used to wonder, when I worked at the Op Shop if the reason the children were so rough with the dolls was because their parents didn’t care enough to teach them how to play properly. But that is a whole other ranty post.


  7. I find the entire random purchase trend ex LOL or Shopkins mind boggling. “I have 10$ too much, I will waste it on a random product with a lot of packaging & glitter.” They even have some “surprise” dolls at 70$ in Canada that are full of excess plastic and glitter goo.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another thought I had is, they say it’s random which one you will get. What’s the betting that they send out the most unpopular ones which are not selling as well? It’s a clever way of shifting them! Another thing is that with the Fashionistas there are so many different ones that the stores cannot be bothered to list them separately (laziness!)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Just too much like the pink painted dolls where there were only 5 variants..too many people didn’t check the numbers on the tube to get different ones, and had a lot of duplicates..I saw one gals reveal that all 5 were the a hoarders exchange swap group where you could swap out for what you very shady..sad business.


      • In this case the person did pick her own but like I said didn’t bother to check or didn’t know the different numbers on the top of the canister were the different types. There was a guy in Canada who gave the different numbers so if you were looking for the AA one you could.In my case as I customize I can always use bodied and swap out the heads.But no excuse for retailers to forget buyers needs.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello! I’m a new reader to your blog. I found it after a very nice lady named Dorothy listed it as one of her favourites on my comment section.

    It really bothers me when stores do that. Probably some adults who are buying a random gift for a child and don’t know anything about dolls wouldn’t mind this practice, but it’s very upsetting. It doesn’t provide you any advantage compared to other retailers like Amazon that do allow you to choose the doll. Some stores give you the option to fill a comment box to say if you want an specific doll, but often they don’t pay attention to that and you end up with the one you didn’t want. Sorry, but I won’t buy dolls this way. If I wanted random items, I would buy blind boxes.

    Hope you have a great weekend.


    • Hello and welcome. Dorothy mentioned that she was going to list us as a favourite and that’s very flattering. I completely agree with you. Dolls are not jars of pickles and shouldn’t be sold that way. The comments here have overwhelmingly shown that collectors don’t like it but as you say an adult buying a random gift for a child probably doesn’t care. If the child didn’t have any dolls perhaps they wouldn’t mind but I’m sure that many do have a preference. We can all remember being a child and seeing something in the store or on TV and saying “I want one just like that.”


  11. I’m seeing it more. The color change dolls were not offered w/ a choice, the seller said that they are all random, w/ no effort to use codes on lids to assure no duplicates. Or a seller w/ two doll varients showing the caucasion and AA , but not willing to send one of each if you buy two.

    Liked by 1 person

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