A Kentucky mother of three, Asheria Brown, found a large discrepancy in the pricing of a popular Walmart doll set. And sadly, it’s not an isolated incident. Brown’s daughter found a Kid Connection doll set in the toy aisle, but found that only Caucasian options were available in-store.
So, Brown decided to look online for the set’s Black counterpart. When she found the set, she was shocked. “They were 14 dollars and 97 cents more expensive than the white babies I saw in the store,” she told WCPO.
“There are seven Black babies and there are seven white babies,” said Brown about the doll sets previously available on Walmart.com. “But one set is $39.97, the other is $25.”
Walmart has since apologized for the incident and told WCPO, “we lowered the price on a select group of toys, including only one of these dolls, to help drive sales. Unfortunately, we overlooked the impact these changes would have on similar items. This was an unintentional error and we sincerely apologize to anyone it may have offended.”
While selective sale pricing may have been the reasoning behind the Walmart price change, customers have repeatedly found pricing differences in Black and Caucasian dolls at many retailers.
In 2014, Target was the store in question. The Barbie Fashion Maker African American doll was reportedly being sold for $49.99, while the Caucasian version of the doll was being sold for $23.49.
When alerted to the pricing difference, Target apologized and claimed that both dolls should’ve reflected the same price. However, due to a system malfunction, this change did not occur.
Deb Brit, Founder of the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture, told WPCO that calling out these discrepancies is one way to elicit change. “People have to go like this woman did, and address it with store managers, to make sure this doesn’t happen again. People have to really speak up,” Britt said.
Brown stated, that she wished moms didn’t have to complain to, “show their kids that they can have a baby that looks like them without paying an extra $15 to do that.”