TARGET’s Controversial Ethnic Pricing Model?

Target Logo

While shopping with my sister and beautiful niece at a local TARGET I ran across an interesting and controversial Baby Alive doll.

While browsing the toy isle, we came across a line of Baby Alive dolls waiting to be picked by some precious child. My sister glanced over at a few of the Baby Alive dolls on display, looked away then with a slightly puzzled look swung around to examine the dolls more closely. She then turned to me and pointed out a discrepancy in the pricing of the dolls. I took a look at the dolls and low and behold one dolls cost was $34.99 while another, with exactly the same content, was $29.99. My niece ran from one toy to another trying to decide what she wanted to take home while my sister and I puzzled over what was discovered.

I examined the pricing stickers assuming that one of the dolls had been mistakenly priced differently. Well, I was wrong, they are the exact same doll, well almost. The difference between the Baby Alive dolls is distinct but not one that should have any effect on the cost. What is the difference you say?

The baby Alive that cost $29.99 was brown while the other, costing $34.99 was white.

Target's Baby Alive - Ethnic Pricing

So, why was the brown doll cheaper than the white doll? The labeling was correct and they are exactly the same product, of course with the one distinct difference. There is a slight difference on the pricing stickers, one was labeled BRUN and the other BLND, I assume that BRUN is brunet and BLND is blonde

After taking several pictures of the display, what came to mind was a reminder of my days in school. In those days we had an extremely controversial bake sale. Anyone remember the “Affirmative Action” bake sale? For those that are not versed in the “Affirmative Action” bake sale, here is a short explanation.

Customers are charged different prices for cupcakes and cookies based on race and gender. For example; White males paid $2, Black males paid .75 cents, and Native American men paid .25 cents, while Women received .25 cents off, etc. The sale is designed to strike up debate about the racial and sexual preference practices of affirmative action. This was not a controversial bake sale though. This is the real deal, as plain as day, right before my eyes.

I will be following through on this story by having a conversation with the TARGET store manager and by placing a call to Hasbro Toys.

Stay tuned for updates…


TARGET – Tucson SE
9615 E Old Spanish Trl.
Tucson, AZ 85748-7540
(520) 296-4290


I talked to the manager at Target today. The manager was unable to explain the price difference. A person working the section was able to shed some light on the price difference. He stated that the price is wrong on the doll that is $29.99, it is suppose to be the same price as the other, I thanked him and went on my way.

I was at target picking up some scripts that would not be ready for another 20 min. I went back by the isle after picking up the scripts to see that the tags have not been changed or pulled.

I also talked to Hasbro Toys, they declined to comment at first but a bit of persistence got me redirected to a department that would be able to assist me. They stated that they set a MSRP but the stores sets the final price. Hasbro would not give me the MSRP for each doll. The call ended rather abruptly at this point.

To add a bit of speculation I am betting or willing to bet that if the prices have been reversed it would have made the news. It would be posted on the front page of some, I’m sure. There is another instance of this happening where it was reversed and the main stream media picked it up and ran with it.


I visited the toy isle once more 2 days after the discovery to find that the price of the dolls is now equal, crisis averted, HAHA.

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