History

The Iconic Phenomenon Known As The Cabbage Patch Dolls

The 1980s are remembered for many things—music, fashion, politics. However, there is one icon that came out of the decade that even still today can cause quite the uproar—that of the Cabbage Patch Doll.

It is no secret that in November 1983, a phenomenon like no other swept across the nation resulting in average, everyday people going teetotally bonkers!  The reason—Cabbage Patch Dolls.

When the cute little dolls hit the shelves, almost instantaneously, the demand was so massive, and the dolls were so scarce that stores were experiencing riots on a daily basis.

Image result for images of the cabbage patch dolls riots

Image: Vice

Parents of children who expected to see the doll under their Christmas tree would end up driving distances of hundreds of miles, just on the off chance that they may procure one.

As if the excessive driving wasn’t enough, parents would fork over big bucks for those dolls that were considered rare and even more valuable.

In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, an all-out riot broke out at the Zayre department store.  The customers reportedly got so out of control that the store manager, William Shigo, had to grab a baseball bat in order to protect himself from any bodily harm.  Shigo was quoted in the New York Times as saying:

“This is my life that’s in danger!”

Image: Timeline

The background behind the dolls, which were designed by Xavier Roberts, is that they were “born” in a cabbage patch.  They were then “picked,” and customers would buy or “adopt,” them.  The “adoption” was made a “legal” act and certified by the document that came with the toy, offering an official look.

More often than not, parents desperate to purchase a doll for their child would wait in line for hours, some for even days, in order to obtain one. However, when the sales started, pandemonium ensued with boxes of the dolls being flung here and there.

Although a handful of the customers were able to make a purchase, in a matter of minutes, the dolls were announced as sold out.