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What Are They Selling?

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on January 16, 2011 | Comments (12)

I live in an area at the north east end of Los Angeles. Centuries ago, a monk at a nearby monastery noticed that the soil and climate were the same as his native Spain where his family grew olives. He imported olive seedlings, and within a few decades the area boasted the largest olive orchard in the world. It was said that it looked like a “sea of trees.” Today, this area no longer has those olive trees, but it is named with a Spanish word meaning Sea of Trees.

This is a very religious area with many Roman Catholics. There’s a nearby graveyard where people often have picnics at the graves of their late relatives, a practice which seems to be popular in some Latino religious traditions.

Today, I went to a small restaurant. At the door to the restaurant is a barrage of candy and toy dispensers. When I was a kid they cost a penny or nickel. A few were very expensive at a quarter. Well, I saw one vending machine that sold “string dolls.” I snapped a picture of the front for you:

It costs $1.00 for this toy. That’s pretty expensive, in my opinion, but that’s not what interested me. About a yard to the right of this vending machine was another similar machine. Look at what it offered:

Look at the pictures. The toys are identical! Some vendor decided it would be a wonderful idea to sell “Voodoo Dolls” to children. Needless to say, I had to get one. So I stuck in the four quarters and turned the dial. Here’s what came out:

On the top of the pink lid were two overlapping letters, “AA.” I have no idea who is selling Voodoo Dolls to children, but I doubt it’s American Airlines! I opened the top and here’s what’s inside:

The actual doll is made of string and is about two-and-a-quarter inches tall. It has two black buttons for very wide-set eyes. The “leggings” are more string—actually thread—of an orangey color.

If they included some pins and instructions on how to curse your parents, I’d be worried. Luckily, no directions were included.

Reader Comments

Written By Alizabeth
on January 17th, 2011 @ 10:38 am

Wow, anything to make money! Thankful that they don’t come with pins and instructions, ohhh still laughing.

Written By Melissa A
on January 17th, 2011 @ 10:59 am

Those are seriously adorable little dolls. I’d love to have one. Cracks me up, though, that they’re selling the re-marketed product right next to the other version.

Written By Donna
on January 17th, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

A quick web search turns up string dolls are from Thailand and have a positive connotation. LA is so multicultural it is quite likely that a Thai vendor could be in an Hispanic neighbothood. They are cute too!

Written By Brandon
on January 18th, 2011 @ 12:08 am

That’s wonderful !! I want one.

Written By Karmaghna
on January 18th, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

I think there is a market amongst your readers. Buy the lot of them and sell them for a buck fifty.

Written By Scott K Smith
on January 19th, 2011 @ 11:42 am

First I had no idea you were an Angelino, at least at this point. I frequent those areas myself, being on the East Side There is lots to be had over here. There’s to much focus on the west side. I write this all with a little hope for the other los angeles. 🙂

I would love to know where you picked them up.

Written By April
on January 21st, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

These look like bigger version of “worry dolls” that Native Americans use. You whisper your worries to them at night before bed, place them under your pillow & go to sleep. In the morning the doll & your worries are gone. It is sad that someone it using these to make money, when they do offer help to a lot of people. ( well people I know anyway) But that would be scry (and a little funny) if it did come with a pin & instructions.

Written By Sandy Vickers
on January 22nd, 2011 @ 2:28 am

It is a shame it didn’t have pins and instructions. You may surprised to know that voodoo dolls were originally for healing not for cursing. Not saying you couldn’t use them to curse, but anything can be used to curse. How many times have you walked down a sidewalk and recited “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Think about it 😀

Written By Angie
on January 22nd, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

I have similar dream dolls, yes a pin and matches…that would be tooo funny,..not. but it is nice to see they are not banned.

Written By Alicea
on February 24th, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

So what? People have a hobby of collecting dolls. If they sold pins with it, then there’d be a problem, but they don’t so what’s the issue? These ‘voodoo’ dolls are a joke and not of people, or for harming whatsoever. They are cute and just another toy. Get over it.

Written By Rod
on November 5th, 2011 @ 12:17 am

The A&A logo on the lid is for A&A global. A vending machine company.

Written By brittany
on November 22nd, 2011 @ 11:02 am

They are so cute I bought like seven of them I love them so do my kids

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