We’re Not Playing! Black Barbies & White Barbies Don’t Always Cost The Same

December 12, 2014  |  

Hmm. Why wouldn’t Black Barbies cost the same as white ones? CNBC recently did some price checking and found more than a few discrepancies when comparing the two. Online at Wal-Mart, the Mattel product had different prices based it appeared on the race of the Barbie. The Barbie I Can Be Ice Skater Doll, African American was priced at $11.87, while the White version was just $9.88, which could be a more attractive price for shoppers.

But the retailing giant said the pricing discrepancy was not on purpose and in fact it was an unintended error.

“They should always be the same price, across all ethnicities,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said Tuesday evening. “This is just a pricing error. We corrected it immediately.”

And Wal-Mart promised to make up the price difference with a gift card for customers who bought the more expensive African-American doll.

Seems innocent enough, but Wal-Mart’s website isn’t the only retailer pricing the Barbies differently. Toys R Us offers the same African-American Barbie skating doll on sale for $10.99 — less than the $14.99 price of the white Barbie.

“It is our policy to price like dolls of all ethnicities the same. We will ensure the pricing is corrected,” Kathleen Waugh, vice president, corporate communications at Toys R Us.

“Discount retailer Target already caught heat from its own case of Barbie pricing discrepancy. The retailer originally priced its African-American fashion design marker Barbie at $49.99—more than twice the sale price of the $23.49 White version,” reported WCPO’s website. Target now sells both Barbies for $20.99.

“It is never our intention to offend our guests with our product assortment,” a Target spokesman said, in a statement. “Both dolls should have reflected the same pricing, however, due to a systems issue this change did not occur.”

Mattel did not respond to CNBC’s requests for a comment.

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