One of the Biggest Scandals in the History of Toys. The Dark Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids

When we think of toys, we think about our childhoods and how much we enjoyed those early years of our lives. And then, inevitably, we think about that one special toy that was a favorite. That one special toy you couldn’t do without. A special blanket, a teddy bear, a truck or even a special doll.

There was one particular toy that, more than any other toy, that became the symbol of toy obsession. The Cabbage Patch Kid.

This was a toy that drove people crazy. It was one of the longest-running doll franchises ever in the United States.

Cabbage Patch Mania in 1983

If you were a kid, parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, sister, brother – anyone – in the 1980s, then you would know about the Cabbage Patch Kids mania that gripped the country in 1983.

That year on Black Friday, people were lining up at stores – not to get great deals but buying a little Cabbage Patch Kid – at full price.

And buyers did everything they could – including wrestle each other – to get their hands on a single little doll. This was the era of the Cabbage Patch doll.


Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

A Foreshadowing of Things to Come

In the heyday of the Cabbage Patch Kids, people would camp outside stores to try and get their hands on one of these dolls. Others would attack displays and even swarm through parking lots for one of the baby dolls.

The kind of craze you saw for Cabbage Patch Kids was a foreshadowing of how shopping would become decades later for items such as iPhones, gaming consoles or manic Black Friday sales.



It was the sale of these dolls on that Black Friday in 1983 that set the trend for what would later become a norm – the crazy, manic buying during Black Friday sales every year.

How far did this craze go?

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