This was posted on the AG Benefit Sale Facebook today:
Hello American Girl Benefit Sale Fans and Ticket Holders, On behalf of the board of directors of Madison Children's Museum, and our staff and volunteer team of workers, we are so appreciative of your energy and enthusiasm, as well as your patience and participation. Many of you completed our online survey. Your answers have helped to guide every aspect of our decision making.
Over the past few weeks, we evaluated multiple projected scenarios that could affect our ability to carry out a successful benefit sale this year. We knew that this year was going to be a challenge, but it's become clear that logistical difficulties and uncertainties necessitate making major compromises to be able to have any kind of benefit sale at all.
We have concluded that there will be a 2020 American Girl Benefit Sale, and the sale will be ONLINE ONLY, with orders placed on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. All orders will be shipped to the purchaser. We are unable to offer any curbside pickup options.
This is not the benefit sale that we were planning for, nor is it the benefit sale that many of you eagerly anticipate all year long. Given the scope of the changes, we feel it is only appropriate to change our longstanding refund policy: we will offer refunds to current ticket holders.
Additionally, after careful review, we've decided that no additional tickets will be offered for this year's benefit sale.
Why are these changes necessary
Moving this year's sale to online purchase with shipping-only fulfillment has been a difficult decision, and we know this will be a disappointment to many of you. We love the energy and excitement of the warehouse sale as much as you do, and we were looking forward to seeing you this year—even if only through a car window! However, we take our responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our workers, and for our visiting patrons, very seriously. It became clear that any in-person pickup system would require many volunteers to work in close quarters for weeks. In that scenario, we could not guarantee our workers' health and safety, which is our foremost priority. Additionally, if things were to become so unstable that the planned pickup window wouldn't work, we wouldn't have the financial resources to rent and staff a space suitable for pickup for as long as would be needed. Shipping all purchases is the only way we could safely offer any kind of a benefit sale this year.
We hoped the change to online would allow us to resume selling tickets, but after taking inventory of our available product, we didn't feel we could ensure a good experience for a larger group. Nor was it fair to make thousands of people compete for a handful of additional tickets. No additional tickets will be sold.
Thank you for your understanding and support. Together, through this annual benefit sale, we truly do change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. If you'd like to know how Madison Children's Museum continues to enrich children's lives, even as the museum is closed, please visit our website.
We are deeply grateful to American Girl/Mattel and the American Girl Fund for Children for their grace and support throughout the years, and especially this year. We are thankful for all of the volunteers who are willing to put the online sale together. And we are grateful for the benefit sale shoppers and community. Together we will get through this unusual year and see one another in person in 2021.
In these unprecedented times, this will be an unprecedented sale.
With deepest appreciation,
Deb Gilpin, President & CEO and Madison Children's Museum Board of Directors
Important Changes to the 2020 American Girl Benefit Sale
There are many details to resolve, but here is the general overview of what you can expect for the 2020 benefit sale. Updates will be sent by email and posted to our Facebook page.
Sale Date & Format - The sale will take place online on July 25 & 26. We're moving the date by a few weeks to allow enough time to conduct inventory and build the online shopping portal. - Saturday presale ticket holders will shop on Saturday, July 25 - Sunday presale ticket holders will shop on Sunday, July 26 Access to shopping online will be in the same order as your ticketed entry times. - As with previous sales, on Sunday there will be additional markdowns and limit changes. We are still working out the logistics of how those discounts will be made available in this new, online format.
Shopping & Shipping - All orders will be shipped to the buyer. We are unable to offer any in-person or curbside pickup, even for local buyers. - Shipping costs will be calculated during checkout and included in your purchase total at the time of checkout. We are doing everything we can to negotiate the best possible deals for shipping, but buyers should expect shipping charges similar to what you might get if you brought your purchases to a post office or UPS store. - Quantity limits will be in effect, just as at the physical sale. - One ticket allows one online purchase of a shopping cart of goods, honoring all quantity limits. A second ticket allows another online purchase, with refreshed quantity limits, and so on.
Product - As in previous years, we cannot confirm in advance which items will or will not be available for sale at this year's benefit sale. Some information on items may be released during the week of the sale. - All of our product is donated by American Girl/Mattel and comes from their overstock or returned merchandise. Quantities vary widely. - All dolls are inspected by our volunteers and care is taken to ensure the dolls are in "like new" condition, just as in previous years. All products are sold AS IS, with no returns or exchanges. - Dolls may come with or without some small accessories. We will not be able to confirm the exact accessories or outfits for each individual doll. - Packaging may be imperfect. We focus on the quality of the product, not the box. - Dolls & Friends Pajama Party kits will be available in limited quantities. Each kit will include a Bitty Baby doll, special craft project supplies, and an invitation to participate in an exclusive online video party in the fall; exact date(s) will be listed.
Ticket Refunds Current ticket holders may request a refund via a special refund webpage until June 15. Please watch your email later today (June 8) for instructions and a link to that page. Please do not request a refund by email or Facebook message. Since this is a benefit sale for charity, there will also be an option to donate any unneeded ticket(s) to the cause.
The refund window will close after June 15, after which there will be no further refunds issued. At that point we will begin the process of converting existing tickets to the new e-ticket format. We will process all refund payments by the end of June. Your gentle patience in waiting will be both necessary and appreciated.
Transferring Presale Tickets Shortly before the sale, an electronic ticket (e-ticket) will be sent to every ticket holder, with instructions for creating a unique log-on to our shopping site. We cannot use paper tickets for an online sale, so paper tickets will not be issued this year.
Each shopper's e-ticket(s) will be tied to their specific email address. If a ticket buyer ordered multiple tickets, they will be able to shop multiple times. If a presale ticket buyer ordered multiple tickets intending to distribute those paper tickets to family and/or friends who wish to shop, they will be able to transfer this year's e-tickets to those other shoppers' email addresses. This transfer of e-tickets will be accomplished in late June or early July by entering everyone's email address on a special transfer page on our website. Full details and instructions will be published then. E-tickets may be given or sold (at or below the original purchase price) to others. From our recent survey, we learned that presale ticket buyers feel it would be most fair if unwanted presale tickets were returned for refund or donation rather than being resold. Since we cannot distinguish transfers to friends/family vs. transfers to others, we must leave this matter up to our presale ticketholders' own sense of fairness. As in previous years, scalping tickets (reselling them for more than originally paid) is absolutely prohibited. E-tickets given or sold to others will be transferred via the special transfer page on our website, as noted above.
Why Isn't This System Perfect? We ask for your patience and understanding during this process; while we have extensive experience running an in-person event, moving logistics online requires a major overhaul. The survey data was very helpful, but it also underlined how every choice we make would please some while disappointing others. There is no perfect solution to the problem of how to transform a beloved event in uncertain and shifting times.
As a reminder, the Benefit Sale is NOT run by American Girl; we are a small group of volunteers and a few staff members from Madison Children's Museum. And this year we are an even more limited number of individuals. Please remember that the benefit sale is just that: a benefit event, more like a bigger version of a PTA bake sale than a polished, corporate operation. Your participation isn't just about getting discounted American Girl items; it is about providing vital funding for charities that serve children at a time when funding is harder than ever to come by. Thank you so much for being a part of Dolls Doing Good.
We are trying to do the best we can despite the very unusual circumstances. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support.