I do not make, sell, or traffic in bootleg/recast dolls or any other product.

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Any recast information on this blog is for information purposes only, for identifying recast products on the second hand market.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pokémon Syndrome: Acquisition Disorder, Recasts, and the Doll Hobby

All Teh Dolls.

All instances of you* in this piece refer to general “you”, not anyone specific. Also, there is nothing wrong with buying or selling. Even buying or selling a lot. This is not meant as a critique or criticism of anyone or anything in particular, but rather a cautionary tale to explore your own motivations for doing so.

“Gamers have a term for this madness.  It’s “acquisition disorder.”  It’s when you have to have the new shiny.”- Click for Source

The problem with collecting hobbies is what I call Pokemon syndrome: Gotta catch ‘em all! Meaning that the compulsion to buy and buy and buy often overrides need and good sense. For some people, it gets dangerous. They obsessively buy everything they can pertaining themselves to their hobbies, shop out of their budgets, don’t live within their means, and can even rack up massive amounts of debt. (Have you seen the Star Wars documentary on Netflix where they talk about their obsession with buying and collecting? Watch that shit. Then come back here.) It’s not quite the same as a shopping addiction, which is a whole entire other issue that can be aggravated by Pokémon Syndrome, but it’s a very, very real thing. If you have a shopping addiction, like any other addiction, and you feel it’s a problem or becoming a problem, then please seek help.

Buying becomes a panacea. You’re feeling stuck, uninspired, sad, or whatever, and shopping takes over. You buy a new doll because you’re bored with the old ones or simply “not feeling” it anymore. A new outfit brings the spark back: the excitement of shopping, of comparing, of imagining, then the excitement and joyful, satisfying anxiety of waiting and checking tracking, and then the climax of arrival. You open the item, gush, glee, take a few pictures, post on social and media- and then the high is gone. So you move on to the next quest.

What exactly is Acquisition Disorder? It’s not a psychiatric disorder. It’s a term I hear bandied about in the board game community, where people almost compulsively buy game after game, building up massive collections of games which they then cannot part with. My husband and I discussed this when he began to cull his massive collection. We’re sitting on over 250 board games. If we liquidated the collection it would be worth somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000.  That’s a freaking house deposit. Like, if we played one game a week when we meet with our group it would take us 4 years to play them all. That's if we play a different game every week. Yet, I’m the weird sort of person stuck between a minimalist and a hoarder, so I had a mild panic attack. I don’t like to part with things because of the situation leading to my homelessness a few years ago, but at the same time I hate holding onto shit. He said, “I’m over the acquisition disorder. I only want to keep games I like now.” He no longer makes huge, massive orders. Yes he still researches each game before he purchases, but each purchase is now well thought-out and considered, and if any game is a dud it moves on to a new home.

Soony is so pretty, even if she's common now!
In terms of dolls, I found myself mired in the Quest. The quest for the new doll, the new grail, the new something to spark the joy again. I acquired some really rare dolls- VE Chloe, Juri 08, Delf Soony (before Fairyland did the thing and flooded the mark. Thanks Fairyland.), Delf If, and I kept looking. I kept wanting more. 

When my husband gave a name to it, I realized I was buying and seeking to buy dolls more out of compulsion than actual desire. I stopped browsing the marketplace and the doll sites unless I was specifically hunting for something, and the desire for a new doll dwindled. I felt burnt out, and for the first time in a couple years in this hobby I was keenly aware of the burnout. Where had it come from?

Frankly, in my case, it had come from recasts.

When my Acquisition Disorder was in full swing, I could drop $600 and get two to three new dolls in a single order. It makes you kinda greedy. It gets you all excited. You vibrate, you buzz, you feel the warm tingle of excitement and joy. And you want that to stick around. Recasts give you instant gratification- part of the problem we’re having with tech these days, in my opinion. No waiting, no excessive research needed because, hey, it’s the price of a damn American Girl doll, and I can just resell it if it doesn’t work and buy another one. And another one. And another.
It feeds right into the entitlement problem in our society. I want the thing and I want it now. I want the excitement of buying the thing, of waiting for the thing (but not too long, ffs; by god it better be no longer than a few weeks), of styling and preparing and falling in love with the thing and then I want more. I want more now. I deserve the thing. Because I can’t afford the thing, I deserve to have it for less than the creator of the thing deserves. This other “lesser thing” won’t do. I need this, specific thing. For now. Then I’ll decide I want another thing. Also for less than it’s worth.

Now that I’ve recognized what my issue is, the compulsion has dwindled. Now I can think, do I actually want this doll or just a new doll? Because there is a difference. I’ve been forced to examine the why’s of the want, and honestly all temptation for recasts has subsided. 

(Save one, as I’d fucking love a Volks F-45, and Pifa has one. NGL, that’s become a grail head of mine. Someday people. Someday. /wistful sigh)

I seriously admire people who keep to a small number of dolls, even one doll, and focus on what they want for that specific doll/character/concept. I’m slowly becoming more like that. At one point, I had what I consider a large collection of over 20 dolls at the height of my recast involvement. I’ve owned considerably more, but moved them on when boredom set in. I’m down to (counts on fingers) 7 not counting dragons, a floating body, and a head I’m trying to sell. For me, that’s a good small-ish number, not so large I’m overwhelmed any more. My wishlist is dwindling, and the sculpts that have stayed are definitely ones I want, rather than ones I just want to admire.

I’m no longer buying and considering with the worry about popularity and all that baggage. In fact, the only worry remaining, and one that is helped greatly by the lack of Acquisition Disorder, is that the market is soooooo stale. With it being so bad, it’s making me consider purchases much more carefully than before. I simply cannot sell for what I paid and keep funding new experiments. Not if I want to stay out of debt or avoid an enormous collection of impulse buys.

Now if I win the lottery then that’s a different story. Then I really will catch ‘em all.

Thank you for reading, and happy collecting!


  1. This topic really spoke to me! I think this is why I quit the 1/6 scale fashion doll hobby. It was just about acquisition. I stopped playing, just gathered stuff! I feel this already happening with BJDs and I need to slow down and love the characters/dolls that I have! Someone did a post on BDJ Addicts on Facebook asking who has what on order and the list was crazy. Everyone had like 3 dolls on the way!

  2. I think the reason I chose to only buy dolls based on pre-defined and established characters was perhaps unconsciously a way to avoid this. I know that in general, I get nervous with having too many possessions: having been always focused on running away as a child, and then living through two years of housing insecurity as a young adult, I have a fear of getting more possessions than I can take with me or quickly get rid of. I suppose part of me always believes I'll have to be gone at a moment's notice.
    In a way I'm glad of that though, because otherwise I could easily find myself falling into Acquisition Disorder, and I'd miss out on how wonderful it is to be able to focus on one doll and one character and really put one's whole heart into making wigs and clothing and taking photographs of that character. Even though the wait of creating and purchasing all the pieces for him or her is slow, it allows one to have more enjoyment (imo) than being able to get everything all at once, or not having a focused character to make/buy for and just getting every outfit/wig/eye to take one's fancy. I think that it's like a slowly, carefully cooked meal compared to fast food: even if they are both tasty going down, one leaves you feeling happy for a lot longer.

    1. It's sort of funny that my housing insecurity as a teenager and then homelessness as a young adult made me fear losing what little possessions I actually had rather than feel the need to reduce that number. I'm sorry to hear about your similar struggles, and I hope that you feel safe and are in a much more secure place now. (internet stranger hugs).

      And I think you're onto something here. The dedication to the single doll and it's "completion" so to speak really helps. The open-ended quests can sometimes be really overwhelming, and once I also settled into a place where I focused on one doll or project at a time that that has really helped as well.


Thanks for reading! <3 I try to follow up on every comment my readers make.