Elizabeth Faidley just wanted to buy a baby mermaid doll for her little girl, but what she got was disappointment and an epic tale to tell her friends.
In December of 2015, Faidley’s daughter Ellie told her that she wanted a Merbaby for Christmas.
“Ellie dreams of having a mermaid baby. Not just a mermaid, and not just a baby. A mermaid baby.”
This shouldn’t have been be too much of a problem, though, as Faidley is an capable online shopper and knew she would be able to find something.
“Being the adventurous gift buyer that I am, I searched and searched and finally found a hand-made mermaid baby doll on ETSY.
“In the pictures online, it appeared that Pearl was wearing a veil of some sort. But no, that was her creepy and weird skin.”
Not everyone was so excited about Pearl once she arrived as Faidley was, though.
“When Pearl arrives, I am thrilled! I show her to several teenaged students who react to her face in sheer horror. I ignore this reaction, knowing that Ellie will love Pearl.”
Ellie did not, in fact, love Pearl. Her reaction on Christmas morning was more than enough proof of that.
“Ellie wakes up and excitedly runs to the tree to find Pearl. The video is attached so you can see the real-time reaction. Basically, she was like, ‘OMG, this doll is hideous. What is wrong with you, Santa??’ (Ellie later notes that Pearl was her first indication that Santa was not real.)”
After coming to the decision that Pearl’s odd green hair was to blame, Faidley attempted to remedy the situation.
“I come to the desperate conclusion that Pearl’s hideousness lies in her strange, green locks of hair. I go to CVS and purchase 2 different colors of hair dye and attempt to dye Pearl’s hair from green to a ‘strong blonde’. My attempts fail miserably and Ellie looks at me with pity for a few days. ‘Pearls’ hair is even more hideous, Mom. Please, just stop.'”
Faidley wasn’t going to let her failure stop her from getting her daughter to love Pearl, though.
She determinedly started searching for a professional.
“I locate a doll and teddy bear hospital in Secaucus, NJ. I call them immediately and discover it is run by a group of very strict and serious Germans. They take their doll and teddy bear hospital very seriously. They are interested in seeing Pearl’s ‘condition’ and then will give me an estimate for all of the cosmetic work that needs to be done to make her ‘lovable’.”
Poor Pearl soon made her way to the doll hospital.
“I pack Pearl up in a box and address it the doll hospital. I tell Ellie that Pearl is going off to the hospital to have her face and hair ‘adjusted.’ Ellie wisely informs me that ‘Pearl has even greater problems than those.’ Then, she proceeds write on the box, ‘Please, please, help this doll. She has so many problems.'”
Things stalled out for a bit once Pearl arrived at the doll hospital, though.
Faidley tried multiple times to contact them about the doll but struggled to find someone who even knew who she was.
“They keep forgetting who I am until I say,’ My doll is Pearl, the … merbaby.’ Then the Germans say, ‘Oh, God. Yes, ok.’ I finally get a (very expensive) answer and immediately send them more money. The work begins.”
This was where things got even worse, though.
She received a call while at work and let it go to voicemail. When she listened to the message between students, she got quite the surprise.
“It was a Detective from the Secaucus Police Department. He really needed to talk to me– ‘immediately’. I called him back right away and he demanded that I come down to the precinct at once.”
It gets even worse.
“The Detective tells me that the Germans called the the police down to the doll hospital that morning. When they removed Pearl’s head to repaint her offensive skin, they found 2 ounces of COCAINE. STUFFED IN HER HEAD. The detective first suggests that the drugs are mine. I adamantly argue, and insist that I have never seen cocaine in my life. He relents, agreeing that it would be strange for me to stuff cocaine in a doll’s head and then ship it off to an expensive doll hospital.”
Mom Unwittingly Orders Mermaid Baby Doll Filled with Cocaine on Etsy, Revealing Drug Operation https://t.co/OancLShRaE
— People (@people) December 31, 2019
Next, Faidley explained the whole situation to the detective, including where she had bought the doll and why it had to be a baby mermaid.
It’s pretty common knowledge that drugs are sold on Etsy, eBay, and other platforms, but it feels like they got a little bit lazy with this one.
“Mom Unwittingly Orders Mermaid Baby Doll Filled with Cocaine on Etsy, Revealing Drug Operation” https://t.co/5cpWWOG7sO
— Chris Cox™️ (@Cyber_Cox) January 2, 2020
After detectives checked up on Faidley’s whole family and discovered no drug convictions, he finally believed that the cocaine didn’t come from them.
— OBO Entertainment (@oboEntertainme1) December 27, 2019
He told her that they were working to catch the real culprit.
“The NJ DEA and Alabama DEA are now working together to plan a ‘sting’ on the doll maker in Alabama. Then he said, ‘I’m sorry to disappoint your daughter, but Pearl can’t come home. Ever. She is going to be locked away in evidence awaiting an international drug trial. Sorry.'”
Ellie wasn’t exactly disappointed.
“I hung up the phone and told Ellie, ‘Honey, Pearl is going to stay at the doll hospital for longer than we had anticipated. It turns out that she has …. many problems.’ Ellie nodded and said, ‘I told you, Mom. The doll is MESSED UP.'”
As it turns out, Ellie was right.