Toy maker Build-A-Bear has been forced to shut down its one-day ‘Pay Your Age’ event due to crowd safety concerns.
The one-day deal, which was announced earlier this week, let guests pay their current age in dollars (or pounds at UK locations) for any of its make-your-own stuffed animals. The event was created to promote the store’s new ‘Count Your Candles’ program, which lets kids 14 and under pay their age for Build-A-Bear’s Birthday Treat Bear - which normally costs $14 - during their birthday month.
But the promo event took an unexpected turn on Thursday when long lines and extensive wait times forced Build-A-Bear to shutter the one-day-deal at locations in the US, UK and Canada.
“We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this unprecedented reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event,” it said. “We understand that many guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the line.”
To make up for the flub, Build-A-Bear is distributing vouchers to guests who showed up that can be redeemed for a future purchase. Customers who want to redeem the voucher must be members of the retailer’s rewards program.
“It is our sincere desire for all of our guests to enjoy the best Build-A-Bear experience possible. As such, our goal with the voucher extension is to enable us to better flow traffic to the stores over the next several weeks to avoid long lines and wait times as much as possible. Therefore, we strongly encourage guests to consider delaying their next planned trip to Build-A-Bear, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience in this matter,” the company said.
Even so, many irate parents took to Twitter to lambast Build-A-Bear for botching the event:
Fail!! This was poor planning on babw. You guys were NOT prepared for this. Lots of very sad kids who do not understand, including my 2 and 4 year olds.
— Jen Elkins (@MrsElkins7911) July 12, 2018
My sister @sizzlingdelta5 and I waited outside your store for four hours only to be turned away once we got close enough to see your sign. Shame. So disappointed in how unorganized it all was. A whole morning wasted just to leave empty handed
— Courtnee Murphy (@courtnee_murphy) July 12, 2018
How was this not anticipated. We promised my daughter; made a special trip. We get there to be turned away... pretty disappointed kid.
— Tom is getting ready for SDCC! (@tomthoughts) July 12, 2018
This is not fair to parents like myself who have promised their kids this chance! My child has been talking about this all week Hopefully something drastic will be done to make it up!
— ReNita (@LadyJAE_) July 12, 2018
Thanks @buildabear for ruining my 8 and 2 year olds’ day by closing your pay your age event before our mall even opens! #howdoifixmykidsbrokenhearts#buildabear#whypromoteitifyoucantkeepupwithdemand#sadday#thanks
— Jasmin Butler (@sassymomHQ) July 12, 2018