On Thursday, July 12, Build-a-Bear flew too close to the sun, and customers got burned.
The customized stuffed animal retailer was offering what they described as “the company’s biggest in-store deal ever: a “pay your age” event where the customer’s age determines what they pay for a new stuffed friend.
Build-a-Bear expected increased sales, but nobody expected endless lines wrapping around entire shopping malls, clogging traffic and causing a safety hazard.
In the late morning, Build-a-Bear was forced to shut down their lines, posting to Facebook:
Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores.
Build-a-Bear is hoping to make things up to their customers soon:
We understand some guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.
How long does a line have to be for the authorities to shut it down?” Well, this long:
@buildabear ? More like #buildaDONT #HOLYSHIT #BEAVERCREEK #FAIRFIELDCOMMONS can I get a rain check?ETA: since everyone keeps asking what’s going on, it was “Build Your Age Day” at Build-a-Bear. Naturally everyone and their neighbors baby showed up. We got there ahead of 9 (the mall opens at 9) and it was jam packed.Posted by Jessica Hawkins on Thursday, July 12, 2018
Though waiting in a line that long seems pretty extreme, customer Abbie Murison describes her family’s motivations after three hours:
Then you get committed. You’ve stayed for so long and then you get closer and closer. By the time we got to the ropes, we’re like: ‘We’re good.’ It was really long — really long. But worth it. The kids are so happy now.
Of course, the experience still takes its toll:
There’ll be lots of wine therapy after this. I’m going home for wine therapy.
Twitter was pretty amused by the Build-a-Bear mania:
America: Where people won't vote because they "don't have time," but WILL stand in line at Build-A-Bear for six hours to pay their age for a stuffed animal.— ? KP (@kpintoledo) July 12, 2018
Things that actually happen during my 13 hour shift at the build a bear today:— 2 cool 2 care....just kidding (@_mollyrr) July 13, 2018
- a literal fist fight in the line
- two death threats
- a lady waited in line for 8 hours with her 1 week old and LEFT WITH NO BEAR because we had to charge her a dollar and not 1 cent
Seems like no one read the terms and conditions. Specifically says while supplies last. I'm a parent and my wife and I planned accordingly. My son was not upset because there are plenty alternatives to a stuffed animal from Build-a-bear. Stop being entitled.— Andrew Burk (@AndrewBurk7) July 12, 2018
IHOP: We've come up with the most disastrous marketing campaign of 2018!— Anthony (@KFRGFrogatelli) July 12, 2018
Build-A-Bear: Hold my bear...
Imagine if people responded to voting in November the way they did a Build A Bear promotion pic.twitter.com/PTtghQb9if— Marshall Shepherd (@DrShepherd2013) July 12, 2018
We had to close Build A Bear 3 hours early today because it was so chaotic and people outside were literally booing us. Like imagine encouraging your child to boo a bunch of minimum wage employees because you weren’t able to get your teddy bear— snailexa (@Alexaberry19) July 13, 2018
My kids love Build-A-Bear.— David Wade (@davidwade) July 12, 2018
When I saw they were having a "pay your age" promotion I thought to myself:
"I'd rather have someone cut my chest open with a spork and insert a plastic heart that makes a fake heartbeat noise" than be there for that.
It was a good call.
Every employee of #BuildABear who had to work today deserves a cocktail tonight. Or twelve.— HeatherFroglear KFRG (@KFRGHeather) July 12, 2018
Congratulations to everyone who survived the Build-a-Bear Pay-Your-Age 2018 lines!