Build-A-Bear held a “Pay Your Age” promotion in its stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom today in which customers only had to pay the cost of the age of their child for the popular stuffed bears, which normally start at $30. Not surprisingly, it did not go well.
Lines were so long that the company was forced to cancel the promotion, forcing employees to turn away hundreds of customers, some who had been waiting for hours. Some customers in line did receive a $15 coupon, but most went home empty handed. Build-A-Bear posted this message on their website:
Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our U.S. Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to crowd and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. stores. We understand some of our Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.
Here’s footage of the crowd at Fayette Mall this morning from our friends at LEX18:
Hello everyone! It’s Claire Kopsky – LEX 18. I’m here at Fayette Mall where hundreds are lined up for Pay Your Age Day at Build-A-Bear! Some have been camped out and waiting since 7:00 this morning!
Posted by LEX 18 on Thursday, July 12, 2018
And the line in Louisville:
Take a look at that line! Thousands of people are in line at Louisville's Build A Bear at the Paddock Shops for the "pay your age" promotion http://www.wlky.com/article/build-a-bear-lets-customers-pay-your-age-for-just-one-day/22096528
Posted by WLKY News on Thursday, July 12, 2018
Build-A-Bear pay your age promo backfiring at Paddock Shops. Louisville authorities now requiring the store to limit the line because of safety concerns. One viewer says at least 1,000 are already waiting. pic.twitter.com/QayNrVasO7
— Jen Keeney (@jenkeeney) July 12, 2018
This promo is problematic for many reasons. First, Build-A-Bear should have known this would happen. People will do ANYTHING to save a buck, including standing in line for hours on end. There’s no way supply could ever meet demand, resulting in an inevitable PR nightmare.
Secondly, unless you were one of the first 50 or so people in line, you probably should have known this would happen too. The offer said children must be present to get the special discount, so, you have to stand in line with your kid for hours knowing you might not get a $20 or so discount on a stuffed animal. I’m not a parent, but that doesn’t sound worth it. I’d fork over the extra money and spend my Thursday morning at the pool.