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Build-A-Bear had to shut down Pay Your Age Day after chaos

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:

Hundreds line up at Paddock Shops Build A Bear

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

Posted by WLKY News on Thursday, 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.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

26 Comments for Build-A-Bear had to shut down Pay Your Age Day after chaos

  1. ukgrad83
    1:16 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    Rule number one: People are stupid.
    Rule number two: When in doubt, refer to rule number one.

    • Greatcatfan
      2:43 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      Rule number three: When you realize most people are to stupid to understand rule one and two just go ahead and facepalm in disapproval.

    • catdaddyd
      6:38 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      It’s just a pr stunt for build a bear, and it worked.

  2. Booby Petrino
    1:22 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    As soon as they announced the deal I thought “this is going to be a nightmare”….duh!
    I guess the only think that might make it worth it is if you have 5 kids and are saving like $100. Still not worth it in my opinion but I can’t imagine only having one or two kids and waiting that long to save $40 or so.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:22 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink


    • J. Did
      5:25 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      Agreed. BaB had to know this was going to be an overwhelming nightmare for both their business and the customer. Given that mall traffic is down significantly, perhaps they felt it was worth the risk to entice mall patrons regardless. Not sure that they thought this one through entirely. It will be interesting to see if and or how they ‘compensate’ the late bird.

    1:26 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    1) Build a Bear is still in business?
    2) They need to get their name out there more!
    3) This was not the way to do it.

  4. Realme
    1:47 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    I wouldn’t stand in that line for a real bear.

    • JPGott2
      2:09 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      Uh, if they were giving real beats away…….O would probably wait. Talking about a cub.

      For $20’s in savings per a bear, these people are insane. Def not educated on opportunity cost.
      Heck, do there kids even need a stuffed bear???

      This is why I talk to more and more people like they are stupid.

    • Wilfred Smith
      3:25 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly. Gee, 5 hours of my time is worth $20….

    2:19 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    Remember KFC’s “free grilled chicken” promotional fiasco? Apparently Build A Bear doesn’t.

  6. Mathlete
    2:28 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    So… your 5 year old can save you $25 on a custom stuffed animal if you’re willing to stand in line with them for at least 5 hours. If your time is worth more than $5/hr to you, you’ve already walked away.

    And if standing in a 5 hour line full of bored, hungry, and tired young children and their frustrated adult companions is only worth $25 and a stuffed bear to you, I’m sincerely sorry for whatever has happened in your life to make you think so little of yourself.

    • JoeMoney333
      3:12 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      . . . This.
      As a parent, really this.

    • terwilliger
      6:12 am July 13, 2018 Permalink

      Could not have said it any better. Just sad really.

  7. Rod Crandler
    2:31 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    Result: Everyone, event including a sports radio blog in KY is talking about Build-a-bear. Marketing team is popping champagne corks right now.

  8. CatsfaninFL
    2:45 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    OK, I’ll counterpoint… this isn’t problematic because when is the last time you ever heard people talking about Build a Bear? Seriously they’re getting a posts/free coverage on everything down to Kentucky Sports Radio. Seems like marketing genious to me…even if they did have to cancel it.

  9. Greatcatfan
    2:59 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    And all those people that got coupons will still pay full price for the bear after accessories, those things are 5-15 dollars a piece. One kid’s bear could run $50 at 5 years old that’s 45 bucks. So BaB made money if the people come back.

  10. Lori M
    3:04 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    Tyler, you’re right,you are not a parent. My grandfather stood in a line for nine hours in 1964 to buy Beatles tickets for my then 13 year old mom. My uncle stood in long lines to buy my cousins iPhones, iPads and iPods. My parents spent months leading up to Christmas hunting down Cabbage Patch Dolls before online toy stores.

    Imagine what those parents are going through having to deal with brokenhearted kids today.

    And what happens to those kids whose parents stood in the lines? They camp out for days to get free tickets to a basketball practice. Like me. ;o)

    • Booby Petrino
      3:09 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      I’ll add these to my list of reasons why having a child sounds terrible lol

    • Mathlete
      3:10 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      @Lori M One important caveat to your story – with the exception of the iPhones/Pads/Pods, the parents who stood in those lines were getting their kids something that otherwise wasn’t available at all. There was no StubHub in 1964, and no eBay in the days of the original Cabbage Patch Kids. If they didn’t get it from the original source, they didn’t get it at all.

      Build a Bear will still be open tomorrow morning. This story is entirely about parents trying to save a few bucks.

    • 4everUKblue
      4:35 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

      Standing in line to see the Beatles I get, but it ends there for me.

  11. King_tucky
    3:38 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    If u are someone who can wait in line hours to save 20 bucks how are u even able to afford to spend any money. If it’s that important to u to save couple bucks n wait hours u probably should not be spending money on a stuffed animal. I wouldn’t want to wait 30 mins for a free one

  12. theWilkman
    3:56 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    If it was imperative I buy my daughter a Build a Bear, I’d pay a $50 premium to NOT have to stand in that line.

  13. Sticky Ceiling
    4:13 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    Do people not have jobs these days?

    • Greatcatfan
      12:45 am July 13, 2018 Permalink

      5 hours at 7.25 is 30 after taxes so to wellfare folks the saved money was a hard days work. Huph.

  14. playmorezeppelin
    6:08 pm July 12, 2018 Permalink

    If you can’t shell out 30 dollars for a stuffed animal you probably shouldn’t be caught spending 5 hours on a weekday standing in a mall. You should be at work.