When toy company Build-a-Bear’s “Pay Your Age” promotion was announced on Monday, parents and kids celebrated: On Thursday, July 12, families could walk in and pick out a plush toy merely for the cost of their child’s age.
But by 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in the U.S., the long lines caused the company to put out a notice on social media that the deal had changed; the number of people who could take advantage of the promotion would be limited due to safety concerns.
Fights broke out between parents who were waiting in line in the U.K., as Unilad reported, with some having to stand in line for up to nine hours before they made it through the store doors.
Angry parents took to social media in both the U.S. and the U.K. to vent their anger and angst, using the hashtag #Buildanightmare; some parents reported waiting up to six hours in the U.S. to buy a plush toy.
Build-a-Bear representatives called the promotion “overwhelming and unprecedented” in a statement to USA Today’s All the Moms.
The company said it was “working to address the situation,” saying it would “reach out directly to our valued guests as soon as possible.”
— Trinity Nielsen (@NielsenTrinity) July 12, 2018
It was a smart idea on the marketing side. To participate in the “Pay Your Age” promotion, adults had to enroll in the free Build-a-Bear Bonus Club rewards program — and provide an email address.
Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowd safety concerns. We have closed lines in our stores. We understand some Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible. https://t.co/aSFfPCcfsG pic.twitter.com/WZJ53tOAEH
— Build-A-Bear Workshop (@buildabear) July 12, 2018
Build-a-Bear is expected to contact its customers via email.
If you think I’m gonna go to the Build-A-Bear at Baybrook mall & fight the crowd to get my child a $2 bear…then your absolutely right.
— erin (@erinnicolea17) July 11, 2018
The team at @buildabear, fresh from crushing the dreams of thousands of small children with today's wildly catastrophic "pay your age day" event, has announced their next promotion: a combination "Santa isn't real" and "your parents actually hated that drawing you made" event.
— Patrick Crispen (@crispen) July 12, 2018