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Here’s Why Build-A-Bear ‘Pay Your Age’ Promotion Was a Total Disaster

The promotion was supposed to be a fun way to get customers in the store but it backfired spectacularly.

Flickr / Hazel Nicholson

Last week, Build-A-Bear delighted kids and parents alike when they announced that they would be having a ‘Pay Your Age’ promotion, allowing children to get brand new bears while their parents would be paying significantly less than what a bear usually costs. The idea seemed like a win for everyone involved, as the ‘Pay Your Age’ format was a clever way for the toy store to get some good press while making tons of customers extremely happy.

Sadly, this dream come true quickly turned into a nightmare, as yesterday, Build-A-Bear was forced to cancel the entire promotion after overwhelming crowds appeared in stores all across the country. Several stores ended up with so many customers that the line went all the way out of the store, with people having to wait hours to get their shot at a custom-priced bear. Eventually, the crowds became so unruly that Build-A-Bear shut down the entire promotion, announcing on their Facebook page that they would no longer be able to accept any new guests “due to crowds and safety concerns.”

Along with the overwhelming size of the crowds, it stands to reason that many stores simply did not have enough bears for everyone in these massive lines. Build-A-Bear clearly had not anticipated this level of demand, so it seems likely that most stores were lacking the supplies to give bears to the thousands of customers who were hoping to take advantage of this ‘too good to be true’ promotion.

Of course, many customers were extremely unhappy to discover that they would not be able to get their child the bear that they were promised and several took to social media to voice their anger. As of now, it is not entirely clear what Build-A-Bear’s next move is, though the store’s announcement of the shutdown did acknowledge disappointed customers and said the store would “reach out directly as soon as possible.”