Build-A-Bear Is Beary Sorry for the Panda-Monium at the Malls, Offers Vouchers


Some families waited for hours in huge lines, only to be turned away due to safety concerns. - SCREENSHOT FROM CBS NEWS' REPORT
  • Some families waited for hours in huge lines, only to be turned away due to safety concerns.
In a dramatic change of pace from the norm, malls across the St. Louis area actually had people in them today, people who, believe it or not, were interested in exchanging their American currency for a manufacturer's goods in a brick-and-mortar setting. Crazy!

Unfortunately, Build-A-Bear Workshop, a St. Louis-based company that has somehow made a viable business model out of forcing children to construct their own toys, bit off more than it could chew with its "Pay Your Age Day" promotion, which allowed customers to purchase the normally expensive stuffed animals at a price that correlates directly to the number of years said customers have lived on earth.

Stores across the St. Louis area — and the United States, and Canada, and the United Kingdom — were absolutely inundated with would-be child-laborers and their cheap parents, with lines said to be in the thousands in some places, and wait times clocking in at several unbearable hours.

The situation got so bad, in fact, that Build-A-Bear was forced to discontinue the promotion by early afternoon.

"Urgent Alert: Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowd safety concerns," reads a statement the company released via Twitter. "We have closed lines in our stores. We understand some Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible."

The company went on to acknowledge that authorities had closed some entire stores and limited the lines in others due to safety concerns about the event.

The videos that have trickled out depicting the actions of authorities in those efforts have been shocking, with officers tackling people through tables and body-slamming others onto the concrete outside, all in the name of "safety."

(Oh wait, sorry no, that was that group of protesters exercising their constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech at the Galleria back in September. Our mistake. The authorities in this incident probably just told a few crying kids they couldn't have stuffed animals anymore. They bearly even had to deploy pepper spray, probably.)

In any case, Build-A-Bear has vowed to make the situation right. Employees handed out vouchers to disappointed families that were turned away, and the company has since made those vouchers available online for members of its Bonus Club. (More information on those can be found here.)

In summary:

From a marketing standpoint, Pay Your Age Day seems to have been an unkoalafied success. But in practice, the shitshow that ensued is likely to be polarizing among its customers.

(We'll show ourselves out, thanks.)

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