Build-A-Bear offers vouchers to guests after closing lines on 'Pay Your Age' event

A crowd fills the Build-A-Bear store at Castleton Square Mall Thursday.
Build-A-Bear promotion creates long lines
Build-A-Bear Line in Bloomington

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — On Thursday, Build-A-Bear Workshop had a "Pay Your Age Day" that lasted all of 2 hours. By noon, the company announced it was closing all lines.

The promotion backfired Thursday. Lines were so long and the crowds so big, families were turned away because of safety concerns.

At Greenwood Park Mall, one frustrated mom posted a video of the long line.

"This is what nightmares are made of," she said "All of these people in line waiting for Build-A-Bear Workshops."

At College Mall in Bloomington, another shopper posted a video of a line so long she could not see either the beginning or the end.

The Castleton Square store was packed with customers. Waiting parents and children were corralled and watched over by mall security workers.

It took Rosa Pezraza and her two kids 5 hours to build two bears.

"It was crazy," she said "A lot of people, a lot."

Building a bear and putting a smile on little Kyser's face took mom and dad what seemed like forever.

"Stressful," said Hanna Sylvester. "It was hard carrying a 15-pound baby all day for 7 hours."

"Pay Your Age Day" promised stuffed bears priced at the child's age. Because of the huge turnout, the company quickly said no more.

"Per local authorities,we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns," the company said.

Castleton was more than crowed, according Curt Fields.

"They had to cut off the people they had in the store because they were past their capacity," he said.

People already in line could stay or, according the company, receive vouchers. Late arrivals said they were out of luck.

Two stuffed bears worth about 60 bucks cost Pezraza only $7.00

"A very good deal" and worth it, she told us.

Fields didn't think so.

"It was way too crazy how they had everything going," he explained. "It was a good idea. but next time I'd rather pay full price."

Build-A-Bear Workshops is attempting to make good with disappointed customers. The company announced Thursday afternoon that Bonus Club members can get vouchers by logging into their account by midnight Sunday and using them by the end of August.

Hopefully, their next shopping experience will be more bearable.

Courtesy: Victoria Pitcock

The company, recognizing guests would be disappointed, and released this statement Thursday afternoon:

"Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response, resulting in long lines, extensive waits and disappointed Guests. We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this unprecedented reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event. We understand that many Guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the line. Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we were unable to serve all of our Guests for the Pay Your Age Day event, as planned

In response, we distributed vouchers to Guests, who were present in lines, to be redeemed for a future purchase. We are now making vouchers available to our U.S. and Canada Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members, who log into their account by midnight CST on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Vouchers related to this event will be honored through August 31, 2018. ..."