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Build-A-Bear Workshop's 'Pay Your Age' promotion proved so popular that several stores were closed yesterday, leaving many parents and children disappointed and unable to redeem the offer.
Build-A-Bear Workshop kickstarted their latest promotion, Count Your Candles, with a Pay Your Age Day held at stores across the UK, US and Canada.
The promotion allows parents to pay the price of their child’s age in pounds for any soft toy in the store, as long as they had registered to be a part of the reward scheme and the child was present at the time of purchase.
Pay Your Age Day was launched to entice people towards the Count Your Candles offer which is available all year round and based on the same idea of paying your age but can be redeemed for a child’s birthday.
However, due to overwhelming popularity many stores offering the Pay Your Age promotion were forced to close early amid safety concerns.
This left many parents, some of whom had queued for eight hours with small children, incredibly angry and frustrated.
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘@buildabear so my son’s Autistic and the line is 3-4 hour wait. Why do u not have anything in place for special needs children??’
A third who was watching the scenes unfold said: ‘Can’t believe how chaotic the queues for
#BuildABear are… it’s been all the way through the glades all day. Hate to work there. Badly organised chaos.’
Paul Shaw posted pictures from the scene at White Rose shopping centre in Leeds. He described it as ‘chaos’ and said police and security staff were trying to calm the crowds.
Sophie Madden works for the BBC and visited a Telford store on her day off to try and redeem the offer. However she reported that the queue was already out of control when she arrived and she spoke with some people who had travelled an hour to the store as it was their closest one.
She told the BBC: ‘We waited an hour-and-a-half but it was too much for my little boy and I thought there would be no bears left so we took a £12 voucher that could be redeemed another time.’
Addressing the criticism Build-A-Bear posted a statement on their Twitter page. It read: ‘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 our guests are disappointed, and we are working to address the situation. We will reach out directly to our valued guests as soon as possible.’
Did you manage to enjoy the promotion or where you faced with unbearable queues? We’d love to hear your experiences if you tried to redeem the offer. Head over to our Facebook page to get involved in the conversation!