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17th of July 2018

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Build-A-Bear's 'Pay Your Age' day was an absolute disaster

DisclosureEvery product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work. 2018%2f04%2f02%2f74%2fheadshot.edeb7By Morgan Sung2018-07-12 22:24:16 UTC

Build-A-Bear Workshop is a childhood staple, but according to some angry parents, it's just going to remind their children of a horrible day at the mall. 

The toyshop ran a one-day promotion on Thursday, promising customers that they could pay their age for any stuffed animal. (Bears typically cost anywhere from $14 to upwards of $60.)

Except, the fun summer activity did not go as planned. 

People responded enthusiastically for the promotion, lining up in front of stores for hours before they even opened. 

"We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began," Build-A-Bear later said in a press release. "We could not have predicted this reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event." 

"Reaction" is a bit of an understatement. Just look at these crowds of unruly children:

Some compared the chaos and crowds to apocalyptic survival situations. 

It's Pay Your Age day at Build A Bear.

Queues are reportedly seven hours long.

Bet it's like the Hunger Games... but fluffier.

— Mama, Eden and Me (@MamaEdenandMe) July 12, 2018

Mobbed with customers and overwhelmed with security issues, Build-A-Bear shut down the event halfway through the day. 

"The response to our Pay Your Age Day event has been overwhelming and unprecedented in our 21-year history," Build-A-Bear said in a statement. "The safety of our Guests and associates is our top priority."

Some local authorities told Build-A-Bear that its stores couldn't accept more customers, and said "extreme crowds" made it unsafe for the event to continue.

"We understand our affected Guests may be disappointed, and we are working to address the situation," Build-A-Bear said.

**Urgent Alert: 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

To appease those who waited in the excessive lines, the toy company handed out vouchers that could be redeemed until the end of August. 

But that wasn't enough for angry parents — and adult plushie enthusiasts, apparently — who were infuriated by the fact that they couldn't get their hands on a cheap stuffed bear. 

Terrible on your part @buildabear you should have been more prepared for this and instead of giving a $15 voucher you should have given a voucher to pay your age. Bad for business on your part

— Streamer Club John (@streamclubjohn) July 12, 2018

@buildabear @emma1885 angry and fuming, we are working parents, my wife is having to drive 100 miles after work to get to a store to take up the offer, and now we have a 2 year old in meltdown she's not getting a bear, perhaps your MD wants to consul her @BBCWatchdog #buildabear

— Dave A (@geekonaleashuk) July 12, 2018

Let me help you fix this MASSIVE failure! You guys stressed out a lot of already stressed out moms and made a lot of kids cry. DM me!

— Coupon Pro (@CouponProBlog) July 12, 2018

But some Twitter users were skeptical about the impassioned responses Build-A-Bear fans claimed to have.

Moms were really crying?

— Ms. Unique🐝 (@uniquethatsme13) July 12, 2018

Others joked about the promotion's planning oversights.

Build-An-Unbearable-Line

— ShinyGirafarig (@ShinyGirafarig) July 12, 2018

today is pay your age day at build a bear. the stores haven’t even been open for two hours and already they’re closing the lines because the cops told them the crowds are too big. catch grown ass adults starting riots in ur local mall over some stuffed animals.

— αllιѕσи 🐝 (@machinebyexo) July 12, 2018

(grabbing microphone without permission at a city council meeting) ONLY THE LORD CAN TRULY BUILD A BEAR

— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) July 12, 2018

The disaster of an promotion also drew comparisons to other massive events that fell apart, like Fyre Festival, the music festival scam that left rich people stranded in the Bahamas, and Tanacon, a YouTuber's attempt and an anti-VidCon that was shut down by police for overcrowding.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop takes seriously the privilege of providing our valued Guests with an opportunity to make a furry friend," the company concluded in their statement. There was no mention of running another pay your age day promotion in the future, which for the sake of mall cops worldwide, is probably for the best. 

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