MILWAUKEE -- They thought it was a great idea, but did they imagine the chaos it would create? Thursday, July 12 was Build-A-Bear's first “Pay Your Age” day and it was so popular, some had to be turned away.
There were massive lines and overwhelming demand at Build-A-Bear Thursday — including at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa.
On Thursday morning, Build-A-Bear officials said this on social media: "Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores. We understand some Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible."
They posted an update Thursday afternoon:
"Our first-ever Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response resulting in long lines, extensive waits, and disappointed Guests. We understand that many Guests were turned away due to safety concerns created by the crowds when authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores or we were forced to limit the line. Given these circumstances we were unable to serve all of our Guests for the event.
In response, we distributed vouchers to Guests who were present in line to be redeemed for a future purchase and have now made vouchers available to all U.S. & Canadian Bonus Club members which must be screen shot or printed by logging into your account before midnight on 15 July. We encourage all of our valued Guests to visit our full statement at the following link and we’d like to reiterate our sincerest thanks for your passion and continued support."
At Mayfair, when FOX6 News spoke with Tyler Calloway, she had already been waiting in line for four hours with her 4-year-old son Camden.
"All the way back by the Barnes and Noble and I drove from Kenosha," said Calloway.
Calloway said she didn't mind the wait. Others decided to accept a $15 voucher and come back another day.
Some of those who stayed were disappointed.
"When it was almost our turn to go in, they announced that some of the stuffed animals was out and the one that I wanted was one of them," said an 11-year-old girl in line.
The girl did receive a voucher.
We're told people who visited the store at Mayfair were allowed to stay in line until the supply ran out.
Below is the complete statement posted on the Build-A-Bear website regarding this event:
"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 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.
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 Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members in the U.S. and Canada who log into their account by midnight on July 15, 2018. Vouchers related to this event will be honored through August 31, 2018.
It is our sincere desire for all of our Guests to enjoy the best Build-A-Bear experience possible. As such, our goal with the voucher extension is to enable us to better flow traffic to the stores over the next several weeks to avoid long lines and wait times as much as possible. Therefore, we strongly encourage Guests to consider delaying their trip to Build-A-Bear, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience in this matter.
Build-A-Bear Workshop takes seriously the privilege of providing our valued Guests with an opportunity to make a furry friend. It is with that spirit that we created our Pay Your Age Day event and the new, year-long Count Your Candles birthday program, where kids 14 and under can “pay their age” for our new Birthday Treat Bear during their birthday month.
Thank you for your passion and continued support."