A ‘pay your age’ offer at Build-A-Bear Workshop has lead to “riots” at stores across the UK and America.
The offer allowed customers to purchase bears worth in excess of £45 for the same price as their child’s age.
Stores across the UK including those in Sheffield, Birmingham and Telford all had to close early as police were called to multiple stores following unrest. A member of staff tweeted that workers were “booed” as they closed the stores.
We had to close Build A Bear 3 hours early today because it was so chaotic and people outside were literally booing us. Like imagine encouraging your child to boo a bunch of minimum wage employees because you weren’t able to get your teddy bear
— snailexa (@Alexaberry19) July 13, 2018
Shoppers were reporting queues as long as five hours, which staff said lead to “fist fights”, “death threats” and “assaults”.
Things that actually happen during my 13 hour shift at the build a bear today:
– a literal fist fight in the line
– two death threats
– a lady waited in line for 8 hours with her 1 week old and LEFT WITH NO BEAR because we had to charge her a dollar and not 1 cent
— princess perfuma (@_mollyrr) July 13, 2018
In order to attempt to tame the queues the stores offered customers a £12 voucher in exchange for leaving the queue and returning at a later date. Build-A-Bear has told customers to “delay” their trips to redeem the voucher as they predict further queues.
A Build-A-Bear workshop statement, said: “Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response, resulting in long queues, 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 queue. Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we were unable to serve all of our Guests for the Pay Your Age Day event.”
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
— buildabear (@buildabear) July 12, 2018