Build-A-Bear shuts down lines amid 'Pay Your Age' day chaos - KCTV5 News

Build-A-Bear shuts down lines amid 'Pay Your Age' day chaos

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Build-A-Bear line in West County Mall in St. Louis. (KMOV) Build-A-Bear line in West County Mall in St. Louis. (KMOV)
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

Build-A-Bear Workshop said they are turning down additional customers in their United States and Canada stores as crowds swarmed their stores for 'Pay Your Age' day.

The company said via a Facebook post that "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."

The chain may have bitten off more than it could chew.

Large crowds formed Thursday at both the Independence Center and Zona Rosa locations. One guest was told it would be a 10-hour wait.

At the Independence Center, people were wrapped around most of the top level of the mall. A spokesperson said that at least 1,000 people were in line at one point. 

That line was still stretched around the upper level of the mall as of 4:30 p.m. and people were beginning to call their spouses, asking them to bring them dinner. 

Customers showed up around 8 a.m. and many waited at least four hours. 

Hundreds of people were turned away once the lines were closed. 

"They just said that the line had closed and they didn’t have enough product and they came up and offered $15-off vouchers for everybody that couldn’t make it," Mike Laughman said.

While those at the Independence Center were in the air conditioning, being outside didn't stop those at Zona Rosa. 

That line stretched around several blocks, despite temperatures being near 100 degrees. 

"We're in the shade and now they’re bringing water, so it makes it a little bit better, but it all depends how long they can deal with this," said Nancy Mautz.

“What they don’t understand is that when you have a child that’s four, $15 off is not going to do a deal when your bears are $30 or more," Lauren Buczinski said. 

Joyce Mendoza voluntarily took a voucher."We are leaving we’re taking our vouchers and we’re going to eat lunch," she said, "because it’s too hot and we need to get lunch and air-conditioning.”

Some shoppers couldn't believe what they were seeing. 

“I don’t even go to amusement parks because I hate the lines and I have four kids and I wouldn’t bring them out to stand in line for a bear," Jeff Logan said. "I’d pay the extra. Whatever.”

“It’s been crazy," Lindsie Vaughan said. "We decided to come because it’s a super good deal. My sister has five kids that are little, so she’s saving like $100 by being here today. So, we just decided we would come to be with the craziness.”

For some, seeing the look on their child's face after they picked out their favorite bear, stuffed it, and gave it some extra love was a special experience. 

“It was so worth the wait," Parker Jackson said.

The company said earlier this week that for one-day only the age of a guest would determine how much their furry friend will cost.

The cheapest bear at a local store was about $12, but there were some that cost around $30. 

If you’re older than the cost of the furry friend you want to purchase, don’t worry, no one will be a “day over 29 years old -- meaning no matter their age, guests will pay no more than $29,” according to the company’s website.

The offer is valid to Bonus Club members, which is free for all to enroll in. 

Click here for more details about "Pay Your Age Day." 

Click here to enroll in the Bonus Club. 

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