We all heard about the Build-A-Bear "Pay Your Age" sale earlier this week, but it turns out that their good idea became a huge disaster.
When the company prepared for the sale, they did not expect the sheer volume of people who would try to take part in the event. They quickly became overwhelmed, and instead of a fun outing with the kids, it became a nightmare.
Just hours after the stores opened their doors, local authorities forced them to close down the lines. It quickly became a safety concern with the long lines throughout the malls, and so authorities forced the company to tell many parents to go home.
The sale is happening in all their locations, but it seems like each and every one of them ran into the same problem: Too many angry parents, not enough bears.
By 11:30 ET, the store had already closed all of the lines in the United States. The people who managed to secure their spot were told that the wait would be about six hours long.
They released a statement as soon as they could, as a way to discourage anymore people from showing up only to find out they couldn't get a bear.
"Please be aware: Based on the unprecedented response to our Pay Your Age Day event in our early opening stores, we are experiencing significantly longer than expected lines and large crowds. Local authorities are requiring us to limit the lines and crowds due to safety concerns. We understand this is disappointing, we are working to address the situation, and we will be reaching out to our valued Guests soon."
But parents who were either forced out of the lines or let down by the changes have been very vocal about how angry they are.
One parent said "Not being able to supply the demand on pay-your-age day is bad. Making kids have to attend and being turned away at the door is disgusting."
Part of the small print of the sale was that if you wanted to pay your child's age, they had to be there. However this ended up with families lining up, only to see a bunch of kids crying when they were told they weren't getting a bear.
Another customer was angry with the company's attempts at redemption. "I just had to tell my [four-year-old] and his [seven-year-old] cousin after promising them to take them that we can't go. You're a major retailer you should've expected this. And to offer people who've waited for hours a $15 off coupon isn't the same thing as [pay your age].
People who had been in line were asked how they felt about all the chaos. Chloe Lythgoe, mother of two, said "Children were becoming distressed from the waiting and the heat inside the shopping center."
Gemma Butler, a marketing director for Chartered Institute of Marketing, criticized the sale. "This was an ill thought-out and unprofessional promotional execution, one that not only risks their own brand reputation, but has the potential to bring the wider marketing sector into disrepute."
She continued, "If their goal was to highlight demand, Build-A-Bear ought to have considered the consequences of thousands of children going home tonight disappointed and in tears."
The company is trying to encourage their customers to enroll in the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club, because they have a year round "Pay Your Age" promotion during your birthday month, but it is only for one specific bear.
We will have to see what happens with this promotional fail, because while it was obviously nice for the company to see how many people wanted their product, it's really horrible for the kids who just had their hearts broken.