By KENDRA MANN, ABC7 News
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Build-A-Bear Workshop customers who were turned away Thursday during the retailer's Pay Your Age Day were given a $15 voucher that will be honored through Aug. 31, the company said.
In addition, the vouchers were made available to Bonus Club members in the United States and Canada who logged into their accounts before midnight Sunday, July 15.
Some customers turned to social media to express their frustration:
#BuildABearWorkshop "lies and doesn't honor promise of build your age bear" will be the title to my blog later this evening. After live streaming and standing in line for hours, several committed fans and clubs members were turned away with only $15 vouchers in hand. #Truth pic.twitter.com/TWa7UUobTG— TeBeth (@tebeth05) July 12, 2018
The plush toy company started shutting down lines shortly before 11 a.m.
The company released the following statement on its website:
"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."
NEW YORK (CIRCA) - Build-A-Bear Workshop's Pay Your Age Day is here!
Children and the young at heart in the U.S., Canada and U.K. are lining up to pay their age in dollars/pounds for furry friends they get to make themselves.
Circa caught up with excited youngsters in New York City queuing for the special event:
Around 11 a.m., BABW posted on its Facebook page that lines in the U.S. and Canada had been closed due to "crowds and safety concerns." It was unclear whether the lines would reopen later.
The plush toy company also published a statement on its website apologizing to customers:
"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."
Patrons in the U.S., U.K. and Canada are invited to participate in the in-store promotion, with plushy pals costing purchasers' current age in dollars or pounds.
The rumors are true! 🎉 July 12 is the first-ever Pay Your Age Day at Build-A-Bear Workshop! For one day only, you can pay your age for ANY, we repeat, ANY furry friend at the Workshop*! Full Details US/CAN: https://t.co/NumcznV7vt UK: https://t.co/hHhpIi9F6s pic.twitter.com/UWXyMDm4x6— Build-A-Bear Workshop (@buildabear) July 9, 2018
"We have overwhelming data that indicates Build-A-Bear is synonymous with childhood, and nearly one-third of our sales are associated with birthdays," said Sharon Price John, BABW president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We 'heart' birthdays at Build-A-Bear, so we're hosting the Pay Your Age Day to launch our year-round 'Count Your Candles' offer for Guests celebrating a birthday with us in stores—an experience we designed especially to commemorate birthdays in a memorable way."
Children interested in participating are encouraged to have a parent or guardian over 18 enroll in the no-cost Build-A-Bear Bonus Club rewards program.