SHORT PUMP, Va. — Hundreds of people remained in line at Build-A-Bear Workshop in Short Pump Town Center during its Pay Your Age Day Event. While similar events around the country have been cancelled due to large crowds, the promotion is still going on in Short Pump.
Some people have waited in line more than four hours for their chance to pay their child’s age for bear that could cost more than $20.
Parents who do not want to wait in line are being given $15 vouchers for a future visit.
“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our U.S. Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to crowd and safety concerns,” company officials said shortly after 11 a.m.
“We have closed lines in our U.S. stores. We understand some of our Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.”
Staffers at the Short Pump location said the store started the day with 800 bears.
At last check around 1:15 p.m., the store still had bears in stock.
The company announced the promotion on Tuesday as a way “to kick off its new, everyday celebration of birthdays.” Customers would be allowed to pay their current age for any make-your-own furry friend in all stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Depending on the size, collection and accessories, stuffed animals from Build-A-Bear can cost between $16 and $75.
Massive lines appeared outside Build-A-Bear workshops in the U.S., Canada and the UK.
Short Pump is ‘blowing up’
Jerome Golfman said Short Pump Town Center was ” blowing up” with the promotion Thursday morning.
He sent video of the large crowd “running half way around the mall.”
“Kids and adults never going to see the inside of the store,” Golfman added.
Victoria Sanderson was one of the people who braved the crowd with her daughter, Isabella, who turned three months old.
She said the pair showed early Thursday and checked out around noon.
“We have been there since 8:30 this morning, but it was worth it to me to get her her first custom bear for only $1,” Sanderson said.
Victoria Sanderson noted the experience went “about as well as one could expect” considering one of the two bear stuffing stations broke down while she was waiting for employees to stuff her daughter’s bear.
“The employees were super friendly and upbeat and willing to help everyone,” Sanderson said. “Considering how hectic the day must be for them, they were handling it very well.
Sanderson noted the store still had “plenty of bear skins” when she left but speculated that there would not be “nearly enough to satisfy that lines worth of children.”
Other folks on social media scoffed at the spectacle and said they would not stand in line — not matter what the savings.
“I’d rather pay their ridiculous full price than try to wait in this line with my kids,” Heather Mae Owens.
Bekah Von Reichenbach agreed and said she was glad the closest store was over two hour away.
“I would never stand in a line that long for a bear,” Von Reichenbach said. “Sorry kid you are getting a generic one that someone already stuffed.”
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