Parents waited for hours outside Build-A-Bear stores in the U.K. as the company hosted a “pay your age” day. Customers had the rare opportunity to buy any bear, which can cost up to $68, for the price of their child's age.
After parents and their children waited in line - some up to nine hours - they would then have to wait for the bear to be filled with stuffing, and then wait again in another line to pay.
Building a bear doesn't just stop there – Build-A-Bear have strategically come up with a whole range of bear clothes and accessories that are absolute necessities to a bear-loving child.
Fights broke out between parents who were waiting in line, with some of them having to stand for up to nine hours before they made it into the store.
At a location in Leeds, police were called when queues of "about a mile long" formed. Leeds shopper Paul Shaw told the BBC:
"Crazy scenes at the White Rose - Build-A-Bear is in chaos. Queuing from the store, all the way outside, approximately five-hour queue. There are even police here trying to keep the peace."
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
The company said the response had been "overwhelming and unprecedented." Several stores had to shut for the rest of the day following demand.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Build-A-Bear Workshop said: "We understand our guests are disappointed, and we are working to address the situation.
"We will reach out directly to our valued guests as soon as possible."
There are over 50 Build-A-Bear branches across the UK. The retailer has opened more than 400 stores across the world, since its launch in 1997.
To qualify for the promotion, parents must join the free Build-A-Bear bonus reward scheme.
Parents on social media criticized the event, saying they were shocked at the long wait, and “disgusted” by the company’s organization. Some said their children were left "heartbroken" when they could not get a bear.
Some members of the public took to social media to share their shock at the long waits and tense atmosphere surrounding the stores.
Build a Bear in chaos today and a quick search says that these people are saving an average of £10. I'm all for a bargain, but 9 hour queues to save £10 on a teddy bear?.. pic.twitter.com/O7uivqE43D— Sarah Marks (@sarahjmarks) July 12, 2018
@buildabear absoloutly disgusted at the carnage at your Solihull branch. The shop had to close because they was not able to keep up with demand I was told to just go home! 2 very disappointed children #poorservice #buildabear pic.twitter.com/jmqHRXF8LN— Sarah king (@SarahGreen92) July 12, 2018
Actually crazy people who would wait up to 8 hours for this deal and not bother taking their kids to school because of it, who would wait up to 8 hours for a cheap teddy are people really that desperate like fair enough waiting half an hour but come on #workshop #BuildAbear pic.twitter.com/dfQhl46WGy— Jessica Middleton (@jessmiddleton__) July 12, 2018
The police had to come and cool down the tension between customers and staff when I got there, how can one promotion go so wrong? pic.twitter.com/yTSFb4m6D7— Steve Mitchell (@SteveMitchell87) July 12, 2018
If you feel the need to queue for 9 hours at a build a bear.. making your kid also queue that amount of time... I think you need to re prioritise your parenting... utter ridiculous. Does however highlight the ridiculous price @buildabear charge anyway. Such a rip off #BuildABear
Those parents who managed to buy a bear were lucky, and shared their joy on social media as well.
so me and Lola waited to build her first buddy from 8:30am and finally left the store at 10:30am, but she's super happy and I'm super achey! a huge thanks to all the lovely people working at #BuildABear in the @intuVictoriaCen! you made the experience worth the wait 💖 pic.twitter.com/5XoODhBtcl— natalie jessica 🦄 (@grrrlgerm) July 12, 2018
The sale continues today for US markets -- hope you're out there being safe.