Build-A-Bear Workshop halted its first-ever "Pay Your Age" sale on Thursday after chaos and long lines took over stores throughout the U.S. The discount let customers purchase a stuffed animal according to how old the child is. Build-A-Bear dubbed it as its "biggest in-store deal ever." The company's website says it couldn't allow additional people at its Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to "crowd and safety concerns."
"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," the update said.
Total Retail's Take: Build-A-Bear Workshop has a public relations nightmare on its hands, and needs to have its crisis plan in action. I have to imagine the "Pay Your Age" promotion was wildly more popular than Build-A-Bear was expecting, otherwise the planning for such an event was bungled to a degree that the company will likely be dealing with the repercussions of angry customers for months. Either way — not having a sense of the consumer demand such a promotion would generate, or knowing and not planning and preparing its stores accordingly — Build-A-Bear Workshop is to blame. But one has to wonder why Build-A-Bear wouldn't have expected such a response to the deal. Offer a coveted product at extremely marked down prices — well in excess of 100 percent for nearly child targeted with this promotion — at a time of the year when kids aren't in school, and you have a recipe for what took place yesterday: chaos. Build-A-Bear has work to do in cleaning up a mess it brought upon itself.