SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Across the U.S., thousands of parents and their children tried to enjoy the summer day on Thursday by making a bear. It was all part of Build-A-Bear's "Pay Your Age Day" promotion, giving children a chance to stuff a bear for a low price.
But many of those who showed up were turned away as crowds - like the one at Fashion Valley Mall - wrapped around the building.
It was the same story in Chula Vista at the Otay Ranch Town Center location where families were sent home after the company cut the discount.
Crowds chant “We want bears!” as many continue to pack around @buildabear at Otay Ranch Town Center hoping the bears don’t run out by the time they reach the front. See the full frenzy on @CBS8 5 & 6:30pm and @thecwsandiego 7pm?? pic.twitter.com/OBxzKIGOZV— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) July 12, 2018
One store posted a sign reading "the Pay Your Age Day line is closed due to capacity. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience."
As frustrations from patrons mounted, the company released a statement and tweeted updates apologizing to guests.
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.
**Urgent Alert:— Build-A-Bear Workshop (@buildabear) July 12, 2018
Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowd safety concerns. We have closed lines in our stores. We understand some Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible. https://t.co/aSFfPCcfsG pic.twitter.com/WZJ53tOAEH
Later Thursday, Build-A-Bear updated their statement to include information about vouchers being issued for those who were present in line and how Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members could also receive a voucher. The statement said, in part:
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.
Facebook Video: Chopper 8 over the around-the-block line outside the Build-A-Bear in Otay Ranch.
Livid parents took to social media in the U.S. and the U.K. to rage.
@buildabear @emma1885 angry and fuming, we are working parents, my wife is having to drive 100 miles after work to get to a store to take up the offer, and now we have a 2 year old in meltdown she's not getting a bear, perhaps your MD wants to consul her @BBCWatchdog #buildabear- Dave A (@geekonaleashuk) July 12, 2018
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