Parenting: The Pay Your Age Build-A-Bear Experience

We admit it! We were intrigued by the Build-A-Bear pay your age sale. We thought it would be fun and since it was during the week we might be able to actually do it for our little one.


When we got there at 9 am, the line wasn’t all that bad.  It would have been a couple of hours we would have to wait but we probably would have been able to get a bear.  But we didn’t want to. We decided to hang out a little bit and watch the line.


This maybe 1/15 of the line


The big hold up was the stuffing of the bear.  Workers were encouraging parents to come back on another day and stuff it, but that’s a hard sell to a child who has been waiting in line.

While waiting, the line got amazingly long. This was beyond anything Build-a-Bear and Lakeside Mall could handle.  While we were there we didn’t see any fights or violence.


This is toward the front of the line.


Now the line has snaked around half the mall.


The biggest winner of this was probably the Disney Store.  It was packed the entire time we were there.

According to Yahoo! News, Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John stated “It was beyond anything we could have ever imagined,” Price John told NBC. “There was really no way for us to have estimated those crowds. We were fully stocked, fully staffed.”  While I do believe they only meant to do good (this has to be a day where they lose money), I believe her privilege is showing a little bit. So is anyone who criticized anyone for going.  Build-A-Bear is a big deal for children. Kids see the status in things because adults put a status on things.  It’s a fact of life with capitalism. I can’t fault any parent who wanted to do something for their kids for a cheap price.  Especially, parents who are working to barely make ends meet.  If you are working poor and have more than one kid, getting multiple Build-A-Bears can be expensive.  If they are really young, the kid won’t know better, but after a time they will know the difference. This was a day that parents saw they could be a hero for their kids, and Build-A-Bear failed them.

Of course, we are lucky enough we can pay full price for a bear without much sacrifice.  But for a lot of parents, this just isn’t the case.  Luckily for parents, during their child’s birthday month, you can still do the pay your age thing (but only for the birthday bear). So if you know someone that was disappointed on July 12, let them know.  Maximum age is 14, but one-year-olds can pay their age during their birthday month!  This is a great way for the company to earn some of the trust they lost that day.

We will see you Build-A-Bear in February!

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