I just got home after a busy day with the kids and friends. Our main focus was to go to Build A Bear for the Pay Your Age promotion. I really didn’t think it would be that busy and I thought it would be a fun time for the little ones that had not had the opportunity to Build A Bear yet. We got done and I opened up my phone to a ton of negativity about the event and that is really just not cool because honestly, it was a fun day.
About the deal: Any child was able to go to Build A Bear and pay their age in years for any bear of their choice. So if your child is 1, you pay $1! If you are older than 29, you were 29 for the day and could pay just $29 for any bear.
They definitely marketed the sale well. I heard about the sale from many sources and was intrigued and wanted to bring my kids. Well apparently other parents also had the same idea. After hearing from several people that they were going to go, I figured I would arrive early to get in line so we could be the first ones in the store.
Reality: I arrived at the mall around 8:30. The mall doors had not even opened up yet so my friend and I hopped in the line to get into the mall. I chatted with some other moms in line and I arrived about an hour too late if I wanted to truly be one of the first people in the store. A friend of mine arrived at 7:30 AM and she was in the first group of 10 to get in the store. That was smart on her part because for my kids it was really the wait to get the bears stuffed that was the killer. Watching the other kids get their bears and not being able to help is hard for a three year old LOL.
They had a full staff at Build A Bear, they had help from Mall Security, and managed things really well at our store. First you waited in line to get your bear. For US it took about 2 hours to get to the bears. This really did not seem to take very long at all. Dad walked around the little ones, my friend’s 6 year old daughter is exceptionally behaved and enjoyed snacks and playing while we waited.
The store had a system. Once you reached a certain point, you received a name tag with your age on it. Then you continued up to the from of that line. Once you moved up there your were grouped and moved to another line where you were the next group to pick your bear. They even had an empty store next to Build A Bear where they encouraged you to leave your stroller so it would be out of the way in the store.
After you picked out your bear, you could either pay for it empty and come back another time to stuff it, or you moved over to the stuffing line. The only restriction was that if you selected a Pokemon Bear, you HAD to get it stuffed there, you were not allowed to bring those home and then back to stuff later.
The stuffing line was the hardest stretch for us. THAT line alone was another 2 hours. NOW… the reason it was another 2 hours was because the wonderful staff was doing such a great job. Yes… your kids had to wait. BUT once their turn came, they got the royal treatment and got to stuff their bear and fill it with love. Again, snacks, walks, pointing out letters on the walls, playing games.. etc… and we made it through! It was FINALLY our turn! Caleb helped stuff little brother’s bear and fluffed them, we paid and we left with three happy kids!
Now. If you did not arrive early, I am sure your experience was not the same as what I am describing because you may not have had the opportunity to make a bear. My location “closed the line” somewhere around 11:00. I didn’t think to ask why- but the staff member I chatted with told me that they had enough bears in stock for everyone that is in line to get a bear. So instead of making children stand in line to not get a bear, if they wanted to get in line, they were given a voucher for $15 off any bear on their next visit. They had a security person standing at the end of the line signing out the vouchers. I am pretty sure if I had not arrived early, I would have been happy to accept the coupon and save my kids from waiting in line for 8 hours to pay a few dollars more for the bear.
Since arriving home, Build A Bear posted on their Facebook that due to the crowds and many stores closing, or fire marshals closing lines, etc., they issued a coupon that Bonus Club Members can download for $15 off any bear on their next visit. So even if you did not brave the crowds, you can still get a deal with this coupon. You have to print it or screen shot it by July 15th and stop into any Build a Bear store before August 31st, 2018 to redeem your coupon. The coupon reads one coupon per account, so if you have two kids you will need your spouse to sign up for an account.
Also, if you did not know, Build A Bear has a promotion that during your child’s birthday month they can go and build the Birthday Treat Bear for their age. They also have coupons all the time to help make the Build A Bear experience more affordable when you sign up for the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club.