CHICAGO (Reuters) – Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc, the global stuffed animal retailer, had to cancel its popular pay-your-age event as long lines stretched outside its U.S. stores and crowds clogged mall corridors.
“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our U.S. Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to crowd and safety concerns,” the company said in a statement. “We understand some of our Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.”
During Thursday’s promotion, a “Bonus Club” member could pay his or her age for any furry friend in Build-A-Bear’s stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Teddy bears were priced from $6 to $75 on the store’s website on Thursday.
Photos on social media showed crowded lines of adults, children and strollers inundating shopping mall corridors.
Angela Ricardo said she was heartbroken the line was shut in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, shortly after that store opened.
“Like many, we didn’t made the cut. This was supposed to be a surprise for my 8 month old’s 1st birthday … what a SURPRISE indeed,” Ricardo wrote on Twitter. “Definitely not a great experience.”
Build-A-Bear, which is headquartered in St. Louis, has some 400 stores worldwide.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker