SAN DIEGO (KGTV)— Thousands of eager kids and parents rushed to Fashion Valley Mall early Thursday morning to get the perks of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s “Pay-Your-Age” event. While hundreds went home with deeply discounted stuffed animals, the overcrowding forced others to leave empty-handed.
10News spoke to families that stood in line for hours. Kim Thi, her friends, and their children arrived at the mall at 8:15 a.m., anticipating the store’s usual 10 a.m. opening.
They were here for the "Pay-Your-Age” event. Customers only had to pay the age of their children instead of the regular price of the stuffed animal.
Tiffany Hong waited in line for three hours even before entering the store. Her son Ephraim just turned two, which meant his tab would only be $2, for a $28 Pokemon stuffed animal.
To get the deal, customers waited in zig-zag lines around the entire mall. Security was called to direct foot traffic, and mall staff even passed out free umbrellas for families that canoed out for hours in the blazing sun.
Some people were not so lucky. Many were turned away from the “Pay-Your-Age” promotion. Instead, they were given $15 off coupons, which are valid starting tomorrow.
“Hopefully we can come back this weekend,” one woman said, disappointingly.
But the Fashion Valley store was prepared. Many Build-A-Bear Workshops around the country and the UK could not handle the excessive lines. They did not have coupons ready either. So they ended up leaving customers empty-handed.
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
— Build-A-Bear Workshop (@buildabear) July 12, 2018
But for the patient early birds like Ephraim, the Pokemon was finally his.
“I did it!” he said, nearly five hours after he and his friends got in line.
From the smiles on their faces, the event was a success for the kids. Not so much for the parents.
“It’s worth it for him because he’s happy. But not for me. I’m tired,” laughed Thi.
For those who were turned away, Build-A-Bear corporate announced it would make “Pay-Your-Age" vouchers available to their Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members if they log into their accounts by Sunday.