We’ve never taken our kids to Build-A-Bear. It looks fun and is one of those things I put on a mental bucket list to enjoy with them, but it can be pricey, especially with 4 kids.
Read to the bottom to see how you can get a $15 off Build-A-Bear coupon EVEN IF you didn’t wait in line for their Pay Your Age Day!
Then I saw a friend share a post last week about Build-A-Bear’s Pay Your Age day, and I bit. I signed up for their Bonus Club (free) since that was a stipulation of being able to take advantage of the promo when I realized we were only about 7 miles from a store.
As the week went on, I saw the promo getting a ton of major media coverage, and the shares on the Build-A-Bear Facebook page announcement were climbing super fast. I had a hunch it was going to be bonkers, like Black Friday level craziness.
But we wanted to get out today anyway, the mall was close, and there was other stuff to do there if this didn’t work out. We didn’t mention Build-A-Bear to the kids until we got to the mall, and definitely didn’t hype it up or make any promises. I’m super glad now because the line at the Valley View Mall in La Crosse, WI stretched from the store on one end of the mall all the way through to the Sears on the other by the time we showed up at 10:40 am.
I waited in line for an hour while Scott took the kids to go play and check out stores. About then I noticed online that a lot of Build-A-Bear stores were completely shutting their lines down. In fact, they made an official announcement stating as much, and I figured the security guard I saw headed our way was coming to tell us to go home.
He didn’t though. In fact, the line didn’t shut down at all the entire time I was there, though maybe it has by now. He did, however, offer up $15 off coupons because he said they didn’t think they would have much in the store by the time we got there. We could take one for each of our children. I grabbed 4 with the promise I’d hand them back if we made it into the store.
I waited probably another 45 minutes and then decided to skip out. I walked the entire length of the line all the way up to the store. YEAH, NO. That definitely sealed it for me- I made the right call. I spoke to a woman at the front of the line who had 3 children with her, including a 3 month old, and she said she got there at 9 am (the store opened at 10). It was 12:40, and she was still about an hour from getting in.
She was in a great mood, though, and didn’t seem to mind the wait. Her mother had come to meet up and help out with the baby, which I think was key. I saw so many moms with tiny babies in strollers or in their arms and I felt exhausted for them. It would have been really hard to manage that line without help.
It was probably poorly planned and way too heavily promoted, and there are plenty of complaints being logged across social media, but Build-A-Bear seems to be working hard to go above and beyond to make it right. They just announced that ANYONE can get the $15 off coupon, even if you didn’t stand in line today.
“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.”
The $15 off is really a pretty great deal still. We were looking at spending $22 today (ages 1+4+7+10), but I just priced out what the kids would likely want to get when we’re there, and we’ll probably only pay around $30 if all 4 get bears with the coupons. (That’s factoring in getting Wallace, the toddler, a $16 bear, and averaging between $20-$25 furries for the other 3.)
I’m not here to bash anyone. Not Build-A-Bear for likely thousands of new email subscribers by doing this, and not the parents for thinking, “What the heck? It’s going to be nuts, but let’s give it a try.” If you were waiting in line with your kids forever and still didn’t make it inside, that sucks, but it’s also a good lesson, right? Sometimes things just don’t work out, but we can still make it a good day.
A couple other pieces worth noting:
- Moms were all about helping other moms in line. A lot seemed to come to the event together, but many others seemed to be making friends in front and behind them, holding space in line for each other when they needed to step away.
- When they did step away, it was often to another store to do a little shopping. We actually stepped into Children’s Place while waiting and Leyna found some cute shorts and a tank top on super sale. I spoke with the cashiers and they said it had been VERY busy that day. So I’m certain many of the stores that share space with Build-A-Bear stores had pretty great sales today.
Finally, if you could handle that line, I promise you can handle the lines to vote in the midterm elections coming up in November, so be sure you’re registered to vote! No bears, but the stickers are pretty rad.