Last year they seriously underestimated how many parents would take them up on the offer.
As moms, we know mistakes happen. The key is learning from those mistakes and it seems Build-A-Bear is a keen student in this regard.
The stuffed animal workshop is bringing back its 'pay your age' deal again this year—yes, that's the same one-day sale that caused chaos in shopping centers in multiple countries last year—but the company is ensuring it won't result in unmanageable chaos this time around.
For 2019, Build-A-Bear has a new system. This year, you've got to enter a sweepstakes and win a 'pay your age' ticket. Some 200,000 lucky kids are expected to win tickets to 'pay your age' events between June 24-28 in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
If you want to enter you need to get on it before June 16. Build-A-Bear has this thing seriously organized this year, much to the relief of many mall security guards.
"We have implemented a process to make this a ticketed event to ensure the best Guest experience," the company notes on its website, cautioning that there may still be a line. "We do expect higher than normal traffic at the Workshop during this period."
A ticketed event is a great idea because last year there was a serious underestimation of how many parents would show up at 'pay your age' events in U.S., Canada and the U.K. and the sales had to be canceled. The lines were extreme.
"Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores. We understand some guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible," the company said in a statement.
Things didn't go as planned in the U.K. either, where the BBC reported some families spent more than eight hours in lines that were more than half a mile long, and there were reports of shoppers fighting while waiting in line.
Many parents were not pleased with how the sale was handled, with some taking to social media to vent their frustrations. Some who got in before the shut down expressed gratitude to Build-A-Bear staffers who lived through a workday they won't soon forget, or to the new mom friends they met while in line.
It's clear Build-A-Bear listened to parents after last year's chaos and learned an important lesson: Never underestimate the power of a good sale.
[A version of this post was originally published July 12, 2018. It has been updated.]
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