One of the most memorable days of my boys’ lives so far I think … a visit to Build-A-Bear ... but not just any visit as today was “Pay Your Age Day” ….. an absolute bargain.
So the idea was that you could pick ANY soft toy in store and yes that includes all the film ones and only pay the price of how old your child is, in our case £3 and £1 (minimum was £1) … what a cracking offer.
I’d told Dan about this earlier in the week and said “come with me, we won’t be there long” … famous last words I might add.
It is 2.30pm and we have just got home, we left at 8am! 😂
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I thought getting there for 9am, it would be pretty quiet as a lot of people would have their children in school (I was very surprised to see children in school uniforms in the queue) … but how wrong was I! We hit the queue just before 9am and I reckon that we were about 100th in the queue .. so not too far back I thought… then the problems started.
We soon realised that the queue wasn’t moving very much at all. They were only letting a few people in the shop at a time which slowed things down. Obviously on top of that, the children spend time making decisions about which one that they want, then changing their mind (all part of being a toddler I might add) … then trying to convince Mum or Dad to let the soft toy have an outfit (more pennies) then having to give the bear a name on a computer and lastly actually getting the bears stuffed!
4 and a half hours … that is how long it took us in total from joining the queue to paying for the damn things! 😂… I have to say that this was not one of mummy’s best ideas. I take full responsibility for making us have a day out at Build-A-Bear.
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The problem was as well, that after about an hour queue, Leo had spied the shop and said “going to the bear shop?” … so we couldn’t leave could we? Not a chance as he would have been really upset. The shop was so close but so far….
The local Greggs did a roaring trade this morning because there were lots of people in the queue eating sausage rolls and doughnuts for breakfast! Then a quick thinking staff member in WH Smith cottoned on (she certainly deserves staff member of the month) as she came out with baskets full of drinks and chocolates for sale – made a fortune selling to people in the queue – great idea! We took our brekkie with us …
The thing that bothered me the most in the queue … rude people. I couldn’t believe how many people “saved a space” for their friend that turned up 2 hours later …. for the record, it’s damn rude and an obnoxious thing to do when people have been queuing for so long.
I felt so sorry for the Arndale security staff as there weren’t enough of them for the amount of people that turned up and to be honest, Build-A-Bear should have had their own security on the door and the queue.
Turns out that many of the stores actually announced that they were closing and many stopped people from joining the queue anymore, this was for safety reasons
I’m not sure if they are even opening again today because of this, but I bet a lot of parents aren’t happy that they’d promised to take their children after school and now it looks like they might not be able to.
But … look at Leo’s face when we eventually got into the shop when he saw all the bears that he could choose from,big smile equals very happy.
To be honest, we got really lucky with both our boys today. They were both really well behaved, Leo only had a 5 minute moment and Asher had a cry as we were waiting to stuff the bears and then he fell asleep (so totally missed the whole stuffing of the bear, placing a heart and making a wish 😂) … and Leo didn’t like the noise that the machine made, so hid behind us when the bears were coming alive!
Check out the ones we got though … they should have cost us £54 in total and today they only cost us £4 …. yes that is correct, £4 for the both of them including Chewbacca! There were hardly any of those left in the shop, good spot by Dan!
It was a really good promotion of Build-A-Bear but I think some heads might be rolling at head office because of the chaos in stores throughout the country before.
Here are my tips Build-A-Bear for your next event;
1. Registration online so you get a ticket number and an allocation time.
2. Offer pre-made bears (yes, I know that the magic is in the stuffing and adding a heart but for most under 3s, they don’t get it or quickly lose interest)
3. You needed more staff stuffing the bears, you needed temporary machines. The staff at the store that we were in took about 5- 10 minutes to stuff each bear and sew them up, that means on average about 20/25 bears an hour were being completed. This was just not fast enough for how many people were coming through the doors and how many people were outside queuing.
4.You could have done with a ticket system for toilet visits. Remember, there were sooo many young children with their parents and people were scared to leave in case they lost their place. The nearest toilets to the store we at were a 15 minute journey there and back if you were quick.
5. Water could have been offered to the queues, a really simple cheap solution to keeping your crowds a little bit happier.
So, rumour has it that the promotion is linked to the launch of “Count Your Candles” in the UK where you will be able to pay the price of the age of your child in their birthday month for a bear. Check the American version out here … I’m not sure of the terms and conditions coming with the offer but it might be worth registering on their website for especially if you can get a cheap gift for their birthday, I think it’s a great idea.
So, would I do it again?
Would I queue again for that long? You know what, yes I would!
I bet that you thought that I was going to say no then, didn’t you!
The reason that I’ve said Yes is because what memories it created today and all you need to do is look at this photo of Leo smiling …
And also look at this one of daddy and Leo, they had both definitely had enough by this point though …
And Asher checking his purchase out too …
I’m not sure what Daddy would say though, I think he was slowly being driven insane throughout this adventure … although I am also sure that when he looks back and remembers this day, he will be laughing … and I have warned him that we will more than likely be queuing again at some point in their lives for something that they want so much … all part of parenting xxx
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This weekend Millie’s Daddy Dan is doing a sky dive in her memory.
He is extremely nervous, if you have a few pennies to donate please drop him a text donation by texting DSKY01 £3 to 7000