Build a Bear Pay Your Age Day Chaos

We recently headed down to the Trafford Centre to Build a Bear Pay Your Age day.  Build a Bear pay your age, is an offer that means you pay the age of your child. C is 20 months old so I would only have had to pay £1 for any bear. Had I taken J with me I would have had to pay £5.

Build a Bear Pay your age has been massively promoted over social media, several people sharing the articles and tagging their friends. Build a Bear Pay your age was massively promoted so I had a feeling it would be busy. You would have thought that Build a Bears PR team, as well as the Trafford Centre, would have realised this.  I don’t work on a Thursday so I thought we could have a walk around simply as something to do. If we managed to get a bear in the process then great, if not we got out of the house for a while.

J is in school till 3 pm and I had a feeling that the bears would have sold out quickly, for this reason, I didn’t see the point in going after collecting him from school. The added thought of standing in a cue with a 5-year-old and a 20-month-old put me off the idea.  I dropped J off at school and headed straight down to Build a Bear Trafford Centre.

C fell asleep in the car on the way to the Trafford Centre as she had been up since 5 am. Build a Bear doesn’t open till 10 am, I was going to sit in the car to let C have a longer nap. After scrolling on Facebook, I noticed Same Person Different Me was already in the cue and it was busy. I got C out of the car and into her new Micro Scooter Trike, we headed over to Build a Bear.  Considering the shop wasn’t even open yet the cue was already about 200 people long. At this point, I hesitated even joining the queue.

My plan was to wait and see how quickly the queue decreased once the shop was open. I had already decided that it wasn’t worth the stress of trying to keep C happy in the queue. If she got fed up or started kicking off then I was going to leave. C made friends with the little girl from the family behind us. She told us she was 4 but I wasn’t convinced as she seemed older than J. She also said, “I’m 4 aren’t I dad”. C spent an hour happily playing, she was either jumping off a step, dancing or singing. It was at this point that she started asking for a drink.

Before this, someone from Thorntons had started bringing chocolate samples down the queue. The family behind had nipped to Macdonalds leaving the dad in the queue so as not to lose their place. People had taken food and drink with them so that they didn’t need to leave their space. In hindsight, I should have done this. I can totally understand why people had buddied up with a friend as it meant someone could leave if needed to, toilet breaks with toddler etc. The little girl kindly let C have a little bit of her drink, either that or C pinched it off her when I wasn’t looking and the girl just went along with her having some.

The hour that we had been waiting we hadn’t moved that much further ahead. We had probably only made it 3 shops distance further along. It was at this point I was wishing that someone had come around selling drinks and food. Knowing how much further ahead Jo was, that she still hadn’t even got into Build a Bear yet. I decided to give C the choice of staying for a teddy or going home. She chose to go home. Nobody needs a teddy that much to warrant waiting around for hours on end, with the possibility of no stock when you finally got to the front. Fair enough if you were prepared with food and your kids were happy as Larry waiting around. I would rather pay the extra money and go on another day if you wanted a bear that much.  The amount of crying and screaming kids there were ridiculous.

When we left we followed the queue around to the front as I couldn’t remember how much further we would have had to wait. I hand on heart am so glad we left when we did. Looking at the queue behind where we were I would say we were in the top 1/4 of the queue. As I guess I think we would have been waiting around 5 hours before we reached the shop if we had stayed.

The people joining the queue must not have had any idea where the Build a Bear Pay Your Age was taking place.  No one in their right mind would have entertained the thought of standing in a queue that long with toddlers. When we were in the queue C could see the hire cars for toddlers on the floor below.  We made our way down to these so she could have a little sit in the police car before we headed back to the car. We actually passed the Disney store which was also rammed as parents were obviously buying their children a toy from there rather than standing in the Build a Bear queue.

I was shocked to see so many older children in the Trafford Centre clearly just so they could get a discounted bear.  Now I know some of these may have been home educated children, but some children had school uniforms on. Doesn’t make it a cheap bear if they get fined for taking them out of school. Also what example does this set to them implying their education isn’t as important as a bear! I’m one of those people that don’t see the harm in missing school for a life experience. You can learn several things on holiday but what are you going to learn stood in a queue for 6 hours?.

I actually had a really nice morning with C doing something different than we normally do. She had fun on her trike, which loads of people mentioned looked cool. We looked at the fountains, which is a bit of a Trafford Centre tradition for kids. C did ask me to take her shoes off at one point as she wanted to climb in the water.

Pay your age
When I got home I couldn’t believe the number of people complaining. Yes, it was poorly organised but seriously what were you expecting. People complaining about their kids being so disappointed after school that they couldn’t go. I have a 5yr old, I know not to promise him anything until we are actually doing it.
If you want the perspective from someone who actually got the Build a Bear Pay Your Age offer read this post here.

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