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Build-A-Bear ends 'pay your age' promotion due to extreme crowds

You could say it all went beary wrong.
Parents and kids wait in line for close to an hour at Coral Square mall in Coral Springs, Fla., for the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pay Your Age day event, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Customers were allowed customers to purchase a bear and pay their current age with a cap at $29, which was also available at its United Kingdom stores. The chain known for its customizable teddy bears and other stuffed toys couldn't handle the crowds Thursday and had to turn shoppers away. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)Carline Jean / AP
/ Source: TODAY

Build-A-Bear Workshop's "pay your age day" on July 12 was so popular the company had to shut it down early, overwhelmed by crowds hoping to get a furry friend at a deep discount.

"We could not have predicted this reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event," the company said in a statement posted online. "Authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, were forced to limit the line."

Build-A-Bear said it distributed vouchers to those turned away from the event, and "Bonus Club" members could log into their account by midnight on July 15 to get a voucher as well. The promotion drew crowds to stores across the U.S. and England for the chance to buy one of the customizable bears, which start at $12 but retail for an average of $28.

The children's retailer stated that the event had drawn "unprecedented" crowds and had regrettably resulted in "long lines, extensive waits and disappointed guests."

Social media users reported standing in line for anywhere from four to nine hours for their chances to get in on the discount, some just to be turned away by staff.

According to Build-A-Bear, vouchers were handed out to those turned away, which will be valid through the end of August.

The company strongly encouraged guests to consider delaying their next trip to Build-A-Bear to avoid excess voucher-redeeming crowds.

Build-A-Bear also consoled disappointed customers with their "Count Your Candles" birthday program, where kids under the age of 14 can "pay their age" for a Birthday Treats bear during their birthday month.