Build A Bear 'pay your age' sale sparks chaos and 9-hour queues at UK stores

12 July 2018, 14:02 | Updated: 12 July 2018, 15:42

By Tom Eames

If you've noticed huge lines at your local shopping centre today, it's probably because there's a Build A Bear store inside.

The cuddly toy chain has sparked chaos across the country after launching a one-day-only 'pay your age' sale, which allows customers to buy bears for the price of the child's age.

All bears are included in the deal, and the minimum price for the offer is £1. However, some stores are now turning away customers due to the incredibly high demand, after long queues led to "safety concerns", according to the Mirror.

Shops in Telford, Shropshire, Basingstoke, Hampshire and Sheffield have already closed early due to safety fears. One mum was refused entry when she tried to join the queue in Meadowhall in Sheffield, saying: "We arrived around 9.45am, about 15 minutes before it was due to open.

“The line was almost full length of one side of the shopping centre. A member of staff told us to go home as we couldn’t join the line and it was up to a nine hour wait for people already waiting.”

The chain has said that demand has been "unprecedented", leading to huge queues of nine or more hours, and even some reports of violence and the police having to be called out.

Fiona O'Reilly from Gateshead arrived at her local store at 8.15am. She said: "It was complete madness; I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few riots over this today.

"I managed to get there early and it took just over an hour for me to get all four bears. However, the queues are starting to get so long, and the store only has four staff making the bears, so I reckon people will be waiting all day. There's already people fighting in the queues!"

A spokesman for Build a Bear said: "The safety of our guests and our associates is our top priority, and we are looking into this incident.

"The response to our Pay Your Age Day event at all of our UK locations has been overwhelming and unprecedented in our 21 year history.

"The crowds have greatly exceeded our expectations and, per local authorities, queues are at capacity and we cannot accept additional guests due to extreme crowds and safety concerns.

"We understand our guests are disappointed, and we are working to address the situation. We will reach out directly to our valued guests as soon as possible."