Build-A-Bear pulled its 'pay your age' offer due to overcrowding fears at its shops, after hopeful families queued for hours - but it's now offering a £12-off voucher meaning you could bag a bear for £2 or less.
The teddy-selling chain launched its first-ever 'pay your age' offer on Thursday, allowing you to buy a bear for however old your child is in pounds - so a three-year-old could get one for £3. Given the usual cost is £20-ish, it was a strong deal for many and attracted widespread publicity beforehand, featuring on deals sites, in national newspapers and in our weekly email.
But late on Thursday morning, amid reports of huge wait times at shopping centres across the country, Build-A-Bear announced that "queues are at capacity" due to an "overwhelming and unprecedented" response. There were also customers in the US reporting similar problems.
It is now sending £12-off vouchers to all members of its UK loyalty scheme - as long as you sign up by 18 July - and says it gave vouchers to those who were still in queues yesterday.
For full details of how to get a £12-off voucher, see our Build-A-Bear write-up.
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'Just travelled 30 miles and wasn't even allowed to join the queue'
Many people have been tweeting their disappointment at the deal and showing pictures of the queues:
@buildabear just travelled 30 miles to Silverburn to take part in pay your age. However wasn't even allowed to join queue and that was before the shop even opened. Had to leave with three crying children. Very dissapointed ðŸ˜¬— Alison Patterson (@xxAlisonPxx) July 12, 2018
@buildabear spent 2 hours and Â£30 travelling from Isle of Wight to get a bear for my daughters 2nd birthday. Only to find out canâ€™t even get in the que as stock is already very low. One upset little girl.— Jason Coles (@jcoles33) July 12, 2018
BUILD-A-BEAR UPDATE! At this time @buildabear has closed the queue for their event. We will let you know if it reopens at any point later today. #buildabear #payyourage #norwich pic.twitter.com/XpI6WQmEJO— intu Chapelfield (@intuChapelfield) July 12, 2018
How do I get the £12-off voucher?
Customers had to sign up to the Build-A-Bear bonus club in order to take part in the pay your age event.
Build-A-Bear has now issued £12-off vouchers to members of this loyalty scheme, and will do to anyone that signs up to the scheme by 18 July.
To get the voucher you must log into your account by midnight on 18 July, and redeem the voucher in store by 31 August this year - though it's worth noting Build-A-Bear is asking people not to immediately rush back to its stores. See our MSE Deals page for the full details.
It is also continuing to run its count your candles promotion for bonus club members, where you can pay your child's age for its "birthday treat bear", which usually costs £14, during their birthday month.
What does Build-A-Bear say?
Build-A-Bear has released an updated statement. It said: "Build-A-Bear Workshop's pay your age Day event generated an overwhelming response, resulting in long queues, extensive waits and disappointed guests.
"We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this reaction to our pay your age day event. We understand that many guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the queue.
"Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we were unable to serve all of our guests for the pay your age day event."