Build-A-Bear promotion stuffed malls worldwide

Build-A-Bear promotion stuffed malls worldwide

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It looked like Black Friday in shopping malls everywhere.

For this Christmas in July, malls all over the world were stuffed by customers looking to get a great deal.

Build-A-Bear just got a lot less expensive, but only for one day.

Build-a-Bear offered a "Pay Your Age" promotion--a great deal considering most of their stuffed animals typically sell for around $15 to $35.

A Build-A-Bear sale so successful, it turned into chaos. Build-A-Bear had to cut off customers at stores around the world for their "Pay Your Age" day.

The promotion promised customers could get a bear, and only pay the age of the customer, mostly children.

Parents were excited about the one-day sale and wasted no time flooding our local store.

Gilbert Zuniga, 10, was the Franklin Park Mall with his family. He had no interest in contending with the masses.

"When we saw the actual line I didn't even want to go in there. It was way too crowded," Zuniga said.

Despite other promotional offers drawing the masses this week at places like Chick-Fil-A and 7-11, these crowds were unprecedented.

Before stores even opened here in the U.S., Build-A-Bear in Belfast, Ireland was forced to close after "extreme" crowds lined up for the store with reports of assaults on adults and children.

The store inside Franklin Park Mall opened early this morning to try to better accommodate large crowds.

Elysia Tesnow drove an hour with her sister and all of their kids in tow from Arcadia, Ohio for the deal.

"We were planning on getting bears, but there was a five and a half hour wait that we heard last, so I mean, we walked through the mall, and ended up going to The Disney Store instead, which, there was a line even for that. I would rather pay full price instead of wait in line like that," Tesnow said.

Many folks didn't know about the change in hours, and said even if they had arrived earlier, it still wouldn't have been worth the wait.

Angel Rosas also drove into town with her sister and all of their children, this time from Adrian, Michigan for the event.

She said they quickly realized, it wasn't worth their time, and there was a good chance that even if they had waited, the kids probably wouldn't have been able to get the specialty items (also being offered at the promotional prices) that they came out for.

"It was a very long line, a very, very long. We got in town about 8:30 this morning, and when we got in town there was already people lined up through the whole mall,"  Rosas said.

Rosas' sister, Raelene Komives said they waited, "a good five minutes" in the line, before finding out what they initially heard would be a three-hour wait, had turned into an expected five and a half hour wait. Their family also wound up at the Disney Store.

As of about 11 p.m. Thursday morning again, before some locations even had a chance to open on the West Coast, Build-A-Bear put out a statement on their Facebook page:

"Due to crowds and safety concerns, they closed lines for all U.S. and Canada stores, along with a promise to reach out to customers soon."

Anyone who waited in line Thursday and didn't get what they came for may be in luck.

Around 4 p.m., a second statement was issued by the company in reaction:

"Our first-ever Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response resulting in long lines, extensive waits, and disappointed Guests. We understand that many Guests were turned away due to safety concerns created by the crowds when authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores or we were forced to limit the line.

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