DALLAS - Build-A-Bear Workshops in North Texas and around the country were forced to close off lines for “Pay Your Age Day.”
Thursday’s special promotion allowed customers to pay their current age for any furry friend available in the store.
Build-A-Bear said to take advantage of the deal, customers needed to be a "Bonus Club" member. Registration for the club is free and can be completed online or in-store.
But the company released a statement shortly after 10 a.m. announcing the closure of all lines for safety reasons.
“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our U.S. Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to crowd and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. stores,” Build-A-Bear said.
In North Texas, thousands of customers with kids in tow lined up for the promise of heavily-discounted stuffed animals. Many were turned away.
FOX 4 viewer Emmy Henry shared video of the line at Stonebriar Center in Frisco just after the store opened. It snaked all the way from the store, down the center of the mall, around the play area and out toward the department stores.
Henry said she had hoped to spend $10 on stuffed bears for her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old twins but ended up leaving after promising her daughter mani-pedis and a full-priced bear.
The lines at other local malls were reportedly just as long. Video from the Galleria Dallas showed it wrapping around the railing that overlooks the ice rink. Some people started lining up as early as 6 a.m.
Viewers in Fort Worth complained that the Hulen Mall wouldn’t let customers line up inside the mall. Instead, the line was outside and filled with hot and screaming kids. But it wasn’t long before it was cut off and $15 vouchers were handed out to those who were turned away.
“We got up early this morning and stood in line just to get him Chase because he’s been asking for Chase and I told him he has to talk to Santa about it for Christmas. But then I found out about this on Facebook,” said Nancy Garrett, who was able to purchase a discounted stuffed animal.
“I was expecting maybe a little bit of a wait, maybe a small line but nothing that stretched outside of the mall and nothing that blocked up the mall like it is right now,” added Cheryl Kelly, who did not get a bear.
The Garland Fire Department treated a 3-year-old who passed out in the heat while waiting in line for the promotion at the Firewheel Town Center. The child was taken inside to cool off but not taken to the hospital.
The promotion also reportedly shut down stores in the United Kingdom because of mile-long lines and overwhelming demand.
Build-A-Bear said the crowds greatly exceeded expectations. It promised to make things right with valued customers.
“We understand our affected Guests may be disappointed, and we are working to address the situation. We will reach out directly to our valued Guests as soon as possible," the company said.