Build-A-Bear Pay Your Age Day back, but this time with new rules

Build-A-Bear Pay Your Age Day back, but this time with new rules

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Only a limited number of tickets will be available for this year’s Build-A-Bear Workshop “Pay Your Age Day.” Here’s how to get one.
USA TODAY

Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Pay Your Age promotion is back, and this time the company has a plan to avoid long lines, store closings, crying children or angry parents.

Only a select number of children holding Pay Your Age “winner” tickets will get a furry friend. But this way, hopefully the company won’t have to apologize as they did after last summer’s debacle.  

“There is still a lot of interest in paying your age,” said Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John. “People are intrigued with the concept.” So the company wanted to “re-think this opportunity,” she said.

Everyone has an equal chance at a winning ticket if they sign up for the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club rewards program using their email from June 11 through midnight on June 16. The Pay Your Age sale for a plush toy is exactly as it sounds — if your child is 2, parents pay $2, if he or she is 4, parents fork over $4.

‘Winners’ shop during a 3-day window

Once enrolled in the rewards program, guests will be notified via email by June 21 if they are among the 200,000 guests in the U.S., U.K. and Canada to receive a “winner” ticket. John said the 200,000 tickets was how much the company’s data showed the company’s staff could accommodate. 

The notification includes a barcode they can print out or take to a Build-A-Bear store on a device to be scanned. When registering for the promotion, a parent can use one ticket for up to two children. 

This year the promotion lasts for five days from June 24 through June 28. Last year, the sale in July was a single-day promotion and some customers waited in line for up to seven hours. Other stores, overwhelmed by hundreds of people awaiting the sale, shut down before they opened, citing “safety concerns.” 

To avoid that catastrophe, Build-A-Bear is staggering guests in three-day windows to visit the store. Guests with winning tickets will be assigned a date range to visit their Build-A-Bear store: June 24-26 or June 26-28.

The stores all will be appropriately staffed, John said.

Kids can still score a bear during their birthday month

The Pay Your Age sale began as a promotion for the company’s Count Your Candles birthday program. Birthday parties are responsible for one-third of the company sales, John said.  

Even if your child isn’t chosen a “winner” for this Pay Your Age promotion, children 14 and younger can still catch a deal during their birthday month. By registering with the rewards program, children Pay Your Age for the Birthday Treat Bear at stores during their birthday month.

John couldn’t say whether there will be any future Pay Your Age sales, but said every day at Build-A-Bear has the potential to be a Pay Your Age day for children.

“If you really think about it, every single day is another chance for a Pay Your Age Day,” she said. “Someone is paying their age for a Birthday Treat Bear every day all year long,”

Those new to the Bonus Club also could win a grand prize birthday party experience valued at $250 to use during the next year. Ten prizes will be awarded.

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