Family waits nine hours for stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear’s “Pay Your Age Day”

Riffle’s children Landon and Aria, with her mother Cindy. Photos provided by Elizabeth Riffle.

One end of the Columbiana Mall looked like Black Friday madness on Thursday, with thousands of parents and children all waiting in line for one thing.

Build-A-Bear Workshop held its first “Pay Your Age Day,” where anyone getting a stuffed animal paid their age for the cost of the item. This means, if your five-year-old child wanted a stuffed bear, the cost would only be $5.

Chapin mother Elizabeth Riffle waited in line for over six hours with her mother and her two young children so they could make their own stuffed animal.  Their total time spent in line and inside Build-A-Bear was nine hours.  Riffle said they arrived at the mall around 8:45 a.m.

“I saw this on Facebook yesterday and thought, ‘oh that sounds fun,” she said. “If I would have known I’d have to wait in line for six hours, I wouldn’t have come.”

Around 3 p.m., Riffle said she and her kids were very close to the entrance. She heard the store wouldn’t have enough stuffed animals for a lot of people in line, but was told they were close enough to make it. According to Riffle, parents were getting hostile towards others who tried to cut in line. “There have been so many people cutting, there have almost been fights breaking out,” she said.

For anyone familiar to the Columbiana Mall’s layout, Riffle said the Build-A-Bear line circled through Dave and Buster’s, and traveled as far back as the Hot Topic store, by the food court. She said many people who were too far back in line received a $15 store voucher to use at a later time.

The company released a statement mid-afternoon on their website announcing that stores cannot accept additional guests due to crowd safety concerns.  Riffle said some people left once they found out there wouldn’t be enough stuffed animals past a certain point in line.  However, she was happy her children were ahead enough in line to get theirs.

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