Build-A-Bear CEO apologizes for ‘Pay Your Age Day’ mayhem

NEW YORK — The CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop has apologized for the company’s “Pay Your Age Day” debacle that caused crowds and chaos across the U.S. on Thursday.

“There was no way for us to have estimated the kind of impact those kinds of crowds” would have, CEO Sharon Price John said on The Today Show on Friday. “It far surpassed anything we ever could have known. It was beyond anything we ever could have imagined.”

The one-day promotion promised customers across the U.S., U.K. and Canada the ability to pay their current age for any make-your-own furry friend. Bears are priced from $6 to $75 on the company’s website.

Thursday’s event was so popular that crowds quickly overwhelmed malls, and Build-A-Bear announced it was shutting down the promotion by 10 a.m. Those in line were given $15 vouchers to return at a later date.

John described the chaos at “heartbreaking.”

“I’m a mom of three,” she said. “I know the most disappointing moment is when a kid is super excited and something doesn’t happen. … There was no ill intent. Our objective at Build-A-Bear is to make kids happy.”