Parents have slammed the chaotic scenes today as they faced huge queues at Build-A-Bear stores.
The toymaking workshops launched their first ‘Pay Your Age Day’ in stores across the UK today.
Shoppers could choose any soft toy and pay the same amount as the age of the child they are buying for, meaning they could get bear which usually costs £20+ for as little as £1.
Parents began arriving outside the store in the intu Metrocentre at Gateshead early this morning to pick up their gift.
But by lunchtime the queue had been closed, as people were told they faced a wait of up to five hours.
There were also long queues at the small store inside Fenwick in Northumberland Street, Newcastle.
In order to take part in the promotion, parents had to join a free Build-A-Bear bonus reward scheme, providing a valid email address and name.
But queues quickly built up as bargain-hunting shoppers queued to claim their cut-price toys.
LittleLearnerUK tweeted: “If you’re planning on going down to your nearest ‘Build a Bear.. Pay Your Age Day’ then maybe think again! This is the Metrocentre in Gateshead - apparently queue is 5 hours long!”
The shopping centre itself tweeted at 2pm: “The Build A Bear event has been an extremely popular one and due to this higher-than-expected demand, we’re sorry that the queue for is now closed & no one else will be able to join the line. This is to ensure there are enough bears available for those in the queue.”
Disappointed parent Peter Nixon replied: “Really understandable considering the queues but that’s very unfair on those young children who are still at school and might’ve been coming after. “I was bringing mine after school but obviously not now, pleased I didn’t tell them first or I’d have some explaining to do!”