A TOY shop promotion day descended into chaos as children were left in tears after hundreds of parents were forced to queue for hours before being turned away empty-handed.
Police were called after up to 1,000 shoppers converged on the Build-A-Bear store in Ocean Terminal hoping to grab teddy bears at bargain prices. But many children were left crying after being told they would not be able to get bears for as little as a £1 or £2 as part of a Pay Your Age promotion. The bears normally sell for up to £52 each.
There were similar scenes at the store in Livingston, as well as at outlets across the UK and America. The sale descended into chaos as shop staff were forced to abandon the promotion because they couldn’t keep up with demand. There were even reports of outbreaks of violence in some cities.
One Ocean Terminal shopper told the Evening News: “It was mental. There were kids everywhere and the queue tailed right back to the car park. There must have been over a thousand people there.”
Frustrated shoppers were turned away after the queue was cut off around 1pm. Staff warned those who hadn’t been served they could still be waiting when the shop closed at 7pm. Staff from Marks & Spencer handed out free bottles of water and sweets to the waiting hoards.
Mum-of-four Tanya Quigg, 37, planned a day trip to the Edinburgh Build-A-Bear store from her home in Auchtermuchty with her two youngest sons. The pupil support assistant was angry when staff closed the store after she waited for five hours. She said: “We were right at the front of the queue when a member of staff came out and started roaring at people. It was the most horrific thing I have ever experienced.”
Tanya’s son Thomas, 12, who has autism, was so distressed that he retreated into a corner. She said: “It was ridiculous – people were rattling the shutters after they came down. It was so badly managed.
“Having four kids, the bears are not something I could normally afford. I spent a fortune on tickets [to get to Edinburgh] and buying Lego so I could get my sons away from the shop.”
Police Scotland confirmed they had received calls about the “disturbance” at the mall.
Another angry customer took to Twitter after being turned away from the Livingston store. She said: “Very disappointed with Build-A-Bear today. Told by Livingston store we could no longer join the queue at 9.45am. Four-year-old is very disappointed.”
Similar scenes unfolded at Glasgow’s three Build-A-Bear stores. The huge demand saw the retailer issuing a statement saying: “Based on the unprecedented response to our Pay Your Age Day event we are experiencing significantly longer than expected lines and large crowds. Local authorities are requiring us to limit the lines due to safety concerns. We understand this is disappointing, we are working to address the situation.”