Huge crowds, 'safety concerns' force Build-A-Bear to shut down Pay Your Age event

WATCH ABOVE: At malls across the world, parents scrambled to take advantage of a deal. Build a Bear offered customers a chance to "pay their age,” but many families ended up being turned away. . Kim Smith has a look at the chaos.

Build-A-Bear Workshop was forced to close lines for its stores in Canada and the U.S. on Thursday during its Pay Your Age promotion.

The July 12 event was billed as the company’s biggest in-store deal ever. A customer’s age is the amount they pay to make a stuffed animal.

Late Thursday morning, the company posted an alert on its Facebook page saying it had to close all lines due to safety concerns.

“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns.

“We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores.

“We understand some guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.”

Watch below: Build-A-Bear said it had to shut down stores and turn away some customers in the U.S. and Canada after thousands of people showed up for the chain’s “pay your age” promotion on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

People in line at the West Edmonton Mall location reported waiting for three hours before the line was limited.

“Then you get committed,” Abbie Murison said.

“You’ve stayed for so long and then you get closer and closer. By the time we got to the ropes, we’re like: ‘We’re good.’ It was really long — really long. But worth it. The kids are so happy now.

“There’ll be lots of wine therapy after this,” Murison laughed. “I’m going home for wine therapy.”

Another Edmonton customer said the store let 150 people in and then sent the rest home with coupons.

Large lineups and big crowds were evident at locations across North America on Thursday.

This was the scene outside a Vancouver Build-A-Bear location on July 12, 2018 during the Pay Your Age promotion.

This was the scene outside a Vancouver Build-A-Bear location on July 12, 2018 during the Pay Your Age promotion.

Richard Zussman, Global News
The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

Kim Lawson, CJOB
The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

Kim Lawson, CJOB
The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in West Edmonton Mall, July 12, 2018.

The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in West Edmonton Mall, July 12, 2018.

Courtesy: @RunninOnCaramel
The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in West Edmonton Mall, July 12, 2018.

The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in West Edmonton Mall, July 12, 2018.

Courtesy: @RunninOnCaramel
The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

The lineup outside the Build-A-Bear store in Winnipeg's Polo Park Mall, July 12, 2018.

Kim Lawson, CJOB

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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