Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
4 September 2018
Build-A-Bear pressures you to fork over cash
Let’s take a moment and chat about the biggest rip-off there is, the Build-a-Bear workshop.
This Labor Day, I gave my son and daughter-in-law a morning break and brought my two grandchildren to Build-A-Bear. I had passed the store several times and figured, “What the heck, let’s give it a shot with the grandkids.”
One hundred bucks and two entry-level stuffed animals later, I knew exactly what the shop was about — my cash. I should have known as much what with the company’s recent “Pay Your Age” fiasco.
If you’ve never been (and I urge you to never go), Build-A-Bear consists of several stations where kids can do just as the name suggests. You begin by selecting a bear, stuff it, clean it, give it an outfit and receive a birth certificate. Thing is, along the way, you have a bear specialist who works on selling each possible add-on. And there are an infinite amount of those.
“Sadly, this Labor Day, Build-A-Bear employees duped me into buying bear sounds, expensive accessories, and shit-ton of knick-knacks to save face in front of my grandchildren.”
Build-A-Bear banks on the guilt of parents
I could have made it out of Build-A-Bear with a relatively minimal bill. I spotted low-cost add-ons, which wouldn’t have broken the bank. Except, the specialist kept encouraging high-level expenses (like a bear voice, or accessories such as shoes and a hat) in front my grandchildren. This sales process preys on the weakness of parents (and grandparents) and the desires of children. Who was left feeling like an ass by saying no to an eight-dollar bear growl? Me. Build-A-Bear preys on that.
Who wants to feel duped? It’s a lesson I learned years ago as a member of Columbia House.
Sadly, this Labor Day, employees duped me into buying bear sounds, expensive accessories, and shit-ton of knick-knacks to save face in front of my grandchildren. Maybe I am weak for this. Probably. But Build-A-Bear shouldn’t have put me in that position. I was going to buy their product anyway.
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