First off, let me say that going to Build-a-Bear Workshop with kids is a truly lovely experience. It’s magical for the small people and they love it. However when you take the kids out of the equation it can be a very different experience.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would I go to a Build-a-Bear Workshop without my kids, or indeed any other kids that I may have on loan? Allow me to explain…
When Big was a toddler he made a bear for my Mum and we recorded him saying “Love You Nana.” Now of course forever preserved in the push of a bears paw. My Mum’s birthday was coming up and we thought it would be nice for Small to give a bear to Nana and record him saying the same thing. With his speech delays it makes it all the more special to record him saying something. I knew that the likelihood of me getting him to say it on the day in a busy store was slim to none, so I recorded him at home on my phone. I then escaped for a spot of shopping without the small people and commenced with operation ‘Nana’s birthday present’.
So now you know why, here’s why Build-a-Bear workshop without kids makes me cringe. And it all comes down to one thing. The experience doesn’t change whether you are a child or an adult…
5 Reasons You Should Never Shop in Build-a-Bear Workshop Without Kids
1 The staff are all really friendly
Why is that a problem? Well, when you are used to being served by surly looking teenagers who would rather chat to their co-workers than provide you with any level of customer service, it’s very disconcerting. I’m used to wondering how long it took them to draw those dark hairy caterpillars that I believe are meant to be eyebrows, and if they know how ridiculous they look. But in Build-a-Bear workshop the staff all (none of whom are yet of an age where they need to worry about anti-wrinkle cream) smile and talk to you in a sing song voice. I even witnesses some of them singing and dancing. All the eyebrows were perfectly normal. It was weird.
2 You will be the only person in there not accompanied by a child
It feels very strange. They should have a sign or something. You find yourself wondering if you can pretend you are with the family in front who all seem to be having a jolly time, and stand a bit closer to them in the queue, just so you don’t look like such a weirdo.
3 You will have conversations like this…
Sing Song Voice: “Hello! Is this bear for you?”
Me: “No.” I’m 38 and a half. I’m not in the habit of buying myself cuddly toys. The last three purchases I made for myself were a julienne vegetable peeler, some anti-wrinkle cream and a bottle of Prosecco.
Sing Song Voice: “Who’s the bear for today?”
Me: “My Mum.” *Cringe
Sing Song Voice: “That’s lovely. Just to let you know I’m going to pop this barcode inside the bear, and if you scan it and that computer over there and register him, it means that if your Mum ever takes him out and looses him, the person who finds him can take him to any Build-a-Bear Workshop where he will be scanned and reunited with his owner.”
Me: “Erm Ok.” You heard me say my Mum right? My MUM. She’s not really in the habit of taking cuddly toys out and about with her. I really don’t think there is any chance of him getting lost unless it’s behind the sofa.
Sing Song Voice: “And what are you going to call this little guy?”
Me: “Ummmm I’ll let my mum decide.” Please God make it stop. Just stuff the damn bear already.
3 Would you like to kiss the heart and make a wish?
Please don’t make me do this.
4 The birth certificate
Ok I skipped this bit, because I didn’t think my Mum would be bothered, but last time I did this with my kid there were more questions than my tax return!
5 You will also have conversations like this…
Another Sing Song Voice: “Can I interest you in a Build-a-Bear bag to carry your bear home in today?” *Turns to model the backpack she is wearing with a bear’s head poking out the top seemingly looking at me and laughing. At me.
Still Me: “No Thanks.” You are kidding right? Can you see I am a Grown up? An ADULT? Why would I want to carry it around like that? I’m going to look at Bra’s in M&S next and I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate for the bear. Please just put it in a bag and take my money already.
This backpack is yours for just £3. Get it here!
And Yes, I know, I bought a dog, not a bear!