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

Build-a-Bear Workshop

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.

Build-a-Bear Workshop

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.

build-a-bear workshop

This backpack is yours for just £3.  Get it here!

And Yes, I know, I bought a dog, not a bear!

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Claire Kirby

45 Comments on 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Shop in Build-a-Bear Workshop Without Kids

  1. I’m 32 and just built my first Build-a-Bear (actually a bunny) in January. I went during a snowstorm so it wouldn’t be crowded/awkward. I told the lady who helped me sew up the bunny that this was my first Build a Bear experience, because they didn’t have Build-A-Bear when I was younger. She replied that there was a store in a larger mall about an hour from here from the time I was ten. That lead to a rather in-depth conversation about my lack of depth perception, related fear of heights, and how that was treated (effectively) when I was older. Now I hope the experience wasn’t too weird for her. It was great for me. The bunny’s name is Faith, and I love buying clothes for her.

  2. I haven’t been to build a bear since I was 16 (me and my best friend got friend bears idk it was cute), but I want to go again with my future fiancé to make bears as a couple lol. I think it’s so cute to have a bear for big occasions, but 100% I get why you don’t like it. Or more so you don’t like that the experience doesn’t change for adults lol. I did feel silly even at 16 dancing around with the heart, I certainly wouldn’t want to do that now at 24. I personally am a quiet, stick to myself, kind of person and though I still love a lot of childish things I also feel rather ridiculous doing others. But then again even as a child I felt weird dancing around like that. I think it’s just a difference in everyone’s personality and how they were raised etc etc. sorry you got so many rude comments, I think some people just take things a little too personally.

  3. I get the sense from your blog that the real issue was that you were embarrassed to be there due to it being socially frowned upon for adults to participate in anything deemed “immature”. Sometimes it’s fun to let your guard down and just be a kid again.

    • Not at all. I have young kids. I’m often building Lego and playing games. I just like to shop without all the pomp and ceremony and being spoken to like a child. I have no problem with anyone enjoying the experience, but we are all entitled to like and dislike different things.

      • Sure, but your blog title is “Why You Should Never Shop in a Build-A-Bear Without Kids.” No where in your post do you mention you don’t have that problem. The impression I got from this as a new reader was “if you’re an adult like me in a build-a-bear, you should feel weird and, unless you have a child, you shouldn’t be in there.” I’m tired of seeing content that shames adults from doing fun things just because it’s marketed at a younger audience. What’s next? Should I be ashamed that I love riding the Haunted Mansion at Disney World and meeting the characters? Should I be ashamed that I like to watch cartoons? I guess because I’m an adult I should only be having fun doing my monthly budgeting, working, and paying my bills. My advice, make sure that your posts aren’t going to come off as shaming, because this one absolutely did, and, based on the comments I’m seeing, everyone else thought the same. Not trying to be rude, just being real.

  4. I’m 18 I shop there all the time and I love it there and I have to say it’s all part of the experience if you dont like it you dont like it but and I like being able to scan the bear cause I take mine with me alot of times when I stay places also the sign would be a terrible idea cause then a lot of people would use that as an excuse that they are right about stuffed animals being only for kids also I like that their helpful and mines mostly run by girls and I like that cause it’s nice to be able to buy my stuff and get compliments instead off dealing with random people telling me I’m to old

  5. you sound like the kind of person that would go to disney and complain about the costumed characters because you are an adult and fun is not allowed once you have wrinkles

    • I don’t believe that disliking something means I have no fun. I actually think that’s a ridiculous thing to say. We all like different things. Just because my idea of fun differs to your idea, doesn’t make either of us right or wrong. We are just different.

  6. Just because you don’t think adults should have something to cuddle doesn’t mean you are right. When my son is gone for weeks at a time in the summer, visiting his dad, I can’t sleep without one of his build a bears. It’s part of how I cope when he is gone. We also can’t get a real dog or cat because he has severe allergies so this is another reason I love BAB. I can’t have a real emotional support animal but I have BAB. There are many people who also use them to cope and to help with anxiety (yes even as adults!) there are people who have them to honor a lost child, I could go on! MANY adults love BAB. My whole life I’ve always loved stuffed animals. Reading your post made me feel like I should be embarrassed that I have my own collection of stuffed animals that I love and that help me feel better in my struggles. Being an adult doesn’t mean we have to be robots. If we are functioning adults in society who provide for our families we can enjoy BAB without others trying to make us feel bad for it. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for my love of build a bear! And by the way there are lots of people who go without their kids to get them a gift. I always see at least a couple adults without kids when I go but even if it’s for them what is so wrong about that? Some people enjoy collecting them and there is nothing wrong with that. And also I love the cheery disposition of the people who work there! It’s a breath of fresh air!

    • I just want to clarify that I have not said there is anything wrong with adults having bears. In fact, at the beginning of the post I state that I was in there buying one for my Mum. I have not said at all that adults shouldn’t have bears. I have one. The post is about finding the Build-a-Bear experience cringe worthy. Which I do. Doesn’t mean everyone does, and if you enjoy it that’s great.

      • But you’re words do imply you believe something is wrong with it. Everytime you are insulted they are super friendly customer service and not surly teenagers…what does age have to do with the appropriateness of that type of customer service? So should adults not enjoy Disneyland?
        You say it’s not ok to enjoy the BAB experience when you are incensed of if you’d enjoy a part of the experience because you already said it was for your MUM who is 63, saying that the bear is for an adult doesn’t tell the associate you don’t want the experience and it would be very poor customer experience to assume that. Perhaps you would have been more comfortable if you had been honest when you walked in that you were not interested in the experience but on a specific mission to just get the bear as a gift. That is on your lack of communication making your visit uncomfortable for you. And certainly not as the title states “why and adult shouldn’t go to BAB without a kid”. The article is projection of your experience due to your personal beliefs and how those created this experience specifically for you. I have been to BAB to get an item for someone else I politely let the associate know I was not there for the experience, she was receptive and it was a pleasant shopping experience without the pomp and circumstance. And never a need to be negative to any adult who enjoys the experience which is unnecessary to do. Your blog post could still exist without the comments that expressed your personal uncomfortableness doing so as an adult. None of what has been said above was about being a collector of a teddy bear soley but what the entire experience is for some adults. You and I have no right to judge that.

  7. This is extremely condescending and patronizing to the workers at BABW. I am a worker there and there are numerous adults that shop and get bears together. Whether it is a couple on a date or a gift for a loved one. The fact that you insult us and the way we talk is rude. We are centered towards children so you cannot be shocked if we have that type of attitude. I am not going to to talk like I’m in a professional conference in a children’s store. Also I am part of the BABE group on Facebook and many of the people are kind and reasonable. They want to help us collectors get our bears and they are extremely inclusive and welcoming. I wish you would change your mind and try to consider people like our group. If you tried to be part of the group then maybe you would see the love we have. Anyways, enjoy your day.

  8. I run a very active community of almost 3,000 adult collectors. We didn’t find this funny at all. what’s wrong with being 38 and buying a bear for yourself? that’s not funny, that’s fun and enjoyable.

    this article is shameful. buying a toy for yourself as an adult is not.

    • There is nothing wrong with being 38 and buying a bear for yourself. I haven’t said that there is, just that I don’t. Some of us just find the process of buying that bear a tad embarrassing. That’s our own personal experience, which is just as valid as those who love the experience.

  9. I used to work at Build a Bear and we would get adults in alone all the time.
    Buying presents for loved ones, Valentine’s or Christmas gifts, or even building on to their own collection. It’s really not that strange…

  10. What is so wrong with going to BABW as an adult on your own? I am a 20 year old woman and I have gone there to either make a bear for my boyfriend, or even revisit my childhood. You just sound ignorant, and there was nothing “humorous” about this post.

  11. They are stuffed animals. The gimmicks people fall for are so ridiculous. You end up paying 10 times what you would for any other stuffed bear. Fools and their money…

  12. 35 year of guy from the land down under here.

    Have to say my experience was a different story. Lovely staff and a great experience all around. Just engage and have a bit of fun. Enjoy your life.

  13. Hahaha you should’ve taken the bag for jokes I would love to see an adult woman wearing one of those bags lol. This really made me laugh, thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama (sorry this is massively delayed!)

  14. This made me crease – I can barely stomach this place with kids to be honest, so can only imagine the experience without the kids! Hope your mum liked the bear! Or dog x #coolmumclub

    • My name is Adam Clifford Chadwick who loves build a bear workshop characters but listening to what she says I can relate to it I am down’s syndrome man child aged 40 I have to learn not to spend too much money when I am there it’s really annoying when the staff keep saying you weren’t in the line so I find one that is all done up quickly run to the cash point and pay up then draw out some extra cash back to the pub at my parents house

  15. Kiss the heart and make a wish
    I would have wished for Tom hardy in a bath full of gin and tonic… purely selfish
    This is too bloody funny – never do that again claire. Ever
    Thanks for joining #bigpinklink
    X

  16. I’ve never experienced a trip to Build a Bear but with Christmas just around the corner I have a feeling we can’t avoid it for long! This post really made me chuckle, great gift idea. I’m sure your experience will be well worth it x #thelistlinky

  17. hahah love this what on earth ever possessed you to go into that shop without a child as back up!!!???? thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub my lovely xoxo

  18. This made me laugh so much! The convo about your mum taking the bear out and about – hilarious! I’ve never been to BAB on my own it has to be said, but we did go in there a few years ago with the kids when the Frozen thing was going on, and got fleeced for about £100 by the time we left. #FridayFrolics x

  19. Hahaha I love the thought of you kissing the heart and making a wish! This is hilarious and so true! I once went in there without a child, just to browse, and came out with a bear and three outfits. #fridayfrolics

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