Walk into Heather Trachtenberg’s South Windsor home and you’ll find just about any toy imaginable, including a few of the popular stuffed animals from Build-A-Bear workshop. But she said the shopping experience to get those toys left her frustrated with the company.
“It was very busy and the lines were very long,” Trachtenberg said.
In July, Trachtenberg was one of many who faced long lines during the store’s “pay your age day” event. Ultimately, she decided to leave.
“I think it’s horrible. I don’t ever want to go there again.”
To solve the debacle, Build-A-Bear Workshop handed out vouchers to each customer in line. But those who left could sign up for the store’s bonus club to receive a coupon for $15 off. Trachtenberg said she never saw anyone giving out vouchers.
“They were never walking up and down the line with vouchers. We never saw anybody with vouchers,” she said.
Trachtenberg pointed that out to the store manager at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in The Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester when she called and questioned it. She said management informed her that club members can log on to their accounts and get a voucher to use at another time. Then, she told us, she discovered the vouchers all had the same number on them.
Trachtenberg contacted Build-A-Bear’s corporate office and was told club members could only use one voucher for each membership account. She said she signed her husband up for a Build-A-Bear account to get a second voucher to cover their two kids, but claimed the company would not allow her to use any additional vouchers for her friend’s children who were with her that day, telling her club membership holders had to be present.
“Why should I have to bring all four adults with me when they have accounts and were willing to give me their account numbers,” said Trachtenberg. And said she ended up buying the bears for her own kids with the two $15 vouchers and spending even more money. “I think that they probably should’ve just honored the $15 off coupon that we could use all at once or even just let us pay our age,” she said.
After she tried to call and send multiple emails to corporate to complain, Trachtenberg said she got nowhere.
“We just get form letters back saying they’re experiencing a high volume of emails and we may not respond,” said Trachtenberg. So, Trachtenberg contacted NBC Connecticut Responds.
Build-A-Bear’s Workshop Director of Communications and Giving Beth Kerley told Responds:
“A great guest experience is a top priority for our company, regardless of the day or event. We are working to reach out to Mrs. Trachtenberg and look forward to speaking with her directly.”
As a result of Responds, Trachtenberg said Build-A-Bear Workshop offered her two $20 gift cards. And that’s something Trachtenberg can certainly bear. “You’re amazing. You answered me right away,” said Trachtenberg.