Oh Build-A-Bear

The entire Build-a-Bear concept continues to amaze me.  How anyone could have conceived the idea of letting little kids watch their furry friends be stuffed and sewed, and then charge their poor parents twice as much as the stuffed animal is worth is just beyond me.

            Here is the process: a kid is tempted into a Build-a-Bear shop by one of the many smiling, waving employees clutching a finished product.  The child is then asked to pick out which cute and cuddly animal he/she would like to create.  The possibilities are endless; the child could potentially create anything from a stuffed frog, to a little Dalmatian, to a panda bear. 

            Next, the child takes the furry, hollowed-out shell of their future friend to one of the smiling staff.  This staff member will then stick a vacuum nozzle into the limp animal shell and then proceed to pump stuffing into it via a foot pump, similar to that of a bicycle or ball pump.  The stuffing pump overall looks like a cotton candy or popcorn machine crossed with a very large vacuum cleaner.   The employee will have the gawking child stick a little heart into the animal before it is sewed up and knotted by some pre-inserted thread in its back.

            The child then takes the newly stuffed animal to “shower? and “brush.?  There is actually a miniature rubber bathtub and fake shower head, I do not kid.  This step usually takes the longest…

            And then comes the naming part.  There is a gigantic book of cliché pet names such as “Fluffy? and “Snowy,? or for the more creative ones, names such as “Roddy? are available.  And then there’re the ones who go out of the box and create a completely ridiculous name that contains no merits whatsoever.  The child then proceeds to type the name of their newly identified friend onto a “Bear Birth Certificate,? along with the owner’s name and address.  Luckily, they do not require a social security number or mother’s maiden name.

            The child will then proceed to the “clothing area,? where he/she can pick out a pretty ballerina costume or a super-cool soccer player outfit.  This is one of the most crucial steps…this is the determining of their stuffed friend’s identity!  It also tells the social status of the animal…no one wants to hang out with a poor, low-class animal whose owner cannot even afford to dress it!

            And then the scary part.  The unfortunate mom or dad is forced to dish out the plastic for something worth about ten dollars.  In their minds, they are just telling themselves that they bought their child a half hour of pure joy and indulgence, as well as a cute keepsake to take home.  In reality, they just wasted about 30 bucks on short-lived fun and excitement.

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1 Comment »

  1. lais said

    I love your blog !!

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