Monday, July 14, 2008

A Build a Bear Boondoggle

This past Saturday I took six ten year old girls to the Build A Bear Workshop in The Mall in Columbia. The occasion was my daughter’s tenth birthday celebration. We started with a cookout in Ellicott City and then trekked over to the mall for fun and games at the Build A Bear Workshop.

Please note that when I say “fun and games” my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek.

That is not to say that it wasn’t fun and games for girls. They had a blast. I am not sure what it is with girls and stuffed animals but it does seem that, for my daughter and her friends at least, they just can’t seem to get enough of them. My deal for them was that each girl could pick out whatever animal they liked and then they could add up to 15 bucks worth of accessories.

In case you have never been in Build a Bear, the “bear” accessories are where they make the real money. Still, with a 15 buck allowance the girls could have fun shopping for an assortment of things. At some point though, each and every one of them pulled me aside and asked if they could just have just fifty cents more.

I very quickly became the Build a Bear Bad Guy. I held firm to the allowance. No exceptions. It is easy to sound tough in retrospect but in reality it was very hard to refuse their “pretty please” entreaties. This of course only served to prolong the shopping experience as they all tried to get as close to that number as they could without going over. At least, I told myself, I helped them work on their math skills. We were there for an hour and a half. At the checkout I really didn’t have the energy left to make sure everyone towed the line on the budget. The total came to just shy of $250.00. Frankly, I was beat and at that point I was on Build a Bear overload and was just happy to wrap it all up. My mind was already anticipating a nice big glass of red wine when I got back home.

I will say that the store staff was great and they went out of their way to make the experience fun for the girls. That is what really mattered anyway.