Author Topic: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear  (Read 2936 times)

Junkenstein

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Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« on: February 03, 2014, 09:48:02 am »
For reasons I have yet to fully understand, I spent a significant chunk of time yesterday in "Build-A-Bear".

If you have been fortunate enough to escape this concept, here:
http://www.buildabear.co.uk/

I lasted about 10 minutes before my wife had to remove me. The reasons follow:

1- Upon entering the first, and I mean the fucking first thing I see is a giant My Little Pony. Which looks exactly like the one from that picture. It's being examined by a man in his late 30's. Unlike most patrons, this man does not appear to have a child with him. I managed to suppress the laugh to a snort.

2- The concept of the place is unsettling. You are surrounded initially by the skins of empty stuffed toys. You hand pick your 3rd world made  cuddly toy and queue to allow someone to fill the skin with whatever crap it is they use for this. Asbestos wool or something I think. Looks like it at least. They insisted it isn't. Anyway, this whole procedure takes a surprisingly long time for the size of toy you are actually getting. The main objective here is for the filler to upsell you the various outfits, voiceboxes and other assorted add-ons that can be had for very reasonable prices each but end up at quite alarming numbers when added together. The stealth money extraction is handled quite nicely.

3 - Now in possession of your stuffed toy, you are directed towards various stations where you can dress and add various accessories. By this point you should be acutely aware that you're basically in Walt Disney's idea of a sweatshop. Every tag ID's the produce as made by countries with questionable labour laws and rights. This is where the horror started to kick in for me. Kids making crap to send around the world for other kids to assemble. Around the same time as this realisation, I noticed I was being moved gently but forcefully to the exit by my wife.

4 - Outside, being bathed in day-glo horror, I was kind of numb. That many primary colours will do that to a body. That is, until I heard my wife pay for the memento of child labour rights violations.

I suspect that this place is actually a minor outpost of hell trying to break through to our reality. All other explanations seem lacking.

ETA- My wife is now threatening to never take me shopping again. I pray to all gods that this threat is carried out.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 10:56:17 am by Junkenstein »
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 12:17:58 pm »
I love the idea of Build-A-Bear, but will never pay the prices for one.
I walked into a store once and immediately realized that I could get basically the same stuff from the craft store for less.

The one I went to was very absent of other customers at the time as well. You could see the disappointment on the staff faces when we walked out, we must've been the first people to come in that day.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 12:39:09 pm »
I like the concept, but fuck those prices.

It is my duty as a parent to stop the the weed basket of the east from bringing its variety of societal ills.

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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 05:04:09 pm »
I love the idea of Build-A-Bear, but will never pay the prices for one.
I walked into a store once and immediately realized that I could get basically the same stuff from the craft store for less.

The one I went to was very absent of other customers at the time as well. You could see the disappointment on the staff faces when we walked out, we must've been the first people to come in that day.

Must be commission sales.
On fucking teddy bear parts from China.  :x
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 05:08:10 pm »
I disapprove of Build-A-Bear for the same reason I disapprove of Mongolian restaurants.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 05:15:15 pm »
And that is...?
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 05:15:54 pm »
I think the concept is creepy as fuck. No price could be low enough.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 05:16:43 pm »
And that is...?

When I pay my good American dollars for something, I don't expect to have to build it myself.  Nobody fucking warned me about Mongolian joints.  GREAT.  Roger in a PUBLIC food preparation frenzy.  AT WHAT POINT DID THIS LOOK LIKE A GOOD IDEA?

I PAID MONEY.  WHERE IS EDIBLE FOOD?
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 05:21:38 pm »
And that is...?

When I pay my good American dollars for something, I don't expect to have to build it myself.  Nobody fucking warned me about Mongolian joints.  GREAT.  Roger in a PUBLIC food preparation frenzy.  AT WHAT POINT DID THIS LOOK LIKE A GOOD IDEA?

I PAID MONEY.  WHERE IS EDIBLE FOOD?

Little kids in China will make shitty toys for a bowl of greasy noodles and a dorm, but americans will PAY to do it.
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Junkenstein

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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 06:06:21 pm »
I love the idea of Build-A-Bear, but will never pay the prices for one.
I walked into a store once and immediately realized that I could get basically the same stuff from the craft store for less.

The one I went to was very absent of other customers at the time as well. You could see the disappointment on the staff faces when we walked out, we must've been the first people to come in that day.

Must be commission sales.
On fucking teddy bear parts from China.  :x


From what I could see of the pricing structures and the way the product was sold (always talk to the kid, never the adult for example) I would be amazed if the staff were not of some kind of commission structure. That's another layer of horror. Try and think of a reasonable way to explain to a kid in a sweatshop that kids on the other side of the world will do their job for fun and the salesperson will make more in commission from one sale than you will in the week.

This is fucking madness. I honestly tried to think of something redeeming about the place for balance but I've got nothing.

At best, it's a money suction device of questionable ethics.

At worst, it's a cynical cash grab working on insane margins exploiting the idea of what "creative" means. No, picking from 3 options is not creative. It's not any more creative when there are 30 options. You're picking your favourite, this is not a creative exercise. It's also where the worst of the internet picks up their fucktoys so I can see no value here at all.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 06:08:26 pm »
Hmmm.

Build-A-Realdoll.

There's money to be made with that, I think.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Junkenstein

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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 06:11:49 pm »
Holy shit.

I think we've struck gold.

If you want to get this rolling, I'll front cash money, right now.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 06:14:46 pm »
My initial response turned out to be incredibly labor intensive and meaningless to people younger than, oh, 30 or so.

Instead, you get this.

There was a toy Back In The Day, where you had bas-relief pieces of plastic of a head, torso, and legs of a woman.  There were many varieties. Long hair, short hair, halter top, blouse, skirt, slacks. You put these pieces in a frame of molded plastic, placed a sheet of paper on top, and then dragged a crayon over it, resulting in an "original" fashion design.

But what you couldn't do was sketch. You couldn't say, "the blouse is nice, but I want something off the shoulder."  You took what was given.


Insert some metaphor about what's wrong with kids today has always been wrong with kids today.

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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 06:40:31 pm »
My initial response turned out to be incredibly labor intensive and meaningless to people younger than, oh, 30 or so.

Instead, you get this.

There was a toy Back In The Day, where you had bas-relief pieces of plastic of a head, torso, and legs of a woman.  There were many varieties. Long hair, short hair, halter top, blouse, skirt, slacks. You put these pieces in a frame of molded plastic, placed a sheet of paper on top, and then dragged a crayon over it, resulting in an "original" fashion design.

But what you couldn't do was sketch. You couldn't say, "the blouse is nice, but I want something off the shoulder."  You took what was given.


Insert some metaphor about what's wrong with kids today has always been wrong with kids today.
I remember those! Always thought they were fun if at a friends house (never wanted a set of my own) but got boring really quick. Like in 5 minutes quick.
Inevitably we'd end up taking the rubbings and change the patterns on the shirts and skirts. I remember that I once made a flower pattern into a colony of jellyfish.
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Re: Experiences with Retail: Build-a-Bear
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 06:49:10 pm »
I prefer to allow my son to be creative and independent with his use of asbestos wool.

The concept of build a bear seems like an incredible waste of time. The indulgance of a culture for whom giant box stores that are FILLED TO THE BRIM with every kind of plastic dream imaginable is simply not enough. Our children must have customized, wholly unique, special snowflake representations of their innermost desires, in cuddly animal format.

Build A Bear is a macro version of what it sells, it is the concept that your every whim should be met with an eternal plastic grin incarnate.

My son's brother had one. He was interested in it for, oh, a whole five minutes.
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