Gurnee Shop: ‘No Appointment, No Sitting On Santa’s Lap’

GURNEE, Ill. (WBBM) – A Hawthorn Woods man says bureaucratic red tape kept his 5-year-old son from a visit with Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shop in Gurnee.

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Santa was sitting right there. In plain sight. Laughing and talking with other boys and girls.

But as Ron Carlson’s 5-year-old son watched other kids telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas, Carlson’s son was told: “No appointment, no sitting on Santa’s lap.”

“We were standing in line and the word was given that you can’t see Santa and we’re like, what? And they said, you don’t have a reservation, or a card or something.” said Carlson.

Carlson says his son thought Santa just didn’t want to see him. He says he e-mailed Bass and got a bureaucratic response.

“If I were the manager I might have said, ‘hey, why don’t you stop back and we’ll give him a candy cane or something.'” said Carlson.

At other stores, Macy’s for example, if you want to see Santa, you just stand in line, which is what Carlson says he tried to do at Bass.

  • the TRUF

    I also thin Deb Janulis is a psychopath and is talking to noone with her comment. I say she needs help and to be institutionalized

  • Nancy A.


    • Steve S

      Nancy do you really think they want everyone to go else where? They do this to draw people in..

      Boo Hoo for him, just another guy looking for 15 minutes of fame because he messed up.

      Bass Pro Shop does a great job putting a lot of kids through and they don’t preasure you to buy some crummy picture or yell at you for using your own camera rather than buying overpriced mall pictures.

      You have it wrong

      • Alanea E

        When in your life have you ever made appointment to see Santa, unless you are making flight arrangements to the North Pole. Nobody should send any child away from Santa again what happened to the true meaning to quote Miracle on 34th St. “Make a buck make a buck” Bass pro should be ashamed of themselves for putting commercialism in Christmas

      • Steve S

        Alanea E you have it wrong!

        You get a timed ticket and wait in line, that’s it PERIOD. It is no different that just waiting in line but instead it is a place holder. What do you want, screaminhg kids waiting for an hour or show up when you it’s your time.

        Bass Pro has it right, they turned away no one, I’m sure they gave the guy the option for another time following the rules like everyone else who waited for their turn.

  • Jen M.

    When you arrive at Bass Pro, the wait is a few hours long. They give you a card with a return time on it so you don’t have to stand in line the whole time. To just show up and essentially cut in line is rude to say the least. The pictures at Bass Pro are free, hence the long lines. It is a fantastic deal that they offer, but the price you pay is the wait. If you can’t follow the rules like everyone else, go pay for your picture elsewhere.

  • Steve S

    Ron Carlson you are a goof. There is no way in the world you didn’t realize that you needed a timed ticket to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shop. The Bass Pro Shop does a GREAT job with their Santa. Don’t blame them because you blew it and needed an excuse to tell your wife that you messed up and your kid couldn’t see Santa.

    Bass Pro Shop has it posted everywhere that you need a ticket. Didn’t you notice that every other parent in line had a timed ticket that said 10:30 or 11:00?

    Shame on CBS for making this news. Maybe your son can ask for a brain for you for Christmas..

  • Larry

    I had my daughter take a picture with Santa at Bass Pro Shop and the people could not have been nicer.Hey CBS check out your sources!!! This guy Ron is a clown.His 15 minutes is over.

  • Cindy Claus

    No one has done a better job than Bass Pro has been doing when it comes to creating an incredible experience for children and their families visiting Santa Claus at Christmas time! First, Bass Pro offers FREE photos that are very high-quality, and inserted into a sturdy, keepsake folder. Bass Pro not only welcomes children to take photos with Santa, but ALL family members and PETS too! They even allow customers to use their own cameras! Try getting away with that at a mall! Secondly, Bass Pro has constructed an array of games, activities and crafts which again are ALL FREE! They were even giving away FREE Santa bands on specific nights and in some stores… FREE KIDS MEALS in their restaurant.

    The last time I took my daughter to a mall to see Santa, we stood in line for a good hour and ½. Try to make young children stand in line doing NOTHING for that amount of time and see what you get! Kids were screaming, crying, throwing tantrums and parents were losing their patience! Not to mention, think of how many children were standing there in wet or dirty diapers by the time they made it up to the front of the line! Not a pretty scene. When it was finally our turn to visit Santa we so pressured to quickly get on Santa’s lap, take the photo and hurry to the register with our wallet. The Santa was so cold and impersonal. There’s hardly any conversation between Santa and any of the children. Isn’t that what they will remember most? I really couldn’t blame the Santa entirely. Look at the environment he had to work in all day. Not fun! I was extremely disappointed and couldn’t believe we waited so long for that.

    You don’t have to deal with that at Bass Pro. Bass Pro Santas are extremely jolly, and really spend time conversing with the children and their families. If you don’t want to wait in line, then don’t wait until only days before Christmas to see Santa. Santa arrives at Bass Pro the first week in November. The lines are very minimal.
    I can only believe that Ron Carlson of Hawthorne Woods who took his son to the Bass Pro in Gurnee, IL is the type of person looking for attention and 15 minutes of fame.

    Merry Christmas to all!!!!

  • Mary Anne

    I want to know why WBBM thought this was news worthy! It’s this guy connected with someone there? I went in to Baaa Pro Shop just to pick up a gift card and found out you needed a reservation to get a FREE picture with Santa (again — they are FREE and this guy is complaining). I think he is trying to get something for nothing out of the store, or again knows someone in the news department. Maybe that should be the news story — why was this put on thie air!

  • RICK


  • Darlene M. Calderone

    Shame on you, CBS Chicago/Channel 2 , for reporting this story without getting your facts straight and showing Bass ProShops in such an unfavorable light. No one does a beter job in providing a wonderful, entertaining and convenient “Santa Experience”. It’s organized for all the fun without the interminable wait in line with young children. Signs are posted from the front door on in, letting everyone know that a time-stamped pass is required to see Santa, and where to get it. This is done on a first come, first served basis. Even when you get in line at your appointed time, there are signs indicating that this previously issued pass is required prior to lining up. This is just another unfortunate incident of someone who can’t follow directions or thinks they should be put ahead of others who have patiently waiting and followed the process.

    • Grace Ray

      Bass pro shops tries very hard to include the whole family in outdoor activities, and if you ask me I think they do an amazing job ay it. If all of you people with complaintswere smart, you would come in november. I am sure they open it that soon in the year to give everyone a chance to see santa. Quit complaining and try to spread some christmas cheer. I am sure the associates try their hardest and don’t appreciate being yelled at by ungrateful people. Bass pro shops offers all kind of fun things in the summer as well as the holidays and it is all free. Stop complaining and be grateful for what they offer. Maybe if ron carlson didn’t yell and scream and throw a fit like a child, he would have been accommodated. I will definitely be going back next year with my while family!

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