CHICAGO (CBS) — A store that typically brings smiles to children’s faces left some parents growling after a promotion Thursday.

Long lines of people at Woodfield Mall wanted to get into Build-A-Bear Workshop for the “Pay Your Age” event.

Overwhelming crowds showed up to Build-A-Bear stores around the country that many had to close lines early for safety measures.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports families waited in snaking lines that spilled into malls and out onto streets as they waited for the bargain.

“It’s crazy. I wasn’t expecting it to be this long,” said Adriana Garibay of Romeoville.

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Normally you can stuff and outfit your bear for $25 or more. Thursday’s promotion stated the bears cost as much as your child’s age.

Thursday, Michelle Coffey from Westmont says she waited three hours to pay less than $10 for a pair of bears for her children.

“I kind of had an inkling, but I wasn’t sure it was going to be this bad. I don’t think Build-A-Bear knew it would be this bad,” Coffey said.

She was right. Lines at Oak Brook Mall, Woodfield Mall, and Water Tower Place were proof that the stores did not anticipate the huge turnout. The promotion was so successful nationwide, the chain feared running out of bears and had to cut it short, the company said in a statement.

People came out in the thousands at Build A Bear stores around the nation for the “Pay Your Age” promotion.

“Local authorities are requiring us to limit the lines and crowds due to safety concerns,” a Build-A-Bear spokesperson stated.

Bridget White from Chicago’s South Side was among one of the late-comers given a $15 discount coupon. She says she did not mind.

“I’d rather come back and get a discount than stay in this line for three or four hours. That’s crazy,” she said.

“This just feels like apple store grade crowds. Is Build-A-Bear releasing an iPhone?” joked Roger Combs of LaGrange, passing by the long lines.

For those who walked away with a cuddly new friends, the wait was bearable.