mom fun

10 Reasons Build-A-Bear May Be A Toy Sweatshop

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I feel as though I’ve recently undergone a parenting rite of passage designed to test my strength of character and will: a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop in my local mall.

We went because I believe in the power of toys to erase parental guilt. My daughter has been exceptionally well-behaved during what we’ve been calling “Hell Summer 2: The Hellening”, and it makes me feel bad that instead of chasing ice cream trucks or weaving lanyards she’s been sitting quietly in the house, apologizing to me when she needs food.

So out of the blue, I decided that we would visit Build-A-Bear, something she’s wanted to do for a long time. I went expecting an orgiastic hellscape of consumerism with screaming children and pissed-off parents.

What I witnessed instead was much, much worse.

You guys, I think Build-A-Bear might actually be a toy sweatshop. I managed to bravely take some pictures documenting the experience, and while the images may be grainy, the truth is crystal clear.

1. Mass-Produced Goods


When you first walk into Build-A-Bear Workshop, you’ll notice something horrifying: barrels–LITERAL BARRELS–of animal corpses, waiting to be stuffed and fluffed. Try not to scream. Your child will need to pick out a corpse, and instead of a nice and cheap North American Brown Bear, they’re going to want something exotic (read:expensive) like a zebra or blue bunny. This will be their “new friend”.

2. Inhumane Working Conditions


The “employees” at Build-A-Bear have, sadly, been stripped of their humanity. They all go by the name Bear, not unlike the Unsullied from Game of Thrones. Once we picked out a corpse, a tired-looking, bedraggled woman approached.

Her: Hi! I’ll be your Bear today!

Me: Oh my goodness, you poor thing.

Her: Thank you for giving me the op-bear-tunity to help you!

Me: You don’t have to put on a brave face for us. Do you want to sit down?

Her: Sit down? Whatever for? It’s a cele-bear-tion!


3. Dangerous Machinery


Once you’ve met your Bear, it’s time to take your corpse to a big machine with churning innards that is innocuously labelled “heart stuff”. Don’t be fooled! That machine has a massive spike on one side. It’s terrifying.

4, Workplace Injury Is Rampant


Turns out, that massive spike is used to disrespect the lifeless body of your “new friend”. Seriously. They insert it into a massive hole in the back of your animal and then taxidermize it with “heart stuff” while you try not to vomit at the goriness of it all.

5. There Might Be A Little Organ Trafficking, Too


I don’t want to shock you, but that bin full of red stuff? It’s actually hearts. Actual stuffed animal hearts, harvested from god knows where, and they want your child to pick a heart and kiss it. It might not be strictly “sweatshop” but it’s definitely shady.

6. Child Labor


This is the point where your “Bear” leaves you, and then guess whose turn it is to get to work? That’s right: your innocent, underaged minor child. Your child will be directed to “dressing stations” where they are supposed to use their little underdeveloped hands to finish the job.

7. Unsanitary Environment


After your “new friend” is uncorpsed and sewn up, you’re expected to wash it. Actually wash it. Why weren’t these clean beforehand? And I don’t want to disgust you, but everyone is expected to use the same tub.

8. Manifestos


I’m sure you’re wondering how they even sucker people into “working” for Build-A-Bear, and I’ve uncovered the sinister methods they use. Brainwashing. Like all communist enterprises, there are “Bear-isms” posted everywhere, all propaganda designed to keep you under the boot. Stretched across the wall in huge letters reads the eery phrase:

“You Are Not Born A Bear, You Become One.”

I don’t know what that means, but it sounds sinister.

9. Forged Documentation


Do you know what happens when you’re finished with this abomination? You forge a document, a “Bearth Certificate” if you will, while everyone turns a blind eye.

10. Fuels An Insatiable Culture Of Consumption


The total cost of this experience (not counting human dignity and countless families torn apart, that is) was $68.20. This is the price of my child’s innocence. Well, her innocence, A Disney Palace Pet Berry The Bunny, a plastic tiara and scepter, rainbow flats, sequin halter dress, frosty icing scent, and yellow paw brush. And we were lucky! The woman who built a Limited Edition My Little Pony Collection Zecora with a silver cape, roller skates, furever wand, very berry scent, build-a-sound, heart beat, silver bangles, tortoiseshell glasses, and bearkini for her daughter (who was no where to be seen) spent well over $100.

“She has a whole collection of these things!” She told me, laughing maniacally, madness creeping into her eyes, as all trace of lucidity left her. “We just love this place!’

Poor, poor thing.

(Images: Mine, bitches. All mine)