BuildABear.com is GREAT
Written: Dec 31, 2006 (Updated Jan 26, 2013)
Pros: nice selection of customizable bears; not too expensive
Bottom line: Their site helped us build a great looking bear at a fair price which was delivered in a hurry..
I had originally bought a $45 online gift card for a bear for my wife’s helper for Christmas. That original order proceeded very smoothly. The site was easily navigable and checkout was smooth. The code was sent through email, so it could be used right away.
We had expected that she would use it on an upcoming trip to Navy Pier in Chicago, where Build a Bear has one of their mall stores. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, so, on Friday, December 29, she and my wife and I surfed over to Buildabear.com to build her bear by mail order.
The web site is bright and well laid out, offering options for shopping (build a bear online), party (schedule a party at one of there stores), buy a gift card and nominate someone huggable (a program they have for offering scholarships to students doing extraordinary community service)
We selected shopping and went to work.
There were a number of great choices for bears, including the standard bear, limited editions, and licensed bears for pro baseball, football, basketball and hockey. There were other animals, too, including the penguin from Happy Feet, Frosty the Snowman, a couple of puppy options and some World Wildlife Fund friends. We chose a cute limited edition 17” “pink kisses for you” bear, a cute pink, with a heart one of her rear paws for $18. We also noticed a number of interesting limited editions, including Winnie the Pooh, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, one to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness and several others. Lower cost options are available, including a few available at base prices of $10 and $12. Some of the Disney and other licensed bears cost more.
We selected the bear and set to accessorizing. The first option is sound. There are a number of choices of cute sounds, all of which can be heard on the web site. We chose the 6 in one best friend sound, which has a number of cute sayings, including “I love you”. That sound was an additional $5.
Next was the clothing. We selected a happy monkey outfit for $12.50, white pom pom boots for $8 and a khaki hat for $5. Then, we were ready for checkout.
Certain clothing comes with embroidery options at a price. You can also customize a sound by paying $8 and then recording it over the phone, up to 10 seconds.
Checkout was very easy. We had it sent to my home because we thought it best. My address was already on file from when I bought the gift card. We applied the gift card and choose FedEx ground standard delivery, which they were showing at 5-8 days. Sales tax was applied. The balance was $15.48, which I paid by MasterCard, which was accepted at 11 am on Friday, December 29. I told my wife and her helper that we might get it in a week.
Then, the REALLY amazing thing happened. I got a tracking number on Friday night, showing the bear had been shipped from St. Louis. Well, I figured maybe we’ll get it on Tuesday. By Saturday morning, it was already at the FedEx hub in my area of North Suburban Chicago, showing it would be delivered that day. It came to my house at 10am, meaning that I received it in less than24 hours, without expedited shipping.
Yes, the timing had a lot to do with it, not only the timing of a 11 am order but also figuring they had staff dealing with post-Christmas issues and probably not that many bears to build. Still, they got it out very quickly and FedEx did their thing.
I learned my lesson about paying for expediting several years ago when I bough a hard drive from Buy.com, paid for 2 day shipping and then got the unit in 2 days, after it was shipped from a distribution center 20 miles from my house. The shipper stored the unit for a day so they could make the 2-day delivery promise. I think it was UPS.
The bear is beautiful. Our helper really liked it. It did not come dressed, but he enjoyed doing so. The box functions as a house. Inside the box, along with the bear and accessories were a heart, a birth certificate, a “paw pass” to visit the stores and a “find a bear” id, so lost bears can be returned to their owners. I think this is based on a bar code.
Start to finish, this was a great experience. I imagine that it’s fin to build a bear in the stores, too. We got a great looking bear for a not unreasonable price, considering the ability to customize it. A slightly smaller (15”) dressed bear from Vermont Teddy Bear would cost at least $20 more with shipping included.
Build a Bear also offers a lifetime guarantee for repairs, etc. So does Vermont Teddy bear, but their warranty excludes accessories. Build A Bear’s doesn’t.
Thanks for reading. God bless!
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