Mom Who Planned the 'Cruelest' Birthday Party Yet Doesn't See Where She Went Wrong

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Storefront of a Build-A-Bear Workshop in a mall.
QualityHD/Shutterstock

Hoo boy. A viral post on Reddit is getting people FIRED UP, after a mom shared the story of a recent Build-A-Bear birthday party her child attended that basically ended with a room full of devastated elementary schoolers. In fact, she was left so shocked and baffled by what happened, that she took to the Interwebs to ask fellow Redditors what they thought of the whole situation.

  • The party started off fun at a local mall. The kids ate cake and pizza in the food court, before heading to the main attraction: a Build-A-Bear Workshop.

    Now, as anyone who's ever been in the presence of a kid 10 or younger knows, Build-A-Bear is basically like a mini-Disneyland. Or better yet, it's like the kid version of Target -- just one foot in the door, and you basically want everything in sight.

    So needless to say, the pint-sized party guests were psyched.

    "The invitation said each kid (about 8 total) would get to make a bear," the Reddit thread explains, "and I just assumed they would get to take them home, since that is what happened at another BAB party I went to. Me and my husband even pitched in about $30 as we know these things can get expensive."

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  • They certainly can, which is why it was nice of the parents to chip money in for their child's bear. But it's also why they were shocked by what happened next.

    "We get to the store, and the kids go wild getting their animals and accessories," the post continues. "As far as I know, the parents didn’t really put a limit, but I made my daughter stick to just a standard dog with a shirt, which about half the parents did as well."

    Things were going pretty well, the poster explained, until they left the store ... and all hell broke loose.

  • Once they were outside, the birthday girl's mom announced that the kids needed to hand over their bears -- and give them to her daughter.

    That's right; the party guests' personalized creations, which they had all worked so hard on and were excited to bring home, had to be forked over, one by one as an extra gift for the birthday girl.

    "Cue the upset and angry kids," the poster wrote. "They all disappointingly handed over their animals, and friend wasn’t even being nice about it either."

    Not all of the kids did so willingly, though. 

    "Another little boy didn’t want to, and friend ripped it out of his hands," the poster recalled. "I probably should have said something, but I didn’t. The other parents seemed pretty baffled too."

    I mean, yeah. How cruel is it to entice kids into one of their favorite places on Earth, let them pick out and customize a toy of their choice, and take it back before they even get to play with it? And just to add more salt in the wound, make them watch as one kid gets to take them all home with her?

    WHERE IS THE HUMANITY??

  • In a later update, the poster shared that another parent confronted the mom, Karen, who didn't see what the big deal was.

    Her rationale? "We wanted [our daughter] to have a special animal decorated by each of her friends."

    Hmm ... OK. But why not just tell everyone that before the party started? The kids still would have been bummed to go to Build-A-Bear and walk out empty-handed, but at least they wouldn't have expected to be getting a bear for themselves. Plus, they probably would have been decorating the animal with that in mind. 

    According to the poster, the other parent pressed on, saying: "I was just wondering why the kids didn’t get to keep their bears. I even pitched in a little bit of money, assuming the bears would go to the kids."

    The response that came back though, was ... well, not exactly what they were expecting.

  • "Well I didn’t have enough money for each of the guests to make their own, that would get pretty expensive!"

    Ugh, Karen -- did you really just say that? Aside from that being a little insensitive, it also makes zero mathematical sense, because paying for the bears to go to the other kids versus her own would be the same amount of money.

    She did at least offer to give the parents' money back, but by then things were pretty awkward. Plus, she added that she didn't really see what the problem was.

    "Well the kids were forced to give away their new creations, obviously they are going to be upset about it," the parent reiterated. "I also don’t see why your daughter needs all these animals."

    But apparently, by this point Karen was getting a little PO'd, and walked away without responding.

    (Seriously -- that's a whole lotta bears.)

  • On Reddit, posters were quick to jump in and agree that the whole thing was kind of screwed up.

    "Parenting level: Joan Crawford," wrote one user. (Though I'm not exactly sure this ranks up there with "no wire hangers.")

    Others couldn't get over the greediness of it all.

    "All the parents probably also bought this child a gift," wrote another. "What a sh*tty thing to do. Way to make your daughter's party memorable for all the wrong reasons!"

    Many agreed that if that was going to be the parents' plan, it should have been stated up front -- and maybe even written on the invitations.

    "It gives you an opportunity to decide, 'Hmm, these people sound sh*tty. We're not going to this party,'" wrote another user.

    And at least one Redditor noted how upsetting this kind of thing really is for a bunch of young kids. "Those kids will be 30 and talking about this birthday party," the person wrote. "You don't forget this kind of thing."

    Nope -- you certainly do not. But hey, who among us doesn't have randomly scarring childhood memories that we still can't seem to shake? For some of us, it's getting our precious Build-A-Bears ripped from our hands at a birthday party; for others, it's getting sick on the tire swing at recess and throwing up in front of the super cool sixth-graders (not that I'd know *anything* about that). 

    Childhood is full of tough moments, but somehow we survive.