This is a free country, or so I’m told. While that doesn’t mean your entitled to lifesaving healthcare without going bankrupt, it does mean that if you own a hot dog bar in Las Vegas, Nevada, you can host an unofficial meet-and-greet with world famous cartoon pup Bluey and piss off hundreds of children and their parents in the process.

Dirt Dog Las Vegas did exactly this earlier this month when it advertised a special Bluey-themed hangout on May 11 featuring the hit Disney+ show streaming on TVs, free face painting, games, desserts, and most importantly Bluey herself waving to kids and posing for pictures. As local broadcast affiliate FOX5 reports, the event exploded on Facebook with thousands of RSVPs, only for each family who actually showed up and waited in “lines out the door” to be met with the crushing disappointment of some dude in a Bluey tracksuit wearing a printed tarp hood on his head.

“I was mad,” one little girl told FOX5. “We could see his beard. He looked unexpected.” One mother told the news outlet that the kids were unsettled by the obvious imposter and some were visibly upset or crying on their parents’ shoulders.

The event’s Facebook page quickly filled up with warnings. “DO NOT GO! I repeat DO NOT GO!” wrote one person. “I got there and there were moms already coming out saying how bad it was,” wrote another. “I went over and saw the employees that have onesie on!!!” Photos showed an average-looking sports bar filled to the brim with kids while the Bluey in question stood behind a folding table. Some parents shared pictures of proper Bluey costumes the bar could have rented while one lone individual commented, “It was a free event. Stop whining.”

“We are truly sorry this event wasn’t the expected experience,” Dirt Dog posted on Facebook in the aftermath. “We hope to repair our relationship with all of you.” The comments were eclectic. One woman posted a before and after picture of her daughter to illustrate her soul-crushing disappointment. Another wrote, “I just hope the staff member that was in that onesie all day got extra compensation for the nightmare that was not his fault.”

How did things go so wrong? Dirt Dog management told FOX5 it often puts on themed events like this that are staffed by “regulars” who volunteer dress up and bake goods for the day. “We expected like maybe 50 to 60 people—not in the sense of like the whole city coming out,” Taj Wilder, a spokesperson for the restaurant, told the TV station. “Just now knowing who Bluey is, we would have planned ahead and would have had security.”

It’s all a bit reminiscent of the AI-generated Willy Wonka fiasco in Glasgow earlier this year, minus the sad Oompa Loompa who ended up going viral after everyone fell in love with her following a no-nonsense tell-all appraisal of the event. As a parent myself who has on one occasion completely failed to manage the expectations of my children, I can sympathize with both the parents dealing with toddlers addled by the horror of witnessing imposter Bluey, and the food service workers unexpectedly thrust into the brutal gauntlet of a hundred families trying to kill a few hours before nap time during a Saturday lunch rush. For real life.


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