staff and news service reports
updated 12/2/2011 12:29:50 PM ET 2011-12-02T17:29:50

It is supposed to be the season of goodwill, but Santa’s elves were verbally abused by parents at a Christmas display after a holiday offer on discount website Groupon ended in disappointment.

Almost 2,000 families turned up to the event in York, England, after receiving an email voucher that promised train rides around a winter wonderland, according to a report in the city’s daily newspaper, The Press.

When they discovered no train, and long lines to get into the area, some parents began shouting and swearing at a female worker who was dressed as a Christmas tree.

The situation, last Saturday, became so hostile that one of the elves resigned, the report said.

Organizer Penny Ward told the newspaper: “It was a complete nightmare. Children were crying and upset. One man even verbally threatened the lady who is dressed as a Christmas tree. One of the elves was so upset that she has resigned.”

Story: 102,000 cupcakes! Small bakery burned by Groupon

She said the event was only able to handle 40 children an hour, but staff had worked beyond their normal hours and without breaks to try to ensure children did not miss out.

Groupon apologized for the error about the train but said the offer voucher was sent out with Ward’s agreement.

Ward was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Last week it was reported that a bakery owner was forced to make 102,000 cupcakes after being swamped by customers taking up her cut-price Groupon offer.

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