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Ah, The Delegation From Snob School

, , , , | Right | January 20, 2022

I work at a kids’ entertainment center with lots of different roleplay activities. We’re not like a wide-open area theme park, and everyone has to queue and wait for their time slot for the activities. And because we have lots of different activities and we’re indoors, we do not encourage running as it’s very easy to just crash into someone.

I’ve been having a pretty normal day with kids from local schools who are here for an excursion and behaving relatively well.

Then, an overseas school clearly here on a school trip comes in, and the students start running around screaming like monkeys, scaring all the other kids, and literally pushing their way through.

One of the teachers from the overseas school saunters up to my activity booth.

Teacher: “My students are from a well-known international school from [Country], and the students are excited to be here for their school trip. Is there a separate line for them so that they won’t have to queue and mix around with the local children?”

I literally gave her a blank stare for a moment and then put on my sweetest smile.

Me: “I am afraid not, ma’am. Over here, we encourage all children to be given a fair chance with one another, regardless of where they are from.”

I give a side-eye to their students running and screaming at the top of their voices like they own the place.

Teacher: “Oh.”

I kid you not, she literally walked away lifting her nose in the air.

My colleagues and I lost count of how many incident reports we had to fill out that day because the students from the overseas school were literally running around so much that they either fell down and bruised themselves or banged into other people.

Listen To Children… With A Grain Of Salt

, , , , | Healthy | August 28, 2021

My little sister and I are maybe six and thirteen, and we’re at an activity centre, thanks to a course that helps kids from disadvantaged families have a slightly more “normal” childhood. Usually, our dad drops us off, we spend the day doing fun stuff we don’t normally get the chance to do, and then he comes to pick us up.

Today, we have been dropped off a little early, and we’re playing tig while waiting for the other kids to arrive. My sister trips over a step and bangs her wrist. There appears to be a small cut, and she has tears in the corners of her eyes. The adults responsible for us ask if they need to call our dad, but I overrule them. I tell them it’s just a small cut; she’s being a crybaby and needs to get over it. She’s not even actually crying, just about to. The adults listen to me, but they really should not.

My dad has always been the kind of person who shouts at me whenever I cry, telling me off for crocodile tears and telling me I’m being ridiculous and such, so I’m projecting this onto my sister. My dad is autistic and the sound of us crying always causes him genuine pain, which means he can’t deal with us properly, but we won’t find this out for many years yet.

At the moment, all I know is that crying equals bad, and she needs to deal with the pain without crying like I have been expected to. Also, my sister has an incredibly high pain tolerance due to years of medical issues, so I should have known that if she’s feeling the pain, then the pain is serious. She can barely join in the activities that day because her wrist hurts so much, and one of the other kids makes her a sling from some of the material we have access to today. I just roll my eyes at this and continue playing as normal because, clearly, she’s being silly, and I’m not going to stop my fun to baby her.

Some hours later, our dad returns to collect us. The adults mention to him that she banged her wrist earlier but that it’s nothing to worry about. He removes her makeshift sling and her wrist is swollen. I don’t really get what he’s all upset about, but he takes us to the hospital to get it looked at, which I’m kind of numb to since we’ve been in them a lot, and I still don’t realise that this is serious. They find that her wrist is broken. 

Looking back at the situation now, I’m horrified that these adults just accepted the word of an autistic preteen girl instead of appropriately dealing with the medical emergency, and I’m disgusted at my own attitude towards my sister’s pain. On the bright side, my sister’s wrist is no longer broken, and she hasn’t needed to be in hospital since before the health crisis, though she will need another appointment soon.

This Party Is Just Getting Started

, , , , , | Right | February 20, 2021

To book a kid’s party room in our indoor soft play venue, a customer has to pay a non-refundable deposit. We have a kind of script memorised — since we take face and phone bookings — which mentions it being non-refundable on three occasions, and the customers have to sign a place on the paperwork to say they acknowledge it.

The law is on our side, too, since non-refundable deposits are legal as long as our policies are clear and the amount is reasonable to cover our costs. In our case, it is set in place to secure a room in a time slot, a character costume, equipment, and so on. If a customer cancels, there is no guarantee that the time slot will be filled, etc. We aren’t totally unfair to the customers, though, as the customers can spend the deposit amounts in other ways in the playland.

A couple comes in on a Sunday morning and cancels their party. They’ve booked the biggest package, invited all their guests, and only a few kids can make it. They then demand a refund.

I politely explain the policy and tell them that they can transfer the balance to a card they can use for other services in the playland — entry tickets, food and drinks, a different type of party more suitable for the number of guests they have, a character visit, and so on.

I spend a good five minutes outlining all the options. Apparently, all they hear is, “We’re keeping your money.”

Customer: “That’s not legal! We come all the time!”

I work five-day weeks on rotating days and have never seen them before.

Customer: “We want to speak to the manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: “The owner, then!”

Me: “The owner isn’t here on Sundays.”

Customer: “What’s their phone number?!”

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I know the owner won’t answer anyway because she is away with her family for a large birthday weekend camping, so she has no reception.

It really escalates quickly, with me repeating our policies and their options and the two of them ignoring me.

Customer: “We’re going to stand in the foyer until the owner comes!”

I do explain the days that the owners will be there and suggest that they can call or visit at any of those times, but they just ignore everything I say. While they are cranky and ignoring me, they are mostly just annoying. They aren’t otherwise aggressive or abusive. I don’t want to escalate it by calling the police or creating additional drama for other customers unless necessary, and they are separated from the children playing by security walls, so I try another tactic.

I remind them of their options and that they are only hearing what they want to hear, so there is no more I can do. I cheerfully offer them each a chair, I tell them our closing time, and I walk away to do my other duties.

They sit for a bit, arms folded.

Then, they sit for a bit, arms in their laps.

They pace a bit.

They leave. 

On Monday, I am scheduled off. On Tuesday, I speak to the owner.

Owner: “They came in and asked for a refund. I explained their options. They said you never told them they could spend the money on other things here.”

They happily booked in a smaller party that I had tried to suggest. Any time I saw them in the future, they looked at me cautiously for half a second and then were super nice.

This Author And Her Children Are Very Blessed

, , , , , | Friendly | November 5, 2020

I am very, very large chested. I also just gave birth. I am at a playground with both my children.

The youngest gets hungry and I pull out a cloth to cover up. I cover the breast first and then start feeding, making sure no skin is visible as I like to be discreet.

Another mother is sitting in front of me. Her son suddenly asks:

Boy: “Mom, what are those balls the lady has?”

His mother turns beet red.

Mother: “Those are her breasts. Like Mommy’s but… uh… larger.”

Closing Early And Opening The Floodgates

, , , , , , | Right | February 22, 2020

(I am a manager of an indoor children’s playland. I have the discretion to close early if we have not had any customers for a length of time. Weekends are always hectic with kids of all ages, but on weekdays we are mostly busy in the mornings with toddlers and often quiet in the afternoon, especially in winter with Daylight Savings. One Tuesday afternoon is particularly quiet. We had everyone pile out fairly quickly by 2:00 — probably for the school run — and we were left empty. I make the call at 4:30 that we’ll close at 5:00 and hang a sign on the door at 4:45 notifying customers. At 5:05, with everything locked up and the sign still on the door, I stand by my car, waiting with my colleague whose mum is late picking him up. Into the car park comes a car that parks next to mine.)

Colleague: “Who’s that?”

Me: “Oh, that’s not your mum, then?”

Colleague: “No.”

(A woman and her two- or three-year-old toddler come up.)

Woman: “Are you closed?”

Me: “Yes, I am terribly sorry but we have closed at 5:00 pm tonight. We will be open again tomorrow from 9:30 am.”

Woman: “But you can’t close early. He wants to play.”

(The kid looks like he doesn’t have a clue where he is and is preoccupied with a balloon.)

Me: “I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience but everything is already locked up and my colleague here is just about to be picked up. I won’t be able to open up again on my own.”

Woman: “I know [Owners] and they will fire you for closing early. They let my son and me play until close all the time.”

(This kid must have been minus-five-years-old when he met them!)

Me: “Again, I am sorry but [Owners] have not been the owners here for seven years, though they were the ones that created the rule to close early and the current owners agree with the logic behind it.”

(At this point, my colleague’s mum arrives but he stays with me, presumably in case there are any issues. Seeing the woman’s commotion, she, too, gets out of the car to see what’s going on.)

Woman: “You’re missing out on business here. You’re going to go out of business.”

Me: “Thank you for your concern, but as I mentioned, I am following protocol and we are now closed, so I will certainly be very happy to see you and your child another day for a play.”

Woman: *now yelling at us* “Tell me one reason why you can’t open. You should be open. I am a paying customer. I am right. You are wrong. [Owners] will fire you. You need to open now. My son is distraught!”

(He isn’t, though he looks upset by his mother shouting.)

Woman: “Why are you closed? Open the d*** playland now. My son is hungry and we want some chips. You’re not logical. You’re a b**** and you just want to go home early! Your manager will hear about this. This is illegal. I want free entry! I want free chips! You’re going to go bankrupt soon!”

Me: “Lady, stop screaming at us in front of your poor kid; you’re scaring him. We are closed. I was originally sorry that we inconvenienced you but I am no longer, as you’re being completely rude. I am the manager; I make the call if we close early and the correct, current owners approve this. I don’t need to explain myself to you, but since you enjoy going around in circles with no comprehension, nor manners, I’ll lay it all out for you. We had an unusually quiet afternoon and it made no logical sense to stay open any longer. Unless several customers came in, it wouldn’t cover the pays, let alone everything else. We are a business. We’re not a charity. The prices are what they are to cover rent, insurance, electricity, water, gas, food, drinks, staff, maintenance, software, play structures, cleaning, advertising, and a much longer list of items that are all behind the scenes to make us what we are today. Now, if you would like to come back on another day, when we are open, and you are polite and considerate, then we would absolutely love to see you and your son again. And if not, then I wish you a good evening, for we are all going home. Should you require any assistance leaving, I might be able to conjure up the security team we also have to pay for, to help you leave.”

(She stood there speechless for a minute before getting back into her car. The next day was my rostered day off so I didn’t have to deal with her expected wrath but, as it happened, she never called.)