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.

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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.”

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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.)

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Drunk On The Rules

, , , , | Right | September 26, 2019

(The soft play area I work at recently started serving alcohol — with some VERY strict regulations. We have signs up, but obviously, customers don’t read them. I have just taken a food order from a customer when she asks about cider, which I am allowed to sell because she has ordered an adult-sized meal and is visibly over 25.)

Me: “Have you ordered alcohol here before?”

Customer #1: “No, this is my first time here.”

Me: “All right, so, I’m going to give you this—”

(I hand over a non-slip tray with her cider, a glass, and a plastic sign which our cleaning staff look out for to know there’s alcohol about.)

Me: “And basically, if the alcohol is left unattended at any time, it will be taken away.”

Customer #1: “That seems fair.”

Me: “That’s… the politest anyone’s ever been when I’ve told them that.”

Customer #1: “Really?!”

(Roughly thirty minutes later, I am taking drink orders from a small group of parents.)

Customer #2: “I’d like a hot chocolate, please, and what would you like, dear? That isn’t beer; I don’t think they sell that here.”

Me: “We do, but only with a full adult meal and ID.”

Customer #3: *ignoring me and pointing at the fridge behind me* “Yeah, they do! I’ll have a beer then.”

Me: *more insistently this time* “We only serve alcohol with a full adult meal and ID.”

Customer #3: “Oh, what?! What’s the point of selling it, then?”

Customer #2: “Wouldn’t you like something else, instead?”

Customer #3: “No, I won’t bother.”

(He sulked off muttering to himself and I finished the transaction politely. Sorry, parents! If we’re not allowed to get drunk while we’re looking after your children, you’re not allowed to, either!)

 

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Jedi: Samurai Of The Galaxy

, , , , , | Friendly | September 27, 2018

(Overheard at a playground…)

Mother: “Are your children wearing traditional Japanese kimonos?”

Japanese Mother: “No, they’re Star Wars costumes.”

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