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Will Not Be Party To Your Demands

, , , , , , | Right | May 8, 2017

(I work at a place that hosts parties, period; nothing else. We have two play areas where the parties start. After 90 minutes the groups move into smaller rooms for food, cake, and gifts. The staff cleans the play rooms quickly and then another party moves in. We can accommodate up to 10 parties per area, per day, so we keep to a very tight and strict schedule. This call occurs too often in some form or another but this lady was probably the worst. It is Thursday.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [Party Place]. How can I help you today?”

Caller: “We’re going to have a party there Saturday at 2:00 or 2:30.”

Me: “Okay, what is the child’s name so I can pull up your party plan?”

Caller: *gives name*

Me: “I’m sorry; I don’t have a party under that name. What’s your name? I can look it up that way, too.”

Caller: *gives name*

Me: “I’m not finding that name, either. When did you book the party?”

Caller: “I’m booking it now!”

Me: “Oh, sorry for the confusion. We are completely booked for this Saturday. Would you like to try for another day? Let me look for openings.”

Caller: “What do you mean, you’re booked?”

Me: “We have parties scheduled for every available slot on Saturday. I have one opening on Sunday at seven pm and a few during the upcoming week on weeknights.”

Caller: “No! We’re having the party on Saturday. His birthday is on Saturday! Who would have a party on Sunday night?”

Me: “I’m sorry; we have no openings for Saturday.”

Caller: “Why not?!”

Me: “They have all been booked by others.”

Caller: “When?!”

Me: “We generally book our weekends three to five weeks ahead of time.”

Caller: “Nobody told me that.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. When did you call before?”

Caller: “I’ve never called before. So how do we get a party there for this Saturday?”

Me: “I can’t book a party for you for this Saturday. I have one spot open for next Saturday at eight am. The following Saturday has two openings at—”

Caller: “THIS Saturday!”

Me: “All the time slots for this Saturday are booked.”

Caller: “Who’s having a party at two?”

Me: “We keep our guest list private.”

Caller: “We’ll just share with them.”

Me: “All of our parties are private.”

Caller: “Call them and tell them I want that spot.”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “Give me their number and I’ll call them.”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “I need to talk to your manager.”

Me: “That would be me.”

Caller: “This is stupid! My son wants a party there on Saturday.”

Me: “I understand that. However, there are no time slots available for Saturday.”

Caller: “Well, why the h*** not?”

Me: “It would seem many people wanted parties here this Saturday and 20 people actually booked one.”

Caller: “WHEN?!”

Me: “As I said, our weekends generally fill up three to five weeks in advance.”

Caller: “Well, that is just stupid! You’ve ruined my son’s birthday! We’ve sent out invitations!”

(This line fills me with dread. We have a pretty decent system to get each party group from the lobby, into the proper check-in room, and then into the play rooms. If a random group begins to show up, they will throw a wrench into the system and we will have to monitor the check-in rooms closely to make sure non-party guests do not slip in.)

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t know why you would send out invitations to a party you had not booked. There is no way your guests will be able to attend a party here this weekend. If you’d like to book for another day, I’ll be happy to look at the calendar; if not, we have nothing further to discuss.”


(She hangs up. I think, as I always do when folks use that line, “Hmm, which one of us actually knew your son’s birthday before today?” Although not on the schedule, I come in on Saturday just in case. From 1:30 to 5:00 we have random people come in asking where the party is for a child of the same name the caller had mentioned, so I can only assume it is her guests. Since they don’t come en masse, it is not all that difficult to explain that there is no party and get them out of the building. A few ask if their kids can “just play” and I explain that we book private parties only and have no open play areas for public use. Our parties are only two hours long so the time span has me even more confused about this woman. She clearly had no idea what we offer. Sunday comes. I often stop in on Sunday nights to get the weekend accounts settled. I am in my office reviewing receipts. The last party is winding down and the staff are getting things ready for closing when the shift manager comes in.)

Shift Manager: “Um, there’s a lady in the lobby who says she has a party booked for seven pm. It’s not on the books. The staff for party room A is still here, though.”

Me: “Oh, for… I think I know who it is. I’ll handle it. Ask the staff if they can stay. It is unlikely they’ll have to. I’ll cover for anyone who has to go home.

(I go out to the lobby.)

Me: “Hello there. Can I get your na—”

Person: *clearly the caller from a few days before* “We. Are. Going. To. Have. A. Party.”

Me: “We don’t have anyone on the calendar. When did you book?”

Person: “I was told there was an opening on Sunday at seven pm. Well, it’s Sunday at seven pm!”

Me: “It is actually 7:20. Our staff for Party Room A has not left so we can accommodate you. How many guests will you have?”

Person: “What does that matter?”

Me: “We charge based on occupancy. If you are expecting fewer than 15 kids, the smaller party package is $175. If you are expecting more, the larger package is $250.”

Person: “WHAT?! That’s outrageous! I’m not paying that!”

Me: “That’s the cost.”

Person: “How much pizza do we get for that?”

Me: “None. Pizza is extra and it has to be ordered in advance. We cannot offer pizza tonight.”

Person: “This is crazy!” *to the two kids standing with her* “Just go play back there. This is crap.”

Me: “Ma’am, they can’t go back there. We’ll need to gather all your guests together for a safety video first and then everyone will go back together.”

Person: “Everyone’s not here yet.”

Me: “We’ll wait for a little while.”

Person: “Some aren’t coming until eight.”

Me: “We can show latecomers the videos when they get here but if they come at 8 they won’t have much time to play. You’ll be going into the party room at 8:30 for cake and gifts.”

Person: “What kind of cake?”

Me: “We don’t supply the cake.”

Person: “What do you supply? This is crap! We are going to play until 10 if we want to. This is crap.”

Me: “Ma’am, we have a system. Our parties are two hours long. Guests play in the play room for 90 minutes then move into the party room for half an hour. That is all the time the party lasts. Now, how would you like to pay?”

Person: “We aren’t paying until it is over!”

Me: “No. You didn’t book this party. We are willing to accommodate you. Members of my staff are willing to stay longer than they were scheduled. I am willing to assist with this party. But it will be paid for before anyone steps through the check-in door.”

(The lady storms over to the check-in door, which is a half-door with a door knob. It also has a small latch on the inside, easy to reach but not visible. It is there so no one inadvertently wanders through. She grabs the knob and pushes but does not stop moving so she slams right into it when it did not open.)


Me: “Yes, ma’am, as soon as we take care of payment.”

(She grabbed her kids by the hands and stormed out. The shift manager stepped to the door and locked it. I called mall security and went into the party room for the remaining group whose party was supposed to end in about five minutes. Security got there and the lady was screaming in the parking lot. They got her moved on pretty quickly and by the time the other party kids were leaving, there was nothing to see. We locked the doors, turned off the front lights, and gathered in a party room for sodas. We heard knocks on the door but ignored them. It took the staff about an hour to get everything cleaned and shut down for the night. During that time, there were many knocks on the door. None were answered.)


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