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(147 Posts)
Jenz9 Tue 04-Mar-14 12:04:18

I recently went to a soft play area in St Albans (Am I allowed to name it?). I paid just under £12.00 to get in and then with minutes spent another £15.00 on food for my husband and older daughter. When it came I asked for a spare plate for my youngest child as she has milk and soya allergies and I had some safe food for her I had brought from home.
As I sat down a loud bossy worker came over in a very loud voice telling me she could not eat food that had not been purchased there. I explained about her having allergies and she said that it didn't matter and she couldn't eat it unless it had been bought it. when I asked again what I could feed her as she had to eat she replied she didn't know but couldn't eat the food I had brought. I asked again what to do and she just kept repeating we could not eat at the premises.

I had to take my daughter outside whilst my husband and daughter ate at the table (I didn't go fully outside due to wet and rain but fed her by the door where it was muddy and people kept knocking us as they came in. When my husband enquired further what they provided for children with allergies as nothing was on the menu with allergy information she said 'WE DO NOT CATER FOR CHILDREN LIKE THAT AND DO NOT PERTAIN TO'. when asked what we should do she said. Her final suggestion was that we eat before we come out.

Surely all soft play should be about inclusion and involvement?
I am writing to the manager and will let you know how I get on.

OrangePixie Tue 04-Mar-14 12:07:00

All of these soft play places have such a rule. But I would expect them to make an exception for allergies OR provide allergy info on menus and some allergy friendly foods. Given they did neither, YANBU.

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 04-Mar-14 12:07:26

I just wouldn't go back. There are other soft play places that aren't run by arses.

Felyne Tue 04-Mar-14 12:08:24

Definitely write to the management. That's terrible, what a jobsworth that worker was.

hazeyjane Tue 04-Mar-14 12:08:28

YANBU - that is bloody awful! Glad you are complaing.

We took our dcs to a soft play party the other day, dd1 i allergic to wheat, and ds is disabled and will only eat certain foods - I called the soft play beforehand (they normally specify only the soft play food to be eaten on premises), and they said that it was fine for ds to eat a lunchbox bought in for him, and I could bring in dd1's food and they would cook it for me if i wanted, they were great, and i don't see any reason why they can't all be as understanding.

Sammie101 Tue 04-Mar-14 12:08:55

Personally I think that is awful!

Firstly the way she spoke to you sounds rude and unacceptable. She works with the public and should learn to have manners with every single customer.

Secondly if they do not have food suitable for a child that has allergies yet you bought food for someone else, I don't see the harm in your daughter eating food you had prepared for her.

Does this soft play have a twitter or Facebook page? If they do I'm sure a very public post about how disappointed you were and how rude the member of staff was will be more effective than writing to the manager (but you should still do that!), they won't want such bad publicity and I hope they would rectify that with a strong apology.

fluffyraggies Tue 04-Mar-14 12:09:57

YANBU. Whilst i think it would be U to expect soft play centers to provide food to suit special dietary needs, i dont think it would do them any harm at all to allow their customers to provide their own food in circ.s like this.

good luck with letter OP

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Tue 04-Mar-14 12:10:12

Don't name it. The thread will just be removed if you do, so there's no point.

I hope the manager gives you an explanation of why the person you dealt with was rude to you.

Although there is a very good business reason why places want folks to not bring in their own food instead of buying it there! you'd think they would either cater for, or allow for allergies.

Hopefully they might rethink that.

OwlCapone Tue 04-Mar-14 12:11:52

In future, simply take your own plate too and don't involve the staff at all smile What idiots they are.

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Mar-14 12:14:18

I think I would have asked to speak to the manager.

You can't blame the workers if they're just following orders.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Tue 04-Mar-14 12:15:04

That's really awful.

I brought drinks to a soft play near us, was told I couldn't let kids drink them, so put them away and went to the bar. Wasn't served for 15 min so went back downstairs. Dc's asked for drinks as it was a hot day, so I gave them their drinks and started to pack up. I was then shouted at by the bar manager as I had 'been told', and she refused to answer why I wasn't served at the bar.

I left and left them a negative review everywhere I could find online. The manager contacted me, apologised, and gave me a voucher for £15.

I didn't use it as I have no intention of going back, but I think if you complain to the manager you will definitely get an apology. Like me, whether you ever go back is a different matter.

cookielove Tue 04-Mar-14 12:32:14

I often use to take a nursery group to one in St.Albans, I think it is probably the same one, and we basically bring loads of snacks then purchase toast and drinks from them we also bring plates e.t.c we found that once they got an order the turned a blind eye to us adding to the children's food!

I would complain to the management, allergies is something that needs to be catered for or you are allowed to bring your own. I would also complain about the way you have been spoken to.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 04-Mar-14 12:34:48

That is disgusting, I would complain to the management and never go back. I think in future call the places beforehand and enquire whether you can bring a lunchbox, avoid those that say no.

pinkdelight Tue 04-Mar-14 12:45:56

She was rude, but it is a standard rule and they are businesses not social enterprises so I fear the notion that they should be all about 'inclusion and involvement' is a bit idealistic. If a business has a limited menu that doesn't cater for your family, you can take your custom elsewhere. YANBU to complain though. Hopefully the manager will be more customer-centric.

SackAndCrack Tue 04-Mar-14 12:53:02

Id complain. BIG time,

Where to even begin? They expect your baby to sit their foodless? What if she went to a party that do food, does she simply stand hungry?

This ISNT correct, the woman is wrong.

Id be complaining and asking for a years free membership for my children because no way would I spend money there again.

Unless she left, anyway.

SackAndCrack Tue 04-Mar-14 12:56:19

Pinkdelight are you actually being serious?! Seriously, serious? hmm

So what happens when the little girl is invited to a soft play party? She has to turn them down?

Would you have the attitude everywhere she went? At every party she went to that was catered for by the company?

Why should she have to not be allowed to go to those premises during a meal time? She didnt ask to be born with allergies.

The company is WRONG and isnt it illegal to discriminate?

JeanSeberg Tue 04-Mar-14 12:57:36

they said that it was fine for ds to eat a lunchbox bought in for him, and I could bring in dd1's food and they would cook it for me if i wanted, they were great

That's a refreshing story hazey. smile

SackAndCrack Tue 04-Mar-14 12:58:01

I bet if it was your daugter you wouldnt just accept discrimination in places like that.

"Your child cannot eat here. She needs to leave."

"Certainly! You are not being unreasonable at all!"


HauntedNoddyCar Tue 04-Mar-14 13:01:40

Given you had bought a decent amount of paid for food then I agree she was being unnecessarily harsh.

saintmerryweather Tue 04-Mar-14 13:02:02

Discrimination? Really?

FryOneFatManic Tue 04-Mar-14 13:03:19

Wouldn't the Equality Act apply here? An allergy is a physical impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect, which is the definition in the act. And a parent providing their own allergy-free food and expecting to be able to eat it inside would be a "reasonable adjustment" would it not?

I think this worker was wrong and a complaint should be made.

Hullygully Tue 04-Mar-14 13:07:35


They really said that? I might mention it to the local paper if I were on the receiving end.

Joules68 Tue 04-Mar-14 13:08:26

Maybe it's for insurance reasons? There must be some health and safety behind it?

mummyofteens Tue 04-Mar-14 13:09:02

my goodness, this is horrendous behaviour. my DS, now nearly 21, has a dairy and egg allergy and i always had appropriate food for him when we visited such places, particuarly for children's birthday parties, and it was never an issue. Obviously this is quite a long time ago now, I would have hoped that people are now even more aware of allergies and their implications than they were when my son was first diagnosed in 1993? sad

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Tue 04-Mar-14 13:09:30

This link examines the impairment question and quotes a case, but as yet there isn't settled law.

Much better to pour a bucket of shit over their heads on TripAdvisor.

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