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Mother left bad review of my business because of how we treated her 3 year old

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user1480264682 Sun 27-Nov-16 16:48:44

I run a soft play centre in a small town. It closes at 6pm weekends but sometimes it closes at 3:30 for private hire parties.

Last Saturday it closed at 3:30pm. We did put that it would be closing
On facebook and on an A4 piece of paper outside the door of the centre. I We put the notice up three days before the early closing.

At 3:14pm one of our workers saw a young mum and her 3 year old arrisve excitedly for soft play. She took his coat and shoes off and handed over her £4.00.
The worker told her that the centre would be closing in 15 mins.

She was upset and said that her son would not understand why he couldn't go In and she had travelled half an hour to get here.
She told him that soft play was closed and he didn't understand so she asked if he could play for 15 mins. My worker said that if she wanted to play for the remaining 15mins she would have to pay full price. She said she couldn't afford £4.00
For 15 mins as she would have to occupy her son for the remaining hours afterwards so would need to take him somewhere else.

She said okay and was nice not annoyed. She never said she was upset at the time. She then left with her son who started screaming crying saying he wanted o go in soft play and she had to pick him up screaming crying. The worker didn't see or hear him crying but another who was outside did.

The mother has since gone on to write a bad review on out facebook page. She used to visit our centre up to three times a week and she has said it was very mean not to let her clearly disappointed son play for 15 mins as he was so excited to play and at his age did not understand it was closed. She also said she was willing to pay just not full price.

She has said she will never be returning and her son cried for an hour on the way home trying to run back.
I would have done the same as this worker and she is not going to be in trouble for this as you have to pay full price no matter what time you arrive.

AIBU? It may have been nice to
let him play for 15 mins but shouldn't be expected. In hindsight we may have considering the circumstances but we feel it shouldn't be expected.

AndShesGone Sun 27-Nov-16 16:51:17

I think you shouldn't have charged her confused

Can't believe you'd try and gib a loyal 3 times a week customer out of £4 for 15 minutes

This is a reverse?

Crisscrosscranky Sun 27-Nov-16 16:52:20

I think YABU to charge full price for 15 minutes but I also wouldn't expect to be admitted 15 minutes before closing time at anywhere like that. I would politely reply to the post explaining the circumstances and perhaps offer her a free play session?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Sun 27-Nov-16 16:52:29

I think charging full price for 15 minutes was wrong. Would it really have killed you to let a 3 year old in for 15mins?

I also think closing a place to GP completely for private parties is a bit off tbh.

OneThingAndThenTheNext Sun 27-Nov-16 16:52:33

I think YABU, sorry. I wouldn't check a Facebook page before visiting somewhere that usually shuts at 6 on an ordinary weekend - not a bank holiday or something. I think for the sake of 15 minutes you could have let him play for free, but he still would have been upset at leaving then so any which way I imagine the child would be distressed.

user1480264682 Sun 27-Nov-16 16:52:38

The worker hasn't not seen her before as she only works weekends. She didn't know the woman or the fact her son was crying.

Edhilaria Sun 27-Nov-16 16:53:13

I think it was a bit mean. Could you not have let them in for 15 mins?

FayKorgasm Sun 27-Nov-16 16:53:48

Well it was her choice to stay and pay.

JenLindleyShitMom Sun 27-Nov-16 16:54:14

I think closing like that on an ad hoc basis is going to land you in this situation again and again. Not everyone is on FB and people don't see the sign on the door until they arrive with their already excited kids. It's a shit way to do it TBH. Couldn't you offer private hire after 6pm or just make Sunday private hire day?

MatildaTheCat Sun 27-Nov-16 16:54:24

If she is a regular I think it would have been a goodwill gesture to give him a few free minutes. Any 3 year old would be devastated to travel there and then get turned away. Now you've lost her as a regular and potentially more future custom.

You might be right in the literal sense but it isn't especially kind or good business sense.

NerrSnerr Sun 27-Nov-16 16:54:26

I'd be annoyed if I had turned up at soft play and found it about to close. I wouldn't think to look at the FB page and I'd feel bad as my child would be disappointed. Is it a particularly small soft play? We went to one this morning which is a small one in a garden centre and it stayed open with a party on- it was just a bit busier.

Northernlurker Sun 27-Nov-16 16:54:57

Whether your staff knew her or not, charging £4 for 15 minutes would have been extortionate. It wouldn't have occurred to me that you would close early on a Saturday and I would gave been very annoyed too. It's awful when dc are disappointed like that. I think you need to stop moaning about her reaction and accept she was your customer and you let her down.

Lovelongweekends Sun 27-Nov-16 16:55:41

I think ywbu, it's not like she was asking to stay past 3:30. Also charging her full price for 15mins was a bit harsh, it sounds like she was much more reasonable than you.

chugnut Sun 27-Nov-16 16:56:59

We went to a swimming pool to get a time table which also has a soft play in the reception, 20 mins before it closed, the staff actually offered to let my 3 yr old have a taster session free, and we returned properly the next day and will do again when in the area.

Mannerscostnothing84 Sun 27-Nov-16 16:57:18

I think you should respond to the mothers review offering her a free visit next time for her and her child. Perhaps chuck in a free drink for her and child too. I can see why she left a bad review. For 15 minutes she should have been allowed in for free.

deloresclaiborne Sun 27-Nov-16 16:57:57

i dont think you should of charged her the full price may £1.50 but if it had been me i would of let him have 15 minutes free.

JenLindleyShitMom Sun 27-Nov-16 16:58:00

Btw If she is going 3 times a week she should have monthly membership. Perhaps you could offer her a free month's membership as a Way of apology.

NotStoppedAllDay Sun 27-Nov-16 16:58:14

I don't think 15 mins would be enough for him anyway..... they would have to leave and then he'd be kicking and screaming about that too. Not what party guests want to walk in and see TBH

Cheerybigbottom Sun 27-Nov-16 16:58:51

You should have put closing at a certain time, last admittance say 45 mins before? So no one has to pay £4 for 15 minutes.

Staff member could have referred to manager to see if discount on price could be applied as goodwill.

I think the review was honest to situation though the comments about her son crying so long were not necessary, but obviously it was distressing. I suppose staff couldn't have told her about other soft plays nearby in case she favoured them in future eh.

FloodMud Sun 27-Nov-16 16:58:54

If nothing else, you should have a "last entry" time clearly marked.

alltouchedout Sun 27-Nov-16 16:58:56

Meh. I think it was a bit mean but I understand not giving them a free 15 minutes, and if the worker has no option to ring through anything other than the standard charges I understand not giving them a discounted 15 minutes too. I'd not be put off by that review as a potential customer really, either.

NotStoppedAllDay Sun 27-Nov-16 16:59:21

Who was around to supervise the soft play for those 15 mins? Or were all the staff busy setting up the party?

AmIImaginingThis Sun 27-Nov-16 16:59:22

YANBU. It's not an ideal situation but you can't start letting people have free entry even for a paltry amount of time as it sets a precedent.

In that situation the mother really should have paid or gone elsewhere and learn to check the FB page for opening times before she travels there. You didn't do anything wrong her child tantrumming is no reflection on your business!

mrscarrotironfoundersson Sun 27-Nov-16 16:59:27

It's not a bad review though is it? Its an honest review, factual, but clearly emotional. She's not said your staff were rude or the place was dirty. She's reviewed what happened so other people can be aware that you sometimes close ad hoc. Its emotional but I'd feel emotional having to deal with a sad child for the afternoon too.

Fwiw our soft play is open to gp even when there's a party in.

blackeagles Sun 27-Nov-16 16:59:34

i think in future you should do private hire parties outside your closing times. It would never occur to me that a soft play would be closed at that time.

I also think you should have let them in for free for 15 mins as a goodwill gesture.

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