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To be annoyed with the price of soft play...

21 replies

Sixparrotspullingupcarrots · 20/05/2013 12:47

I'm a bit annoyed by this. A local play group in a gymnasium charges £2 for crawlers and £4 for walkers. You don't get anything extra if you can walk, just a higher perspective so why the price hike?
Another cafe with soft play area charges £1 for under 1s but £3.95 for over 1s.

As you can tell my PFB has just turned one and is about to walk. My purse aches!

AIBU? Would it be better to just have a flat fee?

OP posts:

Eskino · 20/05/2013 12:50

Take em for a run in the outdoors. It free, healthier and probably fewer poo hazards


NumTumDeDum · 20/05/2013 12:51

Yabu. The crawlers use just the special bit for them. The walkers use the entire facility. Presumably also there is a difference in insurance costs - you're more likely to be supervising the crawler more closely and they are less likely to have an accident. But mainly YABU to go to those horrible filth infested pits of hell. Can't understand why anyone goes, I hate them. Smile


mummymeister · 20/05/2013 12:52

better for who OP? this is a business. if they didn't think that they could do it then they would have a flat fee. like all businesses you have to assess if it offers you what you want in terms of VFM and if it doesn't don't go there. they aren't a charity.


valiumredhead · 20/05/2013 12:52

You think that's expensive? I was in for a real shock when we moved out of London and realised that we had to pay £7 AND pay for the adults as well! I was used to paying between £2-£4 depending where we went.


BackforGood · 20/05/2013 12:54

Or you could look at it the other way.
The price is £4. If your child isn't yet walking, we'll give you a reduction until they can take full advantage of the facilities. Lets be honest, if it were 1 price for all, we all know that price would be the £4 one.

But I have to agree with Eskino - it's not really somewhere I ever wanted to take my dc. The park is free, and FAR better. Even in the rain I'd say it's compatable.


Sixparrotspullingupcarrots · 20/05/2013 12:57

The trouble with the park is that I can't let DS crawl around in the mud, so it's only suitable when dry, which is about 10% of the time at the moment! I would rather go to the park though.

OP posts:

ChunkyPickle · 20/05/2013 12:58

Good lord is that all you pay?

We have to pay for the kid (more like 7-9 quid) and adults here! Plus if it's busy you'll have a session time so you have to leave after a couple of hours no matter what.

TBH, I think that's a perfectly fine amount - walkers are going to be everywhere, but crawlers are barely going to be doing anything at all


ChunkyPickle · 20/05/2013 12:59

Oh, and the places are generally less clean than the park. This may be why I've only been a couple of times, but DS knows all the local parks very well.


valiumredhead · 20/05/2013 12:59

chunky yes, I remember being stunned you had to leave after a couple of hours too, I was used to staying for as long as you want!


sunshinenanny · 20/05/2013 13:00

Our local softplay is quite new and therefore clean and well designed but a lot of them are fleapits, there are a lot of overheads in these places and rather than thinking you are not getting much more for the older child look on it as a concession given for the younger child because they cannot do much.

I would only ever use these as a bolthole on a rainy day when there has been several wet days in a row. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds to go to that cost absolutely nothing! or a nice long walk in a local beaty spot.


Loulybelle · 20/05/2013 13:01

The ones around me are, £4.95, if its busy you have a 2 hour limit, hate those places tho.


CreatureRetorts · 20/05/2013 13:02

YABU for going to soft play.


jacks365 · 20/05/2013 13:04

My local sure start has a cafe with a soft play area all it costs is my coffee. You could see if there's anything like that near you. Its only small but it suits my dd 19 months perfectly.


MardyBra · 20/05/2013 13:05

It's a business. They have to pay for the premises, the equipment, staff salaries, insurance, heating, lighting, cleaning, etc. And hopefully make a profit at the end of it. It's a useful strategy for them to give a discount to crawlers, to encourage them to start using the facility and also, as they aren't going to be able to use all the equipment, but if they charged £2 for everyone then they'd probably be losing money. It's your choice whether you use the soft play or not. If someone can do it cheaper and make a profit, then they will.


Peevish · 20/05/2013 13:09

Yes, Valium! I recently moved out of London, where our local soft play was a flat fee of a pound for the under ones, two quid for the over ones, and accompanying adults free. They made a lot of their money out of the nice cafe, which did nice homemade food and good coffee, supposed to be chucked out after two hours, but never did. Small, but cosy, and a nice atmosphere.

Now live in the midlands, and the nearest soft play cost £7 for me, DH and our one year old. I was gobsmacked. And it was rank with dirt. I won't be darkening its doors again, however much it rains...


ChunkyPickle · 20/05/2013 13:11

jacks365 - good point - quite a few of the garden centres have a soft-play bit around here, that's good for a 1/2 hour (and running around the outdoor plants like a loon burns off the rest of the energy)


MrsKoala · 20/05/2013 13:51

Our local thing like this is £5.50 for half hour, no matter what age the children are. Last week i took DS and he spent most of the time playing a ladies shoe laces - that was money well spent then!

I doubt i'll bother going back.


Wibblypiglikesbananas · 20/05/2013 13:53

See, I think that's cheap! Guess it depends where you are.


WhereDoAllTheCalculatorsGo · 20/05/2013 13:56

They are businesses, they are there to make money. YABU


BackforGood · 20/05/2013 14:01

The trouble with the park is that I can't let DS crawl around in the mud, so it's only suitable when dry

But I thought you said the price went up once they were walking ? Confused
Doesn't your park have a play area? Most seem to have that kind of spongey tarmac stuff, which isn't muddy to crawl on anyway. A toddler group would seem to be another solution ?


MrsMook · 20/05/2013 14:06

I've found the ones with the higher charge for younger ones seem to be those with less to do for them. One I boycotted when he was 1 and it jumped from free to £5, he was still crawling and couldn't really do anything there on his own. I'll stick to the one that's £3.75 with a drink and biscuit thrown in thankyou.

A couple of times I tried the (very) local park over the winter, but despite being well wrapped up, the icy wind blasting into our faces like razor blades resulted in DS having one go on the slide before returning to the pushchair and wimpering "col, col" and crying. Long live summer!

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