Day 1 of the summer holidays, Friday 21st July 2017 and left feeling furious!
Today we went to Westwood Cross to collect, what feels like Riley’s 15th pair of glasses since Christmas! Riley gets through glasses like there’s no tomorrow. Whilst all of the members of staff at Vision Express in Westwood are kind, amazing and supportive the 30 min drive each time to collect theses is a little mind numbing.
As per usual we were in and out of Vision Express due to their exceptional customer service and understanding of my sons needs (Riley is 4 severely Autistic and non verbal) Rather than heading straight home I wanted to take the children out, somewhere they could run around freely it was the start of the Summer holidays after all.
I remembered seeing an advert on Facebook the night before for Quex park which in turn prompted me of Jungle Jims indoor play centre. We’d only visited Jungle Jims twice in the past, the children loved the indoor play centre! There’s a huge variety of food to choose from, the layout of the apparatus is great, you can almost sit anywhere and be able to see your child play happily (unless they go off at the back and hide, and then you might need to just get up and check – haha!) the floors and equipment are clean and in general I’ve been very impressed in the past.
Visiting new venues or unfamiliar places (with my Son) is always a little worrying because Riley’s mood is so unpredictable, with him being non-verbal Riley cannot express his feelings or frustrations. Using my sat nav we happily arrived at the setting and there was the perfect disabled space right by the door that we parked in.
Riley, Summer (aged 3) and I went in all holding hands, they both seemed ok so far so good! At the desk I said ‘two children please’ the girl replied ‘which meal’ Erm…? After a good handful of questions it was then made apparent that it was £3 entrance fee each or £3.50 for entrance and a cold meal for the kids…wow what a bargain! Of course I went for the meal option, upgrading a pound later for a hot meal for both children.
The setting was once again clean and tidy and to my surprise not all that busy. Inside I was doing little cartwheels of joy. I’d collected Riley’s glasses with both children walking and no buggy and I’d comfortably got both children inside the play centre and paid for lunch without Riley even becoming slightly stressed out. To many parents with ‘normal’ kids this isn’t a big deal but for me this was such an amazing feeling.
We found a lovely little table close by to where the shutter was open, a metal gate had been put up for security and there was an epic breeze! Kids shoes were off and so were they both! Usually at these indoor play centres I am close behind the children everywhere they go. Mostly because I am worried about Riley. He’s 4 but the size of a 6-7 year old (height wise) He’s as good as gold and wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally but he can be a little clumsy at times. I guess I shadow him to ensure both he and the other children around him are safe.
After about 15 minutes of following Riley throughout the play centre and Summer being attached to me I decided I’d order lunch. I paid a little extra to get the children chicken nuggets and chips and I got myself a tuna and sweetcorn jacket potato. I asked specifically for mayo and questioned if I came with salad which I was told a side salad. I’d have happily paid extra for mayo and a salad but was assured it came with both.
When I returned back to my seat with the kiddies orange squash and my green tea I saw both children happily pottering around doing their own thing – I was no longer needed! For the first time in 4 years I had the luxury of sitting down and letting the children play. This is something I always envied about my friends. Not only would their children get excited about going somewhere like this because they could vocalise and understand but they’d also go off and play by themselves whilst the parent/s could enjoy a coffee and a catch up. For a long time I have let down invites and avoided places like this for that very reason.
Green tea on the go, smiles on my babies faces, epic breeze and a blog opportunity with Cadbury’s came through my email! I felt the most relaxed out in public with both babies that I had in such a long time. I remember sitting there looking at other parents and thinking ‘so this is what it’s really like’
Food arrived without mayo and the smallest ‘side salad’ I’d seen in my life, I went and asked for some mayo. I was a little peeved as I thought seriously how hard is it?!
The usual Clare would have gone down and make a point of mentioning that I’d asked for mayo and my food was brought out without any. Instead the mindful Clare went and just asked for some mayo as let’s be honest what would it accomplish having a moan about something that you now can’t change?! The woman didn’t seem very approachable or happy. I asked ‘Can I have some mayo please’ she said 2? No hello, no smile. I said ‘3 please’ not really thinking too much about her lousy customer service as I wanted to eat my food and keep a close watch on the kiddies I returned back to my chair.
After 3 attempts I managed to get Riley to sat down at the table watching kids BBC iPlayer on my iPhone and eating his lunch. Summer came over shortly after and things felt good, us all eating together happily and Safely.
I heard a lady on the table next to me say ‘these bands are if the kids want to go and play outdoors’ to her husband/partner. Whaaaaaat??? There’s an outdoors too? Why wasn’t I told about this? How much is this I wonder? After lunch, drinks and a chocolate Kinder hippo for Summer I explained there was an outside area we could go and have some fun also. Riley loves climbing and being outdoors is usually when he’s at his best.
The big moment arrived! Will Riley walk or will I carry him screaming? To my surprise he was fine. Riley held my hand and my iPhone in the other listening to the theme tunes playing. It was Summer that was moaning at me about not wanting to leave, we headed towards the exit. There was a queue of 2 families waiting at the food counter. I was third in line, everyone looked around waiting for someone to come over. I saw at least 4 members of staff out on the play area floor cleaning tables, does it take 4 members of staff really??? I felt my tummy fill with butterflies as I quickly made a plan in my head how to keep the kids chilled as I’d said we were leaving to Riley. Standing still and waiting is far from his speciality.
Finally a lady comes over (it was the lady who gave my the mayo) she was sporting the same long face and bursting with enthusiasm…not! She worked her way through the queue but seemed to be very unaware of her customers. A lady holding 2 18 month old twins in either of her arms waited patiently to be buzzed out to leave, you could see the urgency of the children weighing her down in her face. Yes the lady was serving but isn’t it standard to make a ‘customer’ feel valued and to multi task with some form or urgency even if your shift is from open to close. Not everyone has all day to wait around. On top of making the lady wait there was no ‘thank you, see you again soon’ Riley and Summer weren’t handling waiting in the queue well but I needed to ask about the outdoor play park.
I sat Riley at a table close by with my phone and I sat Summer on the Peppa Pig toy to amuse her. It got to my turn at the front of the queue, the lady opened the gate to let another family exit. I patiently waited, keeping a close eye on both children in the hope Riley would continue sitting and not run off. A family started to walk through the entrance and the woman starts serving them?! I say ‘excuse me’ she turns to me and says I’m not going to serve you if you shout at me. I said ‘I’m not shouting but I’ve been waiting a while and I’m next to be served they’ve just walked through the door?’ In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best idea to call out but I was starting to feel a little anxious.
After she served the family she came over to me with a sarcastic attitude ‘yes’. I said ‘I wasn’t shouting I was trying to get your attention as I’ve been waiting for ages and I was next in the queue’ she replied ‘you haven’t been waiting for ages’ I was so taken back by her comment this got my back up. I had been waiting for over 5 minutes and to a special needs parent that feels like 10 minutes! I’d had to drop out of the queue a few times to let Riley know I was here and then rejoin the queue. Perhaps this is why she felt I wasn’t waiting for long. Regardless what gives her the right to speak to me, a paying customer with such rudeness?! I was anxiously watching my children Riley especially, trying to remember what I needed to ask, build myself up to get Riley from one centre to another and then this happened.
I said ‘I was next in the queue and that family had just walked through the door surly it works on a first come first served basis?’ She replied ‘I know how to do my job, I’m running both tills’ I replied ‘Why is there 4 members of staff cleaning when they could be helping to serve?’ The woman said ‘my manager is over there if you want to make a complaint, I’m not bothered’ In which I replied ‘you’re not bothered? Maybe you should think about getting a new job if you’re not happy’ She said ‘I love my job’ I said ‘You love your job, but you’re not bothered about a dissatisfied customer because at the end of the day it’s people like me that help pay your wages’ She continued with ‘my manager is there, go and make a complaint I’m not bothered’ I explained that I’d been patiently waiting, I only wanted to ask a quick question and that my son is Autistic and waiting isn’t easy for him! She did not seem the slightest bit bothered or show signs of empathy or understanding. I turn to check Riley and he’s gone! I look around for him and the woman apologies to the customer behind me and starts to serve her!
One thing I really hate is having to explain to people that my son has Autism. I don’t think it’s anyones business and unless we are in a place/ environment where I feel it totally essential to warn others then I simply don’t like to mention it. We shouldn’t be treated any differently because my Son is registered disabled and I like to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible for Riley. This is the real world at the end of the day and this is the world Riley is going to be living in and therefore he needs to get used to certain situations that are avoidable. Even an ounce of understanding wouldn’t have gone a miss in this situation.
I rush off to find Riley who’d walked back up to the other end of the room! Flustered and very angry I spoke to another girl and asked about the outdoor play area and can I pay to take the children in there. She gave me the 5 second reply I needed and that was that. I felt furious that a relatively positive morning had turned out this way. I could have easily complained but from the comfortable disgraceful attitude the woman had I felt she knew that nothing would come of my complaint as perhaps she is very friendly with the manager her whole attitude so blasé.
I asked for the woman’s full name and said that I’m a blogger and I will be sharing my experience across social media as I’m very unhappy by the way I was treated and spoken to and I don’t think it’s acceptable. She continued with ‘yeah ok, whatever I’m not bothered’
Seriously???? I still can’t believe I was treated in that manner. Was there something about me in which she felt it ok to speak down to me, is it because I look young? I’m 31 but still get ID’d regularly and told I look in my early 20s. Even so, what happened to equality, treating everyone fairly?
I’m a very black and white person I don’t like to fluff things up and I’ll say it how it is. I wasn’t rude, aggressive, shouting or swearing. Perhaps I shouldn’t have called out but if she showed a little more urgency then I wouldn’t have as I could see she was trying her best but in all honestly it looked like she didn’t want to be there.
At the age of 19 I started working at SAGA Insurance where my telephone manner and customer service had to be outstanding. After 4 years I fancied a change and started working at Carphone Warehouse where I had to put my excellent telephone manner and Customer service skills into action dealing with customers on a face to face basis. After 9 years of working here, in July 2016 I had to leave my job to care full-time for my son.
I loved working pushing myself to my maximum potential, building rapport with customers, having a joke, getting the job done and above all being kind, curtious and offering outstanding customer service to my returning customers. I buzzed under pressure, at times there was a queue I’d always make eye contact with all the customers letting them know they’re valued and I’ll get to them in turn. If ever I’d upset a customer in error I’d always seek to calm the situation. The customer is always right and all that! If someone wanted to complain about me I remember feeling gutted, in trouble and like I’d let myself, my manager, the customer and above all the company I work for down. I hated that feeling.
Customer service these days is not what it used to be, it’s rare to see anyone go above and beyond in their job anymore. I see a lot of this now I’m not working. Today’s incident has really knocked my for six. I’m still feeling cross the day after!
The customer service I recived is appalling. It reflects badly on Jungle Jims play centre and Quex Park to employ such a blasé member of staff. I won’t be a returning customer and that’s a real shame! To you I may just be 1 unhappy, awkward customer but I will do everything in my power to spread my customer dissatisfaction across social media as the way you treated me was completely unfair. What a great start to the next 6 week Summer holidays!
The outside area was amazing and FREE if you’d paid to go inside the play centre, now I know for next time! I could have easily spent more time and money here enjoying the scenery however I was annoyed and the kids could sense this and we left after about 20 minutes! (sad face)
Is it wrong to expect good customer service especially if you are a paying customer?
Have you been to Jungle Jims before? Have you had a bad experience there before or has it always been a pleasant visit like my previous 2 times?
Let me know by clicking here