11 November 2013

Why soft play is like a nightclub

The noise

The decibel levels in your average nightclub are roughly equal to a weekend afternoon in a soft play centre. In fact, I think the soft play is louder, in a club you only have to shout to be heard above the music. In soft play you have the added shrieking children factor to contend with.

The clientele

Drunk adults are very similar to hyperactive, sugar filled, partially unsupervised children. Just like downing 8 jaegerbombs, the fact that their parents can't see or hear them leads children in soft play to lose their manners, inhibitions and essentially behave like chimps. 
In a bar during the day there is a clear system of queuing, first come, first served. In a club the rules become "he who shouts loudest gets served quickest". The same system works in soft play. During your average weekday morning, an orderly queue will form by the slide/rope swing/other main attraction, but try to get near the same attraction on a Sunday afternoon and you will be barged, shoved or pulled out of the way as bigger, faster, ruder kids than you get there first.

3 normally beautifully behaved children shoving each other to get down the slide

The toilets

Toilets in nightclubs are always filthy, they stink, don't flush, don't have enough loo roll and have sticky floors. Ditto soft play. What's worse is you're generally shoeless in a soft play centre. 

This may or may not be a photo from my hen do.

The prices

I hate paying a different price for the same thing based on what day or time it is. In fact, I hold pricing systems of nightclubs partially responsible for my lower than expected A-level grades. The local nightclub in my town (there was only one) cost £4 to get in and £2 a drink... On a Thursday night. Come Friday or Saturday when I didn't have double history the next morning, it went up to £10 to get in and £4 a drink! (We're not even talking proper drinks, you had to drink VK blue. The very memory of it is giving me heartburn.)
This outrageous system of pricing occurs in soft play too. On a weekday morning when there are a thousand other places to take a bored toddler, soft play is practically free for the entire day. I think my local one even gives you a free coffee just for turning up on a Monday morning! On a rainy, miserable Sunday afternoon however, when nothing else is open (not even the toy section in Tescos can save you on a Sunday afternoon) soft play charges an extortionate amount for every hour you want to stay! 

Lying about your age*

As well as charging different prices on different nights, my town's one club had a different age policy on different nights. Saturdays was over 21's so in order to get in we had to look a bit older than 17 (umm I mean 18, we were 18 - obviously). 
Soft play centres don't have an age policy. If you're a child you can come in, if you're not a child but with a child you can come in. The reason they ask you your child's age is that they charge different amounts for different ages. Boy1 first went to a soft play when he was 11 and a half months. It was FREE! 2 weeks later is was £2.50. For the same thing. Needless to say he was around 11 1/2 months for quite some time. 

*This is clearly illegal and awful behaviour, which I have invented for the purposes of entertaining blog readers. I would never lie about my own or my child's age. 

The hangover

I remember the morning after a night of clubbing. You feel sick, your ears are ringing, your head is throbbing, you feel sick and desperately need a shower. The soft play hangover has exactly the same symptoms but it starts while you're still inside.

Boy1 trying to put BoyDad out of his misery.

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