Let Loose Soft Play Sweetshop

Let Loose Soft Play Sweetshop

Soft play is one of those things that lots of parents have lots of opinions on. Love it or loathe it, most parents will, at some stage or another, venture into a soft play centre with their children.

Where I live there are a fair few soft play centres, and I follow a few of them on Facebook. One such centre, Let Loose in Hazel Grove, Stockport posted up a Facebook status on Friday afternoon.

 

let Loose hazel grove

Now… I fully accept that providing and promoting a healthy eating attitude is the responsibility of parents, but I do think that those places aimed at children have a responsibility to provide appropriate food and drink. Whenever we go to a soft play centre the children generally have fruit (it’s provided free on certain days at my preferred soft play) or a slice of toast.  They would not be given sweets – and judging by the pictures chupa chups lollies and other high sugar delights.

I commented on the post with the comment:

I will probably get flamed for this BUT if this is a genuine new thing then I think its a poor choice, you’re a children’s play centre, you should be promoting healthy eating etc, not having a sweet shop on site. The food sold at soft play centres is often not up to standard – I haven’t been to let loose for a while now so don’t know what your menu is like – but I think opening a sweet shop is poor judgement.

 

I was amazed when pretty quickly my comment started getting lots of likes and people posting underneath to say they agreed with me. It seems I am not the only one who sees this as an inappropriate addition to the play centre.

Maybe I’m being a bit over the top, but for me when we see the constant issues in the press about rising levels of childhood obesity then I really do think those areas aimed at children should be offering up healthy food options. The obesity levels in under 10s has TREBLED in the past 25 years. In 2005 42 MILLION UNDER 5’S were considered obese (worldwide figures). I find that mind boggling. I get that I don’t have to buy sweets for my children. I get that my role as parent is to provide good choices for my children. But some people don’t. I believe that supermarkets, museums, hospitals and attractions and playcentres such at Let Loose have an obligation to remove temptation.

Let Loose have made the choice to give over a whole room (and staff) to this new venture. Would it not have been better to set up a messy play room or a role play area? Something that actually many children can’t or don’t experience at home? If a role play area was set up, ie: a shop or a post office then I would definitely be taking Daniel and Emma there – we have been to Eureka in Halifax and they enjoyed that. To have something like that so close would be brilliant. If they did messy play I would book them in to it. Instead they have opted to sell sweets. It just seems like a really poor choice by their management. One that doesn’t match their responsibilities to their customers.

The post has been on their page since Friday – they haven’t replied except to say that they have sent me a direct message (they haven’t) and commented on another person’s comment which is basically just tagging lots of people in. So, I’m not really sure what their response will be. I will update this post if/when Let Loose reply.

*update* over the course of Sunday evening Let Loose deleted a series of negative comments whilst those in support suddenly appeared. I had at least 15 comments deleted (many asking why me comments were being deleted!) and I suspect at least five other comment were deleted from other users. Let Loose eventually put a comment up asking why did I feel that the needed to answer to me. I am not sure they understand their social responsibilities a a children’s attraction.

There is a separate issue about engineering their Facebook comments page too, again a lack of understanding about just what social media is and how it works….

What’s your view on this? Are you bothered by the foods on offer at soft play centres? Am I being over the top?

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Mami 2 Five
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12 Comments

  1. 8th March 2015 / 19:56

    I don’t mind Izzy having sweets but going to the soft play is a treat itself, so she shouldn’t expect sweets as well. I know I have the choice to buy them or not but it’s hard to say no when other kids are eating them in front of her! They put all the sweets right where the kids can see them too. So I would be quite happy if they didn’t sell sweets at all.

    • Pauline x
      8th March 2015 / 21:20

      Sorry, I meant I wish sweets weren’t readily available,instead of were!

  2. Pauline x
    8th March 2015 / 20:28

    SaraH, where was that open day we went to with Becky and Sam and Will? There was a sweet stall there. We queued for ages for food, and they didn’t have anything Daniel liked, servers gave him cheese on toast from their personal stores, basically a piece of plastic. From what we saw, the sweet stall, put where everyone could see it, didn’t have many takers. When my children were small you couldn’t go through a checkout without going through sweets stacked just where the the children could take them. I remember tantrums and fraught Mums, wrestling sweets from children.
    I wish more retailers took the stance of the pharmacy where I go and refuse to stock ant kind of sweets, including diabetic sweets, because they contain a lot of fat to make up for low sugar. I am pleased to say my grandchildren don’t ask for sweets, if we give chocolate they very rarely finish it. A last thought – I wish when I was a child they were so freely given, I have a chocolate addiction, and a lifetime battle with obesity. Lobby the play centre to get rid of the sweets.

    • Pauline x
      8th March 2015 / 21:24

      I have just seen that it was the Sunflower centre. I’m not surprised, as they had a sweet shop when we went.

  3. 8th March 2015 / 20:51

    I think you are right. It is almost like they had a bit of spare space to fill and went with an easy and cheap option to fill it (plus it might make them a bit of extra money). Our soft play also sells sweets(they also sell homemade soups etc) but luckily my 2 aren’t too bothered yet and we tend not to eat there anyway all they ask for is a big glass of milk!

  4. 9th March 2015 / 07:38

    You’re so right. It is very clever of them but very wrong. We all know kids won’t go past there without demanding sweets. I’d vote with my feet and not go again. What a shame.

    • 20th March 2015 / 21:54

      I won’t be going again. The worse thing is that they didn’t respond to the complaints, choosing to ignore it all. 🙁

      • 22nd March 2015 / 05:01

        They obviously have no idea about public relations or the power of the mummy blogger 😉

  5. 22nd March 2015 / 09:40

    I completely agree that there are much better ways of filling and empty room but they went with the lazy money making scheme. Children get hyper enough at soft play without throwing sugary sweets into the mix.
    That’s fantastic that you posted your comment on their Facebook page. Not many would say such a thing. It’s awful that they deleted the negative comments. Doesn’t give a very good impression of the company.

  6. 22nd March 2015 / 19:00

    I am absolutely with you on this. It’s such an annoying thing for them to do. I wish that businesses would believe that you can make a healthy profit whilst promoting healthy living. I think there’s already enough rubbish on sale at the average soft play centre, but this takes it to a whole new level! x

  7. Joanna @mumbalance
    22nd March 2015 / 20:35

    I could’t agree with you more! It is disgraceful that not only they included a sweet shop on their premises (clearly a source of extra revenue), but that they chose to delete comments AND think they don’t need to reply to you. I would certainly never go back to that center.
    I have an issue with my local toddler group, where a lot of mums give their kids biscuits (biscuits are provided for adults to have with their tea). There’s nothing I can do about it though. And I don’t have much choice as it’s the only play group in my area.
    I will be sharing your post on my facebook, hopefully this will spread the word!
    #sundaystars

  8. 23rd March 2015 / 20:43

    I know they have to make a living but there must be better way, hey definitely shouldn’t have ignored all the comments too. It’s really hard to avoid the request for sweets everywhere.

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