11:40am Wednesday 29th February 2012
Two young mums are furious that they and their children have been barred from a “family-friendly” pub for making a mess.
Rebecca Pullen, 29, and her friend, Michelle Freeman, 28, were stunned to be presented with a dustpan and brush and told to clean up after their kids by staff at the Vine Inn, Ower.
The two mums and Rebecca’s mother, Debra Lewis, had already wiped the table with paper napkins and baby wipes following their lunch with Isabella, 22 months, and Layla, 20 months.
Rebecca, mother of Isabella, told the Advertiser: “When our children made a little mess with their dinner, which is normal as they are both under two, we did our best to clear up, which I have noticed most other parents don’t do!
“After we had cleared up as best we could, leaving only a little mess, my friend was then handed a dustpan and brush by the duty manager, who said: ‘There we go, sweetheart – clear that up’.”
However, an angry Rebecca, who works as a phlebotomist at Romsey’s Abbey Mead surgery, and careworker Michelle refused to act as cleaners for the pub.
“We have both been waitresses and have had to watch as parents let their children pour salt or drink everywhere, throw food, etc and never even blinked when we had to clear it up. It was part of our job,” said Rebecca.
After they paid their bill Rebecca and her party were then told not to bother coming back as they were barred.
“I have never been so insulted and had to deal with such a rude duty manager before,” said Rebecca. “I thought it was meant to be a family-friendly pub. After all, there isa children’s menu.”
Rebecca and Michelle, who both live in Southampton, had been at the pub a week before with their toddlers, when they experienced no difficulties, and had returned because of its child-friendly atmosphere.
After the second dining experience turned sour, Rebecca asked a friend to phone the pub on her behalf that evening and was informed the ban stood because the young mums had been “rude and messy”.
The Advertiser contacted Spirit Pubs, owners of The Vine, who issued this statement: “The Vine Inn is a family-friendly pub and we do expect our guests to treat our premises and our teams with respect. We have conducted a thorough internal investigation and do believe that our team acted within reason and we will not be taking any further action.”
The pub was refurbished and rebranded in November and was officially reopened by members of Romsey Community Pre-School.
The Vine’s website proclaims: “Our kids’ menu includes your children’s favourites and also details nutritional content. This reassures Mums and Dads that we not only make your kids happy, but we keep them healthy, too.”
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