A proud single mum was disgusted after being refused a ‘Family Meal Deal’ at the cinema – because she “wasn’t a family“.
Emma Wallen, 28, took kids Lily, six, and London-James, two, to see the BFG at Cineworld and tried to buy an advertised £9.99 family meal.
But she claims the cashier told her she didn’t “qualify” because she wasn’t with a second parent.
When she questioned the employee she claims he told her it was “only for families” and she “wasn’t a family” because she didn’t have a partner with her.
Furious Emma was forced to fork out an extra £15 for almost the same food – bringing her bill for the trip to more than £50.
Outraged Emma, of Lewisham, London, said: “It was a horrible thing to hear.
“I felt like I was being discriminated for being a single parent with kids. It felt like someone was saying I wasn’t accepted in society as a family.
“It was very aggravating.
“How can a policy be in place where it clearly discriminates single parents?
“In this day and age there are countless single parents both male and female.
“The fact that I was told that I am not in a family is disgraceful and a matter that I could not allow to be silent on.
“Am I less of a parent because my children’s father can not be with us?
“What if my children’s father was dead – would I still not be classed as a family? It’s appalling.”
Emma is sole carer of her two children after splitting up with their father and took them for a day out to the cinema in Wandsworth last Thursday (04/08)
She was accompanied by a friend and her three children, aged seven, five and three.
Emma went to pay for three tickets and spotted an advert for a ‘Family Special’ – two Munchboxes with a regular popcorn and two regular soft drinks for £9.99.
But when she tried to buy it she was turned down.
She said: “I said to him ‘as well as the tickets, can I have this deal as well please?’
“He said ‘no you can’t have that – that’s only for families‘.
“I thought at first he was joking and I asked him to repeat himself and he said the same thing.
“He said ‘it’s only for two parents and two children’.
“I said to him ‘so I don’t qualify because I’m a single parent with two children?’ and he said ‘unfortunately no, you don’t qualify as a family‘.
“I don’t know how I kept my cool. Other family members hit the roof when I told them, but I don’t want to make a scene with the kids there.
“It was disgraceful to say that to someone. It was completely ignorant.
“To say that somehow I’m not valid as a family because I’m a single parent it appalling. I’m a proud single parent and what he said is unacceptable.”
The trip cost a total of around £53 – approximately half for tickets and half for food – but had she been allowed to use the deal, it would have cost around £37.
Once at home, Miss Wallen said she phoned the branch to complain and has now submitted a written complaint, but is yet to receive a reply.
Cineworld says the cashier was correct to refuse single mum Emma Wallen a family meal deal.
A spokeswoman said the meal deal only applies to a group of four – two adults and two children or one adult and three children – if they buy a Family Ticket for the film.
“We are aware of the customer’s complaint and will be in touch with her directly to discuss her feedback,” she said.
“Family Special Combo Deals are available to customers with a Family Ticket.
“Just like our Family Tickets, the meal deal is designed for a group of four as it includes two drinks, a sharing popcorn and two munch boxes.
“Our Family Tickets are sold on the basis that there will be four people within the group which could be a combination of two adults and two children or one adult and three children.
“We regularly review our offers to make sure they meet the needs of our customers and provide the best possible value. We welcome customer feedback and we take this on board.”