Last week, on Friday 30th May my friend and I had planned to go to see the film ‘Bad Neighbours’ at the time of 15:55. I am 16 years old and a friend 15 (who is turning 15 in next week). We were looking forward to the day and had travelled over an hour from Herefordshire to what we thought that we was a leading West End cinema in the heart of london. This was during our half term break and we had the intention of spending an enjoyable and relaxing day together, as we wanted to have broken from our stressful GCSE exams that we are currently still taking. Unfortunately when we arrived at the Marble Arch Odeon cinema we faced with an incredibly rude manager. The prices were very expensive, but we thought it would be worth the money as it was located on the end ox oxford street in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. However when we went up to get the tickets the manager (female, short blond hair with an eastern European accent) who was serving us refused to sell us the tickets. She first asked if we had student NUS cards, but we then explained we were teenagers and wanted the teen tickets which are between 13-17 years. We were then asked to show ID, which we had never been asked before when we went to see a film rated 15, but we understood that we had to prove our age and showed her anyway. We showed our oyster cards that expired on the 14th September 2014 (which implies that we turn sixteen before this date) and a saver bus pass (11 – 15) that has an expiry date the day before a person turns 16; mine had already expired and my friend’s expires on the 14th of June 2014. The employee then told us that in order to get into this movie with a teen ticket we had to show our PASSPORT as a form of ID and the passes we had were not proof (although they had photos of us and dates on them). This is something that my friend and I were unsure of as we were both of legally age for this 15 rated film and looked our age (if not older). We explained that we do not carry passports around with us as we are two British teenage girls and that seemed dangerous and a little excessive to just see a film. We then kindly explained that they proved our age, but the manager was rude and stubborn and said we she would let us in if we showed our “passports or birth-certificates” (both of with I felt we a little excessive to carry out with us to see a film). She then went into another room and told us she would not sell us the tickets. We were confused and concerned why we were refused entrance as she never told us why she rejected our cards so we went to queue up and ask a different staff member, the other member of staff about to take our money when the manager came storming in and said “do not let them in the cinema”. There were two members of staff willing to let us see this film as they thought that we had proved our age and we telling the truth) but they said they could not argue with the manager as she was in charge. We were then told we were being “rude” and if we wanted to go in we “should get our parents to send us a picture of our birth certificates on our phone”. I felt this was extremely unnecessary and impolite to suggest that our parents had nothing better to do than sit around and send us pictures of birth documents; my mother is a doctor that works in hospital will sick patients in cardiac rehab and was not at home at the time, so I felt very insulted by this comment. We repeatedly kept asking why we would not be let in and what was wrong with our cards but were just told “it did not prove we were 15 and 16”, and “how does she know we are not 14” but the card passes we had did prove our age and we once again explained only to be replied with the words “it was the law” no explanation. After about 15- 20 minutes we left feeling belittled and very embarrassed, in front of other members of the public. We felt taken advantage of because we were two teenage girls and she was in authority. There was no point when she respectfully told us why we were denied our tickets. I feel that if we were with an adult she would not dare treat us as coarsely as she did. We are two customers that you have now lost and this incident had completely spoilt our day.
Later when I when I looked on your website terms and conditions and found nothing about a passport, it was only after looking on your website for more than 15 minutes when I found what you accept as ID. I had to go it FAQs (at the bottom of the page) then scroll all the way down to the question 'What forms of age related ID are acceptable?’ when I found this: 'If you look younger than the age required for a film you may be asked to provide some ID. Unfortunately we are unable to simply take someones word on their age or the age of someone in their party. This ID must include a photo and ideally should be one of the following: Passport, Photo Driving Licence, Student Card/School Pass with Photo and DOB, ValidateUK card, or age related scheme’. This confused me greatly as our passes had photos of us, and was considered as a school pass. We are 15 and 16 years old we do not have driver’s licences yet or student cards and we live in England so why should we carry a passport round with us; this baffled me. This was very unclear and not explained to us by the manager, there were no signs in the cinema saying what specific ID is required and why our passes were not accepted, consequently this completely ruined plans.
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