A couple have hit out at a cinema that they claim turned them away because they wanted to pay with cash.
Richard and Carol Riley tried to use cash to pay for food and drinks in a Curzon cinema at a new complex in Canterbury, but were told they couldn't.
The chain has since claimed that the refusal to accept cash is due to a decision to go cashless following the Covid pandemic, but the couple accused the brand and the town in general of focusing on students while pushing out older generations.
Describing what happened when they visited, 64-year-old Carol said: “We sat down, picked up a menu and had our money ready. But the lad serving us simply said ‘we don’t take cash’."
She said he had explained that cash isn't accepted at the venue because it caters mostly to students housed in nearly purpose-built accommodation.
“He said the place was really for students, who also get 10% off. It left us gobsmacked, to be honest," she added.
Her husband, 66, said: "We were very disappointed at effectively being told they weren’t interested in us as customers.
"We had thought is was a nice development for all residents, but apparently not older people like us who prefer to use cash and know how much they are spending."
The couple returned to the cafe a few days later and tried again to pay with cash, but said they were told card-only was company policy.
A spokesman for Curzon said: “Firstly, our apologies to them that our position wasn’t made clear.
“We went cashless in all our venues in response to the pandemic. The decision was made to help keep staff and customers safe and it is not related to the profile of the cinema or the customers we are expecting to use the venue.
“We do take cash when there is no alternative, but we only hold a small amount at the venues, so it is not recommended that people arrive expecting to use it.”
But Carol Riley said she thought Canterbury has become too centred around the student population rather than locals.
"We have been here for a long time but I feel residents are being pushed out," she said.
Her husband added: "We are council tax-paying residents but were effectively turned away, which has left us feeling very deflated."