Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chuck E. Cheese's... AKA "The Place of Utter Chaos"

Mom, Dad, Sean and I took Jaiden and her friend to Chuck E. Cheese's the other night. I believe it was a Thursday night. And, like always, the place was crawling -- literally -- with snotty, bratty, sugar-crazed children... who must have all gone to the same school of bad manners and even worse hygiene!

But, no matter how crowded or insane, Chuck E. Cheese's is just one of those places that you kind of like and hate at the same time. To explain, I've created a list of reasons why we like Chuck E. Cheese's and reasons why we hate it. (Perhaps you'll spot some thoughts that match your own about this place of utter chaos!)

1. Free Pictures -- I like being able to capture every trip to Chuck E. Cheese's with a free "portrait" drawn by Chuck E. Cheese himself. This isn't our photo, below, but you see what I mean. Kids love it! And it's a fun, little keepsake.

2. Chuck E. Cheese -- I don't know why, but Jaiden really likes good ole' Chuck. Even after taking in my facial expressions of utter disgust whenever I see him, she still happily trots right over to the "real Chuck E." (as she calls him) or to his creepy, bolted down friend. She insisted on me taking this photo. I may have to crop it....

3. Hand Stamping -- I'm still paranoid and over-protective, but I must say, the hand stamp is a little bit of a relief. I don't know about you, by knowing that the competent Chuck E. Cheese's "rat police" won't let you or your children out of the joint until they match up your invisible numbers with the ones stamped on your kid's arm sure puts me at ease! ;)

4. Ticket Muncher -- What's more fun than getting lots of tickets from the fun, germ-covered games at Chuck E. Cheese's? Feeding lots of tickets to the fun, germ-covered ticket muncher and seeing how many points you won for the night! Here's Jaiden and Rachel with their grand total of 461. Kind of a slow night... but, just our luck, many of the games were out of tickets, and the Chuck E. folks were a bit slow at getting those up and running.

5. The Games -- OK. I admit it: we love the games. I love to play basketball and the shoot-'em games with Sean. Jaiden and I play the punch the duckies game and skee-ball. But mostly I run around with a bag full of tickets and tokens, trying to keep up with J and watch her play everything in sight! I also love that every game costs only 1 token. So you can play the "fancy" games along with the cheapy ones for the exact same price. Good deal, Chuck E. Kudos on that one!

And now the flip side....
1. Free Pictures -- Yes, I know "free pictures" was one of the things we like about Chuck E. Cheese's. But photos like this one, below, make me second-guess myself. Looks like the kids' turf is attracting some, uh, interesting folks nowadays. I wonder if they got their hands stamped?

2. Chuck E. Cheese -- Jaiden may like him, but I think Chuck is completely creepy. He's a RAT! A gray, shifty-eyed, animatronic rat with an ugly purple jersey and hideous green shorts. And don't get me started on the costumed weirdo that actually walks around the restaurant.... BTW, this is not a photo from our trip, but it certainly deserves some attention. Not only is it weird that a guy this age is at Chuck E. Cheese's... but, am I seeing things, or does he have a gun? And is that rat, Chuck, a gangster in this shot? (Pun intended.)

3. Crowds of Kids -- We have discovered -- by innumerable trial and error -- that it really does not matter when you go to Chuck E. Cheese's. It will be crowded. There will be at least one loud, obnoxious birthday-party group there. And the place will be full of the kinds of kids that you hope your child does not speak to or interact with for fear that something -- bad habits, food bits, germs -- might rub off on him/her.

4. Cheap Prizes -- I feel bad for the kids. Really, I do. After all that money spent and all that hard work playing games (ha-ha!), all they get to choose from is a handful of plastic bugs, old laffy taffy candy, pencils and a plethora of cheap, made-in-China toys that break as soon as you get them out of the bag or get into the car. Oh, and even if they do have some "good" stuff, you'd better have at least 387,532 tickets to get it! (The most we've ever had in one night is about 870 tickets!)

5. Germs -- I know I've mentioned it already, but I thought that "germs" deserved its own category. Especially if you visit "the Chuck" at night, just check out the scenery around you before you leave.... dried cheese goop on the tables and floors, sticky puddles and patches from spilled drinks, children with pizza sauce and dried ice cream on their fingers and faces, used napkins, cups and plates everywhere. I won't even describe the condition of the bathroom. I'll save you from that nightmare. The point is, the place is a GERM haven!

So, there you have it. I'd write more about this riveting and entertaining topic, but I just found three tokens in my bag. So I'm busy planning our next trip to the rat palace.... ;)


Kate Spike and Her KatS said...

Beth! The wife of my most wonderful (and only) nephew! So you're a blogger, too--just one more thing to add to your list of amazing accomplishments (the first one being, of course, marrying Sean). I have never been to Chuck E. Cheese--not having kids is a good excuse--but that party with Rappa Chuck E. looked like fun! Something tells me a bunch of grown-ups rented out the place so they could debauch without traumatizing their kids. Hopefully.

Staceystace said...

Hi, Beth, I found you through the AL Bloggers site. Chuck E. Cheese's is one of those places where I would take my kids and just look at them and wonder, "will they ever fully understand just how much I love them, that I would bring them here?" =D