MOVarazzi

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

731. Chuck E. Cheese Starts With "C"


Before you had children, you might have thought Chuck E. Cheese was a TV game show or possibly an expensive organic cheese flown in from Vermont.      

How wrong you were.    
Chuck E. Cheese is a place where kids go to have their birthday parties.  The colors are garish, the games are loud, the pizza is greasy … the perfect place for six-year-olds.  Chuck himself is a giant smiling rat (maybe he is trying to be like Mickey Mouse?) who wanders around, shaking everyone’s hand.  There are games at Chuck E. Cheese’s, pinball games and loud simulator games, and tubes to crawl through—tubes that no one since the beginning of time has bothered to clean.  Oh, yes, it is a given that if you go to Chuck E. Cheese, you will get sick.  Within 24 hours.  You have never seen so many nasty vile visible germs congregate in one place, sort of a worship hall of disease and pestilence.  (And as a side note to the Chuck E. Cheese legal department:  you cannot possibly sue me for saying that.  Because it’s true.) 

Why do children want to go there?  Why indeed?  Who knows?  They just do.  And some hapless parental type has to take them there. 
You should avoid all things Chuck.  Just never talk about him, and instead hope and pray that your children will forget who he is.  The problem is:  other kids.  Other kids who are friends with your kids and are nice enough (mean enough?) to invite your sons to a birthday party at the Rat Palace.   

When your kids receive a Chuck E. Cheese invitation in the mail, they can practically taste the high-fructose corn syrup.  They wanna go now!  This is when the intense negotiations between parents begin: 
“I took him to that Bounce House party two months ago.  That was a 45 minute drive each way.  It’s your turn.”  “No.  I chaperoned the zoo field trip for the school and had to stand in the snow for three hours with a bunch of kindergartners and make sure none of them wandered off.  Your turn.” “No.  I did that Chuck E. Cheese party last year—remember, the one where that kid threw up on my new linen jacket?  You have to go.”  “Argh!  Rock, paper, scissors?”  “Deal.”

This devolves of course into two out of three and then seven out of ten.  If you are the losing parent, you will cry (no fake tears necessary) and then proceed to bribe the winning parent (“I will wash the dishes for two months AND change the cat’s litter box every day,”).  This type of negotiating does no good, as the winner knows exactly what he is avoiding.  The winner says a little prayer of thanks to the Gods of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and gives the loser a kiss.  “Don’t bother bringing me a slice of pizza,” says the winner, grossly overstepping the boundaries of appropriate gloating.
Walking in the door of Chuck E. Cheese is like buying a one-way ticket to Migraine-ville.  The only question being:  Will this migraine wear off later today or will you be stuck with it all the way until tomorrow? 

You sit there, as the losing parent, watching your children race around like crack addicts looking for their next fix.  You desperately try to access that happy place in your brain, the place where all this melts away.  That is the precise moment when the waitress appears and you remember the only decent thing about Chuck E. Cheese when she asks you,  
“Can I get you a beer?”

MOV

72 comments:

  1. Oh, how I am so glad my son is 16 now! I do NOT miss that place! The teen years have been so sweet.

    So sweet, indeed.

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  2. Skee ball. That's the saving grace.

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  3. Ha! I only remember Chuck E Cheese from when I was five years old - didn't know it was still in existence! Here's an enjoyable first line from their website:

    "A safe, wholesome environment with games, food and fun for kids of all ages"

    Safe and wholesome.... yes... lol

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  4. Oh, yes, that place of horror a mother of a 9 year old knows well here! LOL. Thank goodness the birthday parties stopped there finally. A nightmare to try and find your child up in the ceiling tunnels being crushed by big kids. A slimy, germ fest! Thanks for the umm...not so good..memories!

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  5. We recently attended a birthday party for a ONE YEAR OLD at this god forsaken place. I have no idea what a bunch of toddlers are supposed to do here, except throw tantrums because they aren't actually big enough to do anything and want to run off and lick other bigger kids hands just for the taste of the foreign germs.
    ick.

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  6. Wow. I sure am glad we don't have one of these within a 50 mile radius of here! We do have a Pirate Pete's but they do not appear to have a massive germ fest and I have not yet seen any devil rats.

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  7. Last time Beege got invited to a party at one of those places, I was all set to take her until the day of. At which point, I had a panic attack and sobbed into my pillow for two hours, so husband took her. Luckily, he's deaf in one ear, so it wasn't as bad for him.

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  8. Thankfully, I have only had to go to Chuck's place once in my life! My two youngest don't even know about it!! :)

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  9. My children were too old by the time C-E-C made it into our area. Sometimes you just get lucky.

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  10. I was invited/coerced in to attending a Chuck E. Cheese party once. All I could think about is how the Black Death spread through Europe on the backs of rats.

    I cannot wait to see what you have for tomorrow. D is for death-throes... ;)

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  11. Fortunately here in France Chuck doesn't exist, we do have Quick however, the fast food joint that taste forgot, advantages include birthday kids wrecking some other place than my own, and wifi, but no beer :(

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  12. Thankfully, I've only ever been inside one of those places twice in my lifetime... and neither time did I have to crawl through the rat tubes looking for my children.
    Whew!

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  13. Ha Ha Ha...so funny...my 3 boys are all bigger than me now but still play that rock, paper, scissors trick all the time to settle non-serious disputes...they are all 18, 16, and 15 and can usually drive themselves to where they need to be, but I do remember those days...love your C post...will be back blessings

    http://runningsurvivor.blogspot.com is my new running blog all about surviving cancer and becoming a runner

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  14. Haha! I am not a parent and I've only been to a Chuck E. Cheese once (lucky for me). Might just be one of those things that are magical when you're a kid and obnoxious when you're an adult. Though I have to say I'm generally not a fan of loud busy places with lots of kids. Even when I was a kid I wasn't!
    Now following you!

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  15. I remember as a young teen being mildly impressed (once) that their vegetarian pizza was actually edible.

    Otherwise, I spent the rest of the time horrified at the robot animals. Agh the dead eyes looking through you!

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  16. Fortunately, the closest Chuck E. Cheese is an hour away, and it has a pretty good salad bar. Fortunately, my mother-in-law normally pays (out the wazoo) for any trips we take there, as her son's birthday is why we go. Unfortunately, I'm still obligated to go and be subjected to everything that goes on in the Rat Den. So pretty much every November I'm prepared for a lose-lose situation. So it goes.

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  17. I have narrowly survived Migraineville, but only by avoiding the Sticky Finger Salad Bar.

    Funny post!

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  18. When I was small, Chuck E. Cheese was called Showbiz Pizza (where a kid can be a kid!) and I loved it. I feel renaming it Chuck E. Cheese has somehow cheapened the experience. The name Chuck E. Cheese just seems dirty for some reason. I don't know why.

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  19. You write very well! I enjoyed this! ":)

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  20. I feel really lucky to have NEVER had to have a party at that horrid place for my own kids. My parents had one party for me at the former Showbiz Pizza. Of course I did have to have parties for my kids at places similar to Chuck E. Cheese.

    www.sweetydarlin.blogspot.com

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  21. You know, all the times I've been to Chuck E Cheese, I never realized he was a giant rat. That does put a different perspective on that place. *shudder* Thanks for the nightmares!

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  22. HahaHa! I remember that place. Havent been there in forever.
    I was gonna go there and now you ruined it for me. (Just kidding)

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  23. As we don't have Chuck E Cheese in Britain, I always imagined them to be great palaces of American delights. Good food, fun games and a wonderful time had by all.

    This view has now been completely DESTROYED!

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  24. Ah yes, I remember the ridiculous, manic high I used to get at the mere prospect of going to Chuck E. Cheese as a child, even though I inevitably left feeling nauseous and emotionally drained. I imagine my parents just felt the latter symptoms, all day long.

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  25. Took my kids there once ... threw my back out so bad I had to have 6 months of physio...ugh.

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  26. I there...found you through the A-Z Challenge. Love the post!

    Since I really don't know you, I figure I'll take a chance and share that I actually LIKE Ch.E.Ch. pizza. Just wish they delivered.

    Now, if you're still reading and haven't deleted this comment, wanted to let you know that I'm now following!

    Carry on!

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  27. So glad you found me!!! Thanks for visiting. How fun to read your post! It's been a loooooong time since I've been to Chuck e Cheese. I think I just realized why. :)

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  28. You are totally right. No adult in her right mind would go to Chuck E. Cheese of her own volition. A child is required. Kids have fun and that's what it's all about. Great post!

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  29. Love the post and Chuck E Cheese. :)

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  30. I do miss the Chucker. Now that my little girl is 23 and I have no grand kids, I would look suspicious if I just wandered in and ordered pizza.
    dreamweaver

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  31. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment - i'm so glad you did, I have been sat chuckling my way through yours quite happily! We don't have Chuck E cheese here, but many similar venues, which luckily (as class teacher) I hear about but never have to venture into! I can only sympathise (and laugh a bit...!)x

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  32. BRILLIANT! - funny thing.. as soon as my daughter heard we would be in the US for her birhtday this summer that is what she asked for.. a birthday part with the giant RAT: :-)

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  33. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! And that pizza is so nasty! And the salad bar is a freaking joke! And the ones by us don't even have a DDR machine. Not that you could hear the music over the chaos anyway, but still...

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  34. In order to prevent our chuck-induced migraines we only take our kids early in the morning when other kids are not there. Of course my two year old has been asking for Chuck E. Cheese lately (thank you nickelodeon), so we are going to brave it and hopefully then I will stop hearing "Chuck E. Cheese, please?" over and over. :)

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  35. Oh my years at CC are over...unil grandchildren :)

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  36. I am loving this post. I have done a couple of posts in the last year about my fear of "Chuck's Petri Dish of Unknown Viruses that Are Surely the Death of the Planet". Although, I don't think I actually used that phrase. As a Grandparent, I try to do things to keep the little ones thinking that I am the greatest human they will ever know but even I have my limits. I can with some assurance say Chuck offers the worst pizza EVER. They also can't sue me as this too is a fact. As I can't drink alcohol,(allergic) even that doesn't draw me in. Love your blog!!!

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  37. I've never been to Chuck E Cheese. And honestly...I'm ok with that. Really.

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  38. Chuck E Cheese is so NASTY! I hate that place with a passion, when my girls get home from that place I want to make them stand outside so I can disinfect them. Funny blog btw!

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  39. I have an award for you on my blog.

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  40. I put a fiction version of Chuck E Cheese in a book due out later this year. Love reading your thoughts on this! Thanks for visiting my blog and the follow.

    Monti
    Mary Montague Sikes

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  41. Love it! Here we have Peter Piper Pizza, same concept, no mouse. I look forward to reading more :)

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  42. We don't have a Chuck E Cheese here but I know the type of place you speak of.When my kids were young there was no one like that ,thank goodness. I have since been to some soft play indoor centres with friend's young children and end up with such a sore head and the child getting a virus or something.Let's face it life is hard enough with your own children without another twenty or so running around screaming.

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  43. I remember going to Chuck E Cheese as a kid. Much funner for that age group than going back as an adult. -shudder- Holy minions, the kids are wild in there. I'm not sure you could get me back in there with a cattle prod.

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  44. Having raised 3 daughters we had many a trip to Cheese. It was the favored place for soccer and friends birthday parties. What chaos that is. I'd be worn out following my girls from one thing to the next so they could collect those tickets to get really crappy prizes. Now I'll probably have to start taking their kids now and then.


    Lee
    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  45. Hahahaha. I had to share this with my husband, and we both got a chuckle.
    He added that there is also the risk of violence at the place... what with all the unhappy parents at their wits end gathered in one locale...

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  46. I was a video game-lovin teenager when the Chuck came along and even then I thought the place was too damn loud to tolerate!

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  47. I am having traumatic flashbacks of my collective trips to the Mousetrap. The horror of noisy runny-nosed children haunts me!

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  48. I am so grateful we do not have a Chuck E. Cheese anywhere remotely close to us. One time, we visited my parents in Phoenix, and my older son saw the commercial on TV. It was THE ONLY place he wanted to have his next birthday party. "I'm sorry," I said with as much lament as I could muster, "we don't have one of those where we live."
    I have no plans to go to a Chuck E. Cheese. Ever. And your story reminds me of why.

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  49. Great post - I am convinced they put crack (well, maybe just MSG) into their pizza because I can inhale half of whichever size we happen to order. At least they seem to have done away with the dreaded ball pit.

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  50. My kids are older but when the two youngest were little there were these places with ball pits. I haven't have to go to one for years but I will never forget how sick one of our children got after cavorting in the ball pit for a half an hour. It was horrifying! Remond me to never take my grandchildren to Chuck's, now that you have explained that it is worse in consequence than the Spanish Inquisition, which is the worst thing I can think of at the moment.
    I appreciate your warning! Whoa!!! jean

    PS: you are funny!!!

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  51. Hello, Fellow Challenger. Tracking down the very FIRST mother who decided to party at Chucky's seems to be the best thing to do, at this time, and then LOCK her in the place; then, go have a beer. I did take a neighbor's child to one of those types of party places and almost got stuck for life in the habitrail... I'm #424 from Rockin' Chair Reflections. Come visit when you can.

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  52. I don't have kids but this made me laugh and laugh anyway as I can envision my siblings dealing with this. The little crack addicts racing around is such a perfect description LOL.

    Thanks so much for coming by my blog, it's great to meet you! I love your *future Pulitzer Prize winner asterisk LOL!

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  53. I got hit in the face by a ball in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese and cried until my mom took me home.

    This was two weeks ago, though.

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  54. Chuck E. Cheese came after my kids were too big...but I've heard stories. Thanks for the giggle...from another A to Z'er

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  55. Oy, been there, done that. I'm glad kids in my neighborhood stick with the local bowling alley!

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  56. Oh dear, I remember Chuck E. Cheese. I loved going through the "mouse door". I loved the whack-a-mole. Swimming in plastic balls always kind of creeped me out though. Always smelled a bit funny in there.

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  57. A moment of silence for days of chuck e cheese gone by?..done, over it. That is not to say that laser tag is much better of a hang out...nor that the super awesome cash in your tickets for prizes is any less swell. I think the ticket eating/counting machine at chuck's was my favorite part...and not just because it meant we were leaving soon!

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  58. Sounds like quite the deal.... especially when Mom can relax with a beer. I've never been in one. I don't think there are any in my part of the country.

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  59. I was fortunate, Chuck E Cheese didn't come to our town until all of my kids were grown. But we had a knock off known as Peter Piper Pizza. It was just as bad, if not worse than what you described.
    P.S. Thanks for your great comments on my letter "C" day.

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  60. I am stopping over after clicking your link from A-Z challenge. I loved Chuck E. Cheese..even funnier.. I was sad when he told me he didn't want to go anymore... Now at 13, we find so many fun things to do. Loved your blog and thanks for sharing!

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  61. I despise Chuck E Cheese! I got lucky having a brain tumor when my kids were little - "No, kids, Mommy's brain can't handle the noise since her surgery."

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  62. This is hilarious, MOV! :D I love your sarcasm!

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  63. The beer is the redemption and the reason that place continues to exist.

    You should've been around for Crystal's Pizza. That place was beautiful! Arcade games, skee and pinball, movies....aaaahhh. Now we've got Incredible Pizza Company and I had my 25th birthday party there. The best of times...

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  64. Thank you SO MUCH to all who wrote, and especially a warm welcome to all my new readers visiting here from the A to Z Challenge! Come back soon!!!

    best,
    MOV

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  65. I'm trying to find a group of mom friends who all feel the same way about Chuck E as I do because I never ever want to go to that horrid place. I said I because I know there is no way in hell my husband would step his foot in that door. You got me thinking. Perhaps I can start to train our daughter to specifically ask daddy to take her by batting her eyes and pleading. It might be my only hope.

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  66. I do think quality varies, but this is a hilarious write-up of the dread and loathing. I found it largely depended on things like, oh, was the birthday party RIGHT when they opened (and thus, were still clean?) and whether my kids wanted anything to do with me once we were there (though wanting me to crawl through the tunnels to retrieve them was NOT my idea of "wanting anything to do with me" - that takes knee pads, if you're over age 7). The downside to attending the first party of the morning is that drinking beer at a Chuck E. Cheese before noon is kind of frowned upon.

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  67. The one redeeming quality about that horrid place is the machine that 'sketches' your photo. That's kinda cool.

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  68. Or possibly people with or without kids who live in Australia don't know who he is either :P Though I admit I have heard of him mostly from TV and from American friends.

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  69. Yes, my kids were invited...omg, I was not even drinking at the time...what was I thinking!
    Oh for the love of Mike, now I have a grandchild! *goes to buy out Walmart hand sanitizer right now!*

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  70. thank you so much to all my new readers!!!! am loving your comments, makes it super-fun to write these essays. :)

    best,
    MOV

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When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)