Friday, April 23, 2010

Chuck E Cheese Virgin

I’m a Chuck E Cheese virgin.

At least I was until we finally went this past weekend.

I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I guess I sort of did because of the commercials. Some cartoon rat would bounce around the screen in front of games that lit up and a cacophony of children would sing, “Chuck E Cheese’s! Where a kid can be a kid!”

Tommy had been begging me to take him.

So we finally relented and said we’d go. He was ecstatic. Even Tom seemed to be a little excited. He had gone several times as a kid and bragged about how good he was at certain games.

When we first walked into Chuck E Cheese I was confused as to why this woman was stamping our hands with numbers.

“Why is she branding us?” I hissed to Tom.

“Our number matches our kids. That way someone can’t walk off with them. Because you just let your kids run and play in here,” Tom explained knowingly.

Um. Unattended children? That didn’t seem safe. But wait. The stamp number thing. I guess it made sense.

“Does that mean that random kids will be bugging us?” I wondered. And to prove my point, the second my hand was stamped a little boy ran up, stuck his tongue out, and scurried away.

“An unattended child just made a face at me!” I said to Tom indignantly. “Children should not be left unattended even with numbers. Kidnappers could probably manage to take a kid. They could—oh my God, Tom. What is that?” With a shaky finger, I pointed to a giant Chuck E. Cheese walking around. I do not like giant characters when you can’t see the face of the human that inhabits them. It’s probably why Yo Gabba Gabba terrifies me so much. “What kind of place is this?” I demanded.

Tom sighed beside me. “It’s just Chuck E. He won’t hurt you, I swear.”

But you never know what’s going on underneath the costume. That’s why I don’t like it when I can’t see the face. They could be LEERING at you or something.

“I don’t want to go near it,” I said, huddling up beside Tom. Another unattended child raced past.

“Look, we won’t go near it.” Tom rolled his eyes. “I’ll get a table, you get the pizza.”

I kept my eye on the giant rat. He was across the room, thank goodness. “Okay,” I said, and joined the line for our food. I had a coupon that I printed out and thank goodness I did because we would have paid nearly $15 more for a pizza and drinks. Plus my coupon included 40 tokens. I wasn’t sure what they were when the lady pushed the cup towards me.

“Gold?” I frowned.

“First time?” she asked. Her expression was all, “Holy crap, lady.”

I nodded.

“Those are the tokens to play the games,” she offered politely.

“Oh. Thanks.” I grabbed the tokens along with the plates and number for our pizza. Several unattended children nearly collided into me. I wanted to yell, “Where are your parents?” But then I remembered. It’s Chuck E Cheese. Kids aren’t attended here. I surveyed the room and found parents sitting at booths having adult conversations. Oh, how nice. I was beginning to understand this place. Too bad Natalie was too young to be left alone.

“Now what?” I asked Tom, dropping off the stuff.

“We play!” Tom grinned. He grabbed some tokens. “Come on, Tommy.” They started to walk off.

“Excuse me!” I called out. “What do I do?” I gestured to Natalie, who kept trying to walk away towards the blinking lights of some car game.

“Whatever you want,” Tom said unhelpfully.

Okay. I took Natalie’s hand. “What do you want to do?”

“Horsie!” Natalie said, pointing to a giant horse that looked as though it had seen better days.

But okay. Horsie it was. We got in line. It was our turn but then an unattended child cut in front of us and climbed up on the horse.

“Um,” I said. “It’s our turn.”

The kid looked to be around six, so he knew better.

“Sorry,” he said but didn’t sound it at all. And he didn’t remove his ass from the horse. I was about to remove him myself but then the GIANT CHUCK E CHEESE came up behind me.

“EEEEE!” I went, shielding myself with Natalie.

Giant Chuck E seemed amused. Or really, how would I know because I COULDN’T SEE HIS FACE. For all I knew, a chick could be under there.

Natalie liked him. “Hi!” she said and even gave the creature a hug. *Shudders*

Then Giant Chuck E held out his hand. What did he want from me? Was he trying to swipe my purse? Was he coming on to me? WHAT DID HE WANT?


A high five.

Natalie happily gave him one. Then Giant Chuck E stuck his hand out towards my face. What, he expected ME to touch him? I gave him a half hearted high five and prayed that he’d go away.

He did. A group of unattended children surrounded him, saving me.

“I go der!” Natalie said, pointing to some plastic tunnels attached to the ceiling. It looked dangerous but what do I know? She easily climbed up and I watched as she crawled through the tunnels.

Then she refused to come down.

Tom and Tommy joined me. “Where’s Natalie?” Tom asked.

I pointed up. “She won’t come down.” I was beginning to panic. What if she refused? Would I have to climb up there? What if I got STUCK and the fire department was called to get me UNSTUCK? Oh, the humiliation. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten all those Ding Dongs.

“Mommy? I scared!” Natalie called out.

“Then go down the slide. Do you see the slide? GO DOWN THE SLIDE!” I yelled dramatically.

Tom gave me a Look. “Calm down.”

But I couldn’t down. My child was SCARED and I was just STANDING THERE.

“Mommy will come get you if you need help. Did you hear me? MOMMY WILL COME GET YOU!”

A few other parents stared at me as though I had a neon pink bra wrapped around my head.

And then the giant rat started coming closer again.

“Tell it to go,” I said to Tom as I struggled to find Natalie in the colorful tubes.

“Um, you can’t tell it to go. This is technically his place,” Tom reminded me.

“I don’t care, I want it to go, it freaks me out. NATALIE! Can you hear Mommy? Can you—” Then I realized Natalie was climbing back down. Phew. She hurried over, I scooped her up and got as far away from the rat as I could.

Our pizza arrived soon after that. It was pretty good. Though in the middle of eating, an unattended kid came and stared at us with his mouth wide open for a few minutes.

I was about to tell it to shoo but he abruptly turned and went to gape at another family.

“This place is strange, Tom,” I said, sipping some Diet Coke.

“Nah. It’s great. Look.” Tom dug in his pocket and produced a long trail of tickets.

“How did you win that?” I was impressed. It looked like a lot of tickets and at Chuck E Cheese I knew the tickets helped the kids win a prize.

“Oh. I have skills.” Tom blew off his fingers like he had just accomplished a major feat.

After we ate it was time for more games. Or in my case, avoiding the giant rat. Why wouldn’t he leave? Didn’t he get a break? Then as Natalie hopped on another ride, a bunch of giant puppets started to sing on a stage.

“What the hell?” I said, shrinking away. It looked like there was a giant chicken up there strumming on a guitar. What was it doing? Why was it singing?

“What’s wrong?” Tom asked, coming up beside me.

I jumped. “A giant chicken is SINGING!”

Tom chuckled. “That’s what happens. Like every half hour. For the children’s amusement,” he added. I think he believed that I thought they were singing to terrify me.

A frightening place indeed.

We finally used all our tokens. I rocked at Skee Ball. I won a total of five tickets. But still. I was impressed. This kid totally tried to take one of my balls and I was all, “HEY! MINE!” I think I scared him. But unattended children need to learn some manners.

In the end we had 97 tickets and the Chuck E Cheese worker kindly let me round it up to 100. So Tommy picked out a foam rocket and all Natalie wanted was a Chuck E Cheese balloon.

“Are you sure?” I didn’t really want that smiling rat in my home.

“BALLOON!” Natalie insisted. She stomped her foot down for emphasis.

So fine. We got her a balloon.

Before we left the numbers that had been stamped on our hand were checked. I almost forgot this and when the woman tried to take a peek at my hand I thought she was coming onto me and was about to swear off Chuck E Cheese forever. I mean first the giant rat, then the unattended children and now some stranger was pushing back the cuff of my sleeve?!

Then I realized what she was doing.

And then we went home with Tommy gripping his prized foam rocket, Natalie with her balloon, Tom feeling a high because he had performed well in games, and myself, who was slightly worried that the giant rat was going to follow us home.

He didn’t, thank goodness.

Well. In a way he did because look:



  1. Chuck E. scares me too. That place is evil.

  2. Sounds like a very Very VERY bad dream. *shudders* I do NOT like that place...AT.ALL

  3. LMAO! I went there so much as a child; it seems like everyone had their birthday party there. I was horrified by the keyboard-playing gorilla. He was not cute or cool - ugly and scary. A bunch of us thought it would be fun to go up there my sophomore year of college, but you have to be 21 without an adult bc they serve. We were so mad!

  4. I hate that place too. Julianne loves it. Of course. For me it's not so much the giant mouse but the GERMS - eeeewwwwwwwwwww!

  5. shame on you! j/k

    I was so glad when Kyle was old enough to out grow those places...but I do miss the "wack-a-mole" game :O)

  6. Never been to one myself. Looks like I never will go to one.

  7. we dont have one of those anywhere near us. I remember once going as a child but the place couldnt make it where we lived and closed not long after. Your account of your visit was histerical and I was laughing and laughing all the way through it. yer my hero. I love your writing. makes me think mine is drivel.

  8. Your story was fascinating, riveting. Thanks for sharing!

  9. hahaha! you are hilarious!
    "gold?" - haha

  10. LOL! Loved your story. We go to visit the rat about once a year. I feel like it's my parental duty or something. Peer pressure. Thankfully our most recent visit was only about a month ago so I don't have to go back for a while :)

  11. I have only ventured into a Chuck E Cheese twice and swore off the place and have never been back. Thank God my son is too old to beg for that anymore

  12. i haven't been there since i was a kid, but i would imagine that i'd feel much the same as you did. that's why i've sworn off any place that harbors "rats"....well, except for disneyworld....but mickey's a mouse and that's TOTALLY different from a rat. totally.

  13. icky icky...i absolutely hate that place. I can't stand the germs and I cannot stand unattended rude rug rats either.

  14. I'm surprised you didn't end up impregnated by Chuck E.

  15. All of the singing puppets at our Chuck E. Cheese are so old and worn out that they're costumes are dirty and torn and you can hear them whirrrring as they jerkily move around. It's freaky.

  16. I worked at Chuck E for about 9 months in high school and we take DD now several times a year. I don't mind it, but obviously I'm kind of immune to all the chaos. Most of the weird anima-tronic characters have been replace by "Studio C" with only one character, Chuck E and then big screens for the shows, yours must be one of the last ones to get replaced.

    I also dressed up as the rat when I worked there MANY times. Not very fun. It's hot and smelly inside that suit and the kids aren't always very nice.

    They used to have ball pits too, but they've since been removed, probably for hygiene's sake. Our manager used to take all the balls out once a month and put them in mesh laundry bags and pile all the bags in the back of his truck and drive through the car wash to clean the balls.

    Anyway I can be the resident Chuck E Cheese expert, HAHA.

  17. Chuck E Cheese rocked when I was a kid. I went to it a while back for a birthday and it SUCKED. No ball pitt, no huge trampoline, hardly and cool games. Possibly because the location was much smaller than where I went as a kid.

    Chuck E scares me too, and those singing puppets are FREAKY

  18. I went to Chuck E. Cheese once for a friend's son's b-day party. I focused on the beer aspect of it. :)

  19. You are so funny! I had a great laugh reading this post.

    I have to say, that I feel the same way about Chuck E Cheese. I've only gone twice and it was two times too many.

  20. Mama said Chuck E. Cheese is the devil! Listen to Mama.

  21. Years ago two of my then teenagers worked at our local CEC. I shudder at the thought of the place. My oldest actually wore the CEC costume. When it was time for the costume to be cleaned, they would spray it down with cleaner and then have the poor kid playing CEC crawl repeatedly through the tubes to clean THEM as well.

    Those tube things are NASTY. Unattended children do all sort of disgusting things. ewwww Little Bobby eats a bunch of pizza washed down with pop then runs around.....goes in the tubes, BARF, then of course doesn't tell anyone cause well....his tummy feels all better.

    ewwwww. I'm just saying.

  22. ewww and gross! I personally can't stand the place either. We've only been twice and any time the kids ask, we throw a better idea out for them. Thank Heaven they are getting old enough to like bonfires and kickball in the yard more then the cheesey rat. And I'm all for a having a couple drinks, but not while out with your kids and then drive them home. Rather drink (cheaper & safer) at home.

  23. First of all, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who hates the Giant Rat. My son went to a party there when my daughter was probably about 15 mos. She took one look at the rat and got hysterical. Seriously. She was so scared she was shaking. Hubs had to take her out of there - leaving ME alone with that thing!

    Oh - and those tubes that go in the ceiling? Yeah. At our local Chuck E. Cheese's, some clearly unattended child barfed in there.

    Good times.

  24. There's a reason they serve beer in pitchers at Chuck E. Cheese.

  25. I cant believe you had never been there before!! You poor deprived soul. Ok its not all its cracked up to be for us adults but still

  26. we already agreed if any fool child in MiniMac's class tells him about Chuck E Cheese, we will simply tell him it closed down. I will say I will NEVER go there. ICK.

  27. I only had to endure the Chuck E. Cheese experience once. I'm still scarred. And scared. It's definitely gross!

  28. If I were to guess what hell is like, I would imagine it would be Chuck E. Cheese 24/7, along with the singing chickens...constantly. Also, it would have just as many germs. I'm glad you survived the outing.

  29. I understand why the kids love it. Seems like a big ass germ factory to me. My kids are to old now, they are WAY to cool for ol' Chuck E. :P

  30. Hahaha this makes me laugh!! I myself am frightened of people who dress up as mascot creatures. It is a tough feat to be a mom to a child who LOVES them! lol.

    Hopefully Chuck E will leave your house soon ;)

  31. ROFL! A perfect account of Chuck E. Cheese! It is not my favorite place but the kids love it!

  32. "An unattended child just made a face at me!"


    This sounds like an awful place. But I'm glad you yelled at that kid. Little punks need to learn.

  33. When I was little I LOVED Chuck E Cheese. Now? All I see are germs. Germs, germs, GERMS!!!

  34. Oh. My. GOODNESS! Not being a parent, I confess I've never been to Chuck E. Cheese either. After reading this, I now know I never will!

    Thanks for the heads-up! (And, glad you survived!)

  35. Thanks for the warning! I had no idea. We will NOT be taking the grandkids there!

  36. Chuck E Cheese is so overrated.

  37. I am suddenly terrified of giant rats and I'm not even sure why! I remember those dang singing things from being a kid, though. Hated 'em even then.

  38. My only comment is why oh why don't the hand out either joints or tequila shots for the adults in these places! I loathe anything like this. Yes, I love kids, but oh my God these places are horrid for the adults! We went to one birthday at a place called "The Jungle" and I shook for two days afterward!

  39. My nephew had a party at one last year...I had never stepped foot in one until then and never will again. I can't imagine being so desperate for a job that you would willingly work there.

    When I was a kid, we had a Pietro's Pizza, which was just a pizza parlor and it was cool 'cause you got a balloon on a stick when you left.
    Or Shakey's, my first job, which had awesome pizza and they would play old Laurel and Hardy movies at night.

  40. I really don't understand why children love the freaky big costumes, where you can't see the face! Definitely creeps me out too! LOL

    I love skee ball! My fav. Glad you found at least one thing enjoyable while you were there.

    Just pop the balloon when your little girl is sleeping. :)

  41. I still bake a cake to celebrate the day my kids said they were too old for Chuck E Cheese! YAY!

  42. Happy SITS Saturday! I hope you have a wonderful day...the storms are over and the blue skies are shining.

  43. I would have been terrified too. Hell, I was having anxiety issues just reading about the chaos. I think I've been once as a kid for a birthday party and even then I think I thought it was too chaotic.

  44. Oh, I am dying! "Why are they branding us?" Too funny. I also am slightly freaked out by life-size animals as well...

  45. Oh. My. God.

    I only just heard about this place (through a different blog) a few weeks back, but I didn't really understand what it would be like. Now I do. I would react just like you.

    PS thanks for visiting :D

  46. We used to take our kids to Chuck E. Cheese every year for their birthdays. They loved it. We haven't been in years. I don't think they miss it. But I kind of do.


    PS- you crack me up girl.

  47. I liked the pizza at Chuck E Cheese and there is beer..

    Watch your purse though I know someone who had theirs stolen by a kid, encourged by its mother.

  48. I am a huge fan of taking kids places. I am not a huge fan of Chuck E Cheese. At all. I don't know why, but every time someone mentions the place, I cringe. Give me the zoo, a museum or the playground any day. The branding! I forgot about that! LOL

  49. OK, it must be because my boys are nearly all adults (it can't possibly be cos I'm older) but that place sounds awful!!! I'm not a big one for unattended children. I must sound like a dreadful person, but I like to enjoy my dining experiences!!!

  50. I despise Chuck E Cheese. Ugh. And when we went to the bathroom we washed the stamps off our hands. They let me take my children anyways.

  51. Oy, I just had flashbacks reading that. Is it possible to get Post-Traumatic Stress from a kids pizza place?
    What us Mother's won't do for our kids....

  52. Dear Whispering Writer,
    Ha ha just too funny! I have never been to Chuck E Cheese either. Your introduction to him was a first for me, so I guess I am still a Chuck E. Cheese Virgin as well.
    Thanks for the enlightenment, so that if I ever do get a chance to go, I will know what to expect, although all the children will be someone else's, since I am in my late 70's. Ha.

  53. I remember going there a long time ago and it was the same. Kids running around rampant, mass confusion, loud. Yuk. Kids love it; adults hat it. And seriously? A big rat? Who likes rats anyway? But I loved your story! You are one funny girl!

  54. I have never been to Chuck E. Cheese and never hope to go there. Sounds really scary. I think I would say something to the kids-the teacher in me.

  55. Those places have been around forEVER. I remember going there myself as a kid, and yes, the rat freaks me out too.

  56. I remember going there with my oldest when she was little. Now I just tell both girls that it is being remodeled and we never go!!!

    It just looks so unclean and I see all of the little ones with their overflowing diapers playing in the giant balls and I cringe!

  57. I've been in those tubes along the ceiling of Chuck E. Cheese because I've yet to leave my child unattended anywhere. Crawling around in there with the unattended children is where it gets interesting.

  58. Ha! Well written. Being from Canada my kids would scream when visiting the US, when they spotted that restaurant until we promised them they could go! The loved it: the pizza, the games, the presence of other kids screaming. I remember coming out with a big headache never sure if it was the food, the noise or both!

  59. Chuck E Cheese is a very special place..... that is all I have to say. That is one special talking rat. Normal? I don't think so

  60. Chuck E. Cheese=Hades. I hate that place! Ours has a giant hippo who sings Swanee River. It's way creepy.

  61. SO glad I found your blog through SITS. You're hilarious. I'm really hoping I can keep my little girl from wanting to go to CEC. I can't imagine the germs. Gross...

  62. Chuck E. Cheese is the 7th level of hell. The first time I took my son there I was worried he would get stuck in the giant habitrail and not come down too. Luckliy, we didn't have that problem.

    The only saving grace for that place is that they sell beer. For the adults, not the kids.

  63. We just went there in honor of my son's 4th birthday! My friend's brother in law calls it the 7th circle of hell.
    We did not eat there, because I didn't have a coupon, and did not want to have to sell a kidney to pay for it.
    Chuck E freaks me out too, by the way...

  64. Wow. How have you missed out on that?! I love your rendition of your first visit! It is a scary scary place.

  65. Uch...I hope you disinfected everyone when you got home. My kids love it, I hate it, everytime we go someone gets pink eye or some horrible gastro-intestinal issue. Luckily there are none around us that the kids have actually spotted yet. Fingers crossed they don't!!!

    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner?

  66. I've never been to Chucky Cheese. Sounds dangerous :-)

  67. Recently lost my cherry to Chuckie as well (hated every minute; daughter loved it), and your post is the truth. But funnier, of course. You are Erma Bombeck, you really are. Absolutely hysterical. You're young enough to be my daughter (if I'd been a bad girl) and I'd take a writing class from you in a nanosecond. Another laugh out loud killer post.

  68. Chuck E. Cheese OMG! I think that and Monkey Joe's are both gateways to hell, but if I had to choose my hell, it would be Monkey Joe's everytime. At least they have recliners and computers for the parents not to mention a huge plasma TV.

    I mean who came up with this idea anyway?

  69. HAHA!!! I love this post!
    I actually used to work at Chuck E. Cheese as a cashier (I don't know what I was thinking when I applied lol) and one day the guy that was "the giant rat" didn't show and I had to get INSIDE that suit! Can you imagine?? It smelled like an old shoe and I could barely see where I was going... then one of the unattended children kicked me in the knee cap and said "Ha! I just kicked Chuck E. in the nuts!" I told him I didn't have those, but he couldn't hear me.


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