Monday, February 19, 2007

Kid Birthday Parties at Chuck E Cheese's: Sit Down! Shut Up! Eat and Leave!


Somewhere, sometime, maybe long ago, or just recently, Charles E Cheese became very angry at the world. I’m convinced of it based on our experience over the weekend.

We were invited to a birthday party at the local Chuck E Cheese's for our neighbors’ 4-year-old daughter. We haven’t been to “Chucks” in awhile and the place is definitely much different since I was a kid. It wasn’t the sticky carpet, cardboard pizza, or odd smells coming from the play area that bothered me - that's all expected. Nope, it was the assigned, angry, 18-year old Jo Polniaczek type hostess who was obviously forced by her parole officer to work there in the kids birthday party department. Why did I sense this? Because everything she did was with resentment, like she wanted to get back at the world for canceling G.L.O.W. in the eighties (I know that feeling all too well.)
Just after eating our half frozen pizza she had the kids line up near the front of the stage (where those scary looking animatronics are) and paced back and forth while yelling like Sergeant Slaughter:

Chucks Bodyguard: Chuck will be visiting! Please follow these rules or Chuck will remove himself from your party! Do I make myself clear?! (kneels down a little, staring at all the kids one by one..)

Kids: (scared) …yes…

Chucks Bodyguard: (pacing again) Rule #1 – Do NOT touch Chuck, unless he touches YOU first. Rule #2 – Do NOT approach Chuck, unless he approaches YOU first. Rule #3 Do NOT make any sudden moves around Chuck. Rule #4 Do NOT yell at Chuck…
...Am I making myself clear!?! ?! (kneels down again, staring at all the kids one by one..)

Kids: (scared) …yes…

Chucks Bodyguard: (turns around and yells at the pizza ordering counter) PRESS PLAY!!

The creepy animatronics started singing “Happy Birthday” totally off sync, twitching and jerking like a bunch of crack addicts, and then Chuck comes walking out inadvertently hitting the stage and walls along the way as if it was the dudes first day working the costume.
After the birthday song was over, the kids were standing there looking around in silence, next to Chuck, a little confused and frightened of him - trying not to make eye contact, possibly out of fear of getting beaten or deported. Chuck’s Bodyguard then ordered them to stand around him with their hands ‘firmly’ at their sides. She then pulled out a bag of tickets (the kind you win from those cheesy games) and started pelting them at the ground like chicken feed, or rocks, while yelling, “Pick them up! Pick them up!!!” All of the kids were on the ground trying to peel them off the sticky floor, some almost in tears. It was sad.
Afterwards, our daughter walks over and hands us a little handful of tickets (which were strangely soggy, wet, and smelled like cigarette smoke…) while the older kids followed, hoping she would drop them.

When the cheerful festivities were done, Chuck’s Bodyguard then yelled over at the birthday girl’s mom, “Do you want the bill now?!”.
I guess that’s her way of saying, “Chuck wants you all to leave.”

38 comments:

metro mama said...

Oh, that sounds horrid.

I have not had the pleasure of Chuck yet.

radioactive girl said...

We have been to several Chuck parties, and they have all been very similar to your experience. I would be really sad if any of my kids chose to have their party there.

I love that you referenced Jo again. I love her!

dennis said...

about the only thing missing was the dodgeball game with staff v. kids...

Denver Dad said...

Wow. Just... wow.

Still, canceling G.L.O.W. was a pretty big mistake. I can understand being bitter.

Tuesday Girl said...

God, I hate that place.

Kate said...

I'm literally crying from laughing so hard! That was the most hysterical observation of Chuck E Cheese. Sorry to hear it was such a frightening experience.

But really, that was just too funny! Those places are so ridiculous.

Lisa said...

{shiver}

You had to mention that place, didn't you?

{shiver}

InterstellarLass said...

I hate that place. Now that my kids are old enough, I firmly plan to never step foot in that place again.

Christie said...

what the.....

T. said...

Wow, somehow with three kids, the oldest being ten, I have managed to avoid the horror that is Chuck.

Although, part of me wants to laugh out loud at this post, the other part (fierce momma bear part) wants to go drill sergeant all over Chuck's bodyguards ass.

Don't mess with a momma bear and her cubs.

Em said...

I'm so glad our kids are too old for Chuck now. We spent several afternoons in prison...er, at Chuck's...when my kids were attending the parties. And it always had a scary quality to it.

~*Kelli*~ said...

My now 7 year old was terrified of Chuck anyway, so we didn't have to worry about that part of it.

Locally, we call ours "Carlos E. Queso" because the only people there cannot speak English, so 1/2 of the whole thing is in Spanish. None of the little kids running around are speaking English. It's very strange.

This was hilarious. Is it sad that I immediately knew who "Jo" was?

Thanks for the refresher..we haven't been

~*Kelli*~ said...

that was supposed to say "we haven't been in awhile"

Diana said...

ha. my son keeps asking us to go back, since we had been there for a cousin's b-day party a month ago...
I kept my son away from the stage area ("We can sing from here, honey!") and just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible...

creative-type dad said...

~*Kelli*~ "Carlos E. Queso" That's funny! Sounds a lot like ours.

T. - I think we were all too busy laughing to ourselves at what a freak that girl(woman?) was.

Denver Dad - Dude, I know. I know.

Sarah O. said...

I am so stealing "The creepy animatronics started singing “Happy Birthday” totally off sync, twitching and jerking like a bunch of crack addicts".

Rebecca said...

Oh! Thats just sad!!!

Maria said...

I am not kidding when I tell you that even here as far away as we are in Nebraska, the parties are exactly the same. My daughter had nightmares about Chuck.

And that big play area with balls covered in kid snot slime? If that doesn't make you sick, the gelatinous pizza will.

MetroDad said...

I've actually never been to Chuck's place. I was kind of looking forward to seeing what all the hoopla was about. But after reading this? Hmm...I tihnk I'll pass. I hate eating with Nazis.

Pageant Mom said...

Gizmo will hurt you to get at ol' ChuckECheese. We had her last birthday party there and it was okay until she got a little over stimulated on coca-cola and started yelling whose yer momma to the giant rodent. Great. We're raising a future groupie... not to mention feeding some pretty serious future gambling addictions. (We haven't been back since, that mouse gives me nightmares.)

Mitch McDad said...

I freakin hate that rat. And we did a party there once.

Love the GLOW reference. How did that not thrive?

dadinprogress said...

birthday parties are the bain of everyone's existence. we've never done the chuck, nor have our kids ever attended one. the closest was a bowling fiesta i took my daughter to - we got there, and there were literally 15 birthday parties happening at the same time -- every party had 2 lanes, identical balloons and tablecloths, so we had to find my daughter's friends. party factories suck, as do the attitudes of the teenagers running them. and they cost a fortune!

JayMonster said...

I haven't been to Chuck's in a long time, and have been thinking about taking my daughter. Now, admittedly I am a bit concerned.

On the other side, at Chuck E. Cheese, or anywhere else for that matter, I would have lost my mind with a "hostess" like that, and would have let EVERYBODY know it. But I can be a jerk like that.

And hey... I liked Jo... to me she sounds like a bitter Blair, that expected so much more out of life.

MamaLee said...

OMG you summed up the whole CEC experience to a T. I have only had the pleasure of going there twice, and it wasn't for any party. I'm just SO glad that there are other great places that my son and his friends can go to (and places that the parents of these kids choose instead of CEC!).

Parents, do NOT go there. Do NOT book a party there. Loud. Smelly. Obnoxious.

I'm glad you can laugh about it, Tony!

Darren a/k/a Clare's Dad said...

There can't be a sane parent alive who likes Chuck E. Cheese. We've managed to avoid it except for once and got out of there as fast as possible. I think they put sugar on the pizza too to drug the kids.

Great references to Facts of Life and GLOW too.

Mel said...

I HATE Chuck E. Cheese's. I avoid it at all costs these days; fortunately, since both the girls are over eight now, it's anathema to them anyway.
But I have to add that I would've been up in that girl's face as soon as she started talking that way to my kid, or any kid, for that matter. I will not pay for the privilege of being barked at, nor will I pay for the pleasure of watching some PMS-queen verbally abuse my small child.
I applaud your restraint. They would have had me IN restraints, I'm afraid. Did you discuss the problem with a manager?

creative-type dad said...

Mel- Unfortunately, the manager must have been related the one at the Toys R Us down the street I wrote about.
Also, we weren't the customers. It was the parents of the birthday girl. If it were my kid, things would have been different.

JayMonster - Jo and Blair should have just run off together. That's my opinion.

dadinprogress - that's the problem with these parties (and places) They hire angry teenagers. I think they need to send them all to Disneyland customer service etiquette school. Because with service they have now, I don't ever want to take my kid there.

Sarah O. - No problem! At least the real crack addicts have an excuse.

kittenpie said...

Eek, that dounds awful! Maybe I should get in the business of doing kids parties... I'm sure I could do better for less money!

junebee said...

That is exactly why Chuck E. Cheese sells beer too (this is Florida where you can get beer anywhere, even day care centers!). When my step-brother was little he used to kick Chuck E. Cheese in the butt and then run around the back of as CEC turned around.

jennster said...

wait, this is a bad thing!? LOL just kidding.. kill chuck!

norcalgirl28 said...

The party sounds like it was absolutely miserable and left all of the kids neurotic. How terrible for something that is supposed to be fun. I so hate it when teenagers get on power trips. I think about when I was that age, you absolutely did not act like that or talk like that to, or in front of, adults. You just didn't do it.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

OH, my. That's very ad. I haven't been to Chuck's for many years 'cua my kids are big. However, I had a wonderful experience there once:
It All Began at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

oops. . .that's very Sad. Haven't been because my kidS are big.

Jeez, can't type tonight.

LB said...

We have also been sentenced to 3 hours at Chuckie's. Now we have a new chain in town called Space Aliens. It is a lot like Pizza Planet from Toy Story. The main difference is that it has a sports bar for the adults while the kids play the games. Cool huh?

Beta Mum said...

Chuck E Cheese?
My god. What an idea. No doubt it'll be hitting Britain soon - these things normally do.
And I thought Mc Donalds was bad.

The Father of Five said...

Chuck E. Cheese's is a highly concentrated slice of Hell, right here on earth.

It feels like an ADHD Anonymous meeting, after a mass relapse.

If you have anything resembling a social anxiety disorder, this IS NOT the place for you. (Unless you like curling up in the corner, sucking your thumb, rocking back and forth, and calling for your mommy).

My child's Chuck E. Cheese birthday party was without a doubt one of the most chaotic, expensive, disappointing, frustrating, and frightening nightmares I have ever had the displeasure of having been a part of.

If you are reading this because you are contemplating a visit to YOUR local Chuck E. Cheese's - turn and run while you still have the chance.

sugeeandersyn said...

Wow. That's 2 steps away from traumatic I think. Man, this is nothing like disco babies.. That and this is like the diff between Target and Walmart or something :)

Davidkevin said...

This isn't funny -- this is child abuse on the part of the "hostess".

I hope you complained long and loudly to the management. I know I would have been in that woman's face on the spot if she had done that to one of my sons.