C is for Chuck E.Cheese's

First the good news. I haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese's since the last time I went to Chuck E. Cheese's.

And that was a long time ago.

Now the bad news. I went there today.

This all came about due to a strange concept. Zara apparently has a friend and the aforementioned friend's parents suggested a rendezvous at Chuck E. Cheese's.

This development has been something of a surprise to me. I feel like taking her into a corner and telling her at her age I didn't have a single friend. I was a hopeless loner with the antisocial tendencies. What is she doing having a friend?

The truth is less stark. I had friends but they were all really weird.

Anyhow I did all the normal things to get out of my visit to Chuck E. Cheese's; feigned a sore throat and a cough, developed a sudden interest in American sports that meant I had to stay at home to see a game between two teams whose names I didn't recall. That kind of thing.

It was all to no avail. A couple of hours later the hideous ediface of Chuck E. Cheese's appeared like the Black Gate of Mordor, agape to swallow our money. As we approached Zara gave me a spiel about not embarassing her friend or her friend's parents, all of which I thought to be unnecessary for a six-year-old, before we got into a to-ing and fro-ing about whether Chuck E. was a mouse or a rat.

I swore it was a rat, although I realize deep down it's probably a mouse, because who'd name an establishment after the vicious carrier of the bubonic plague?

By the time we walked in my cough was getting worse. I think it was a sign that read: "Admission to the fun is always free" that set me off.

I mean what kind of skinflint is going to take their kids to a place where you put tokens into flashing and banging mechines and not pay a dime? Nor would you go to such a place not to feed the crazy machines.

We paid $10 for 50 tokens that disappeared in about 20 minutes. Then it was another $10 and the same again for a minute pizza that tasted of disinfectant.

Zara's friend's father said a watery beer cost about $5; the Catch 22 is the fact you need a beer to survive Chuck E's.

Fortunately the place seemed quieter than I remembered it last time but it was only 12.30 a.m. After I had been there for about an hour I went up to buy more tokens and realized I appeared to have left my ATM card at last night's restaurant.

I went outside to make a call and without realizing it I had left Chuck E's altogether and was driving home with a vague plan to check my jacket to see if the card was there.

My wife called to ask my whereabouts and why I hadn't called the restaurant and I said "good point." But by now I was stuck at a level crossing waiting for the world's longest and slowest train to pass. My wife called me to say my card was at the restaurant but by now I was almost home, so had to check my jacket anyway. Then there was a call to make to one of the neighbors and the quick task of translating the Bible into Chinese etc.

By the time I got back to Chuck E's, the place was considerably busier than before. I lost hope as a pleasant Sunday became a cacophany of banging, crashing, screeching, ringing, clashing and pinging, anything with -ing on the end, except knitting.

Those hundreds of tokens had all gone but in their place Zara had a great wadful of tickets which she could exchange for a gift. We carried them to the till through the waves of ADD addled kids, in an industrial sized dumpster and were told we had earned enough tickets for a pencil.

So the trip to Chuck E's ended on a sour note.

"What do you expect from a rat? "I told Zara

"He's a mouse."


  1. LOL! I love you Chuck E Cheese post! Very entertaining and yes, I too think you need a beer to survive there. lol

  2. Translating the bible into Chinese sounds far more preferable than enduring a second at Chuck E's House of Hell. Hopefully you shoved the pencil up the rat's arse on your way out the door.

  3. I now realized I dodged a bullet when I visited the States. Three months, and I never went to a Chuck E Cheese. Not having kids probably worked in my favour.

    The strangest of strange things, though - this post made me want to go, if only a eeeny teeny tiny bit. Probably so that I wouldn't have to watch any American sports.

  4. Last time I went was 1999. Haven't missed it either. Mind you, I think it might have been marginally better back then. You got more than a pencil for 9million tokens and the pizza was huge.

  5. I'm sorry you had to put up with all that, but face it - you got your daughter A PENCIL! You are the ultimate provider. It is not only an educational gateway gift, but you taught her that it is important to earn her own things, and she'll enjoy that pencil for a good sharpening or two.

    - allison writes

  6. It gets better. We were stuck at McDonald's until the kids discovered they had refined tastes. They even like the Indian restaurant! Fortunately there is no Chuck E Cheese here, though I did experience it once in 1986. My ears are still ringing.

  7. It has been a long time since I was at a Chuck E Cheese.

  8. It sounds like quite an adventure !
    Enjoy the rest of A~Z ..


  9. I feel your pain about Chuckie Cheese! My daughter is 6 too. It's a place that gives many parents nightmares. Evil place....lol.

  10. Hahaha! I haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese since I was a kid. Actually, I used to go to a similar place called Showbiz Pizza, which was worse because instead of a giant mouse, it had the world's creepiest bear. He wore overalls and only had one tooth. He played the banjo in a band with other giant mechanical stuffed animals. They would perform terrible songs on stage every five minutes. It was like Deliverance. I still have nightmares from that place...

  11. And could Chuck E. Cheese's be any more cheesy American? I'm sure there would be nothing like this in the UK. Thankfully, my daughter is past the age for this and I will never, ever, have to go again.

  12. I've never been inside one. And definitely, especially after reading this delightful post, I'm not going to even think about entering one!
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home

  13. BTW, we're practically neighbors. I live in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

  14. Even as a child I realized the futility of the Chuck-E-Cheese. I refused to play in the ball pit because I found a homeless man in a ball pit at McDonald's when I was 4. Ever since then I was leary of gatherings of children having fun. It ruined me on bouncy houses, fairs and arcades.

  15. It sounds horrible. Anything that could make time spent watching sport sound good has to be avoided at all costs.I'm sure Zara will treasure the pencil for many years - or until she realises it won't write due to being of such poor quality.

  16. Chuck E. Cheese is the devil. I believe that's why he wears a costume. I hope you don't have to go there again until next time you have to go there. This made for a fun C post, though.

  17. hi Snakesmom, thanks for visiting;I am amazed at how A-Z week is leading to more followers. Thanks Empress,well I would have if he hadn't retreated to his hole. Ha Cruella, you wouldn't want to; it's something people with kids have to endure. cool Sarah - at least you can sympathise

  18. It needs to be in SA Scots Lass; well she also got some useless rubber thing Allison. You are clearly missing it JoLynne and Oilfield.

  19. Thanx Muso - I will visit you blog, good luck 2. Tis evil, does it hold an attraction for your daughter, Marnie? OMG Jennifer,you must have had nightmares as a kid. Well Suzanne, the UK often gets cheesy US stuff later

  20. That's great Ann, I know Harrisonburg, i'm off to follow your blog. oh dear Anna, bouncy castle trauma is a real phenomenon. You never know Sue but at least it gave me a c; Thanx Robyn, hope your challenge is going well.

  21. Sounds like it might be a good thing we don't get Chuck E's in Australia

  22. It seems to be some sort of rule that parents in the U.S. have to endure a certain number of hours at Chuck E. Cheese. I'm so glad my kids are older and I've served my time. :D Funny post! You translated the Bible into Chinese! Wow! ;)


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