This might be kind of a throw away post, but hey, at least I’m writing.
A few years ago I went with my family to take my grandson to Chuck E. Cheese.
When my kids were little Chuck E. Cheese had just started to expand and make its way into the area of the country where we lived. They started out as Show Biz Pizza and later changed to Chuck E. Cheese.
I probably took my kids there two times. My wife and the grandparents took them there a number of other times but once or twice was more than enough for me.
I use to think and still do that Chuck E. Cheese is your kids and about a hundred other little rug rats running around out of control.
So when I went there this time it was my first visit in over twenty years. Guess what, it’s still your kids and a hundred other kids out of control.
As I sat at our table in the eating area and watched the animatronics show that reminded me of something out of 1960’s Disneyland and as I listened to the same songs and watched the same motions repeated every five to ten minutes I had an epiphany.
Chuck E. Cheese is Las Vegas for kids.
Let me make my case.
First off, where are the clocks?
Just like in a casino or even the shopping malls of the seventies, eighties and nineties there are no clocks, at least none that are easy to find or see. They want you and your family to lose track of the time and stay there as long as possible. The longer you stay the more you spend, especially in overpriced, mediocre food.
Let’s look at the “food” they offer.
The casinos pump oxygen into the casino floor to keep you alert and awake which in turn keeps you gambling and losing money to the house.
Well taste the cuisine offered up at Chuck E. Cheese. It’s sweet, almost sickening sweet. The sauce on that round dish they pass off as pizza is loaded with sugar. So add that to the sugar filled soft drinks and deserts and you’ve pumped your kids so full of sugar that they could feed those tokens into the games all night if you let them.
The kids won’t crash until you drag them out kicking and screaming. Then if they don’t puke in your car they’ll be so cranky and miserable you’ll want to take them back and let that giant rat deal with them.
Finally there’s the afore mentioned games.
They might as well be slot machines because they accomplish the same thing, they take your money with some false hope you might actually win something.
You stand there and watch your kids pump thirty, forty, fifty dollars worth of tokens into these one armed bandits disguised as family fun.
And for all your time and money you win about fifteen million tickets.
You and your kids finally make your way to the counter to cash in. You think about all the great prizes you see hanging on the wall and wonder which magnificent fun filled prize will they be able to get.
And then reality hits. Those fifteen million tickets that just cost you fifty bucks will get you exactly one pack of gum, a Tootsie roll, a rubber spider and some piece of crap made in China that you’re not sure what it does. One thing is for sure it will be broken before your get home.
So just like Vegas or any casino the house always wins.
So your kids get the complete Vegas experience before they even get to first grade.
They get gambling, diner and a show.
All that’s missing is the hookers.
I wonder if this is what the founders of “Show Biz Pizza” had in mind?
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.