Friday, October 29, 2010

I Partied with Chuck E.

A couple of weeks ago, my kids handed me an invitation they had received to a birthday party. At Chuck E. Cheese. They were ecstatic and buzzing with joy. The mom who sent the invitation is a friend of mine. I asked her straight up what the hell she was thinking about. Cat explained to me that it was all her husband’s doing.  She just shook her head. “He has no idea what he’s done.”

She looked slightly wary, as if I might start screaming or swinging at her because there was no way out of it now. I couldn’t say no. My kids would kill me in my sleep. So it meant that I had to go, too. And this was after five years of telling them that mommies weren’t allowed at Chuck E Cheese – only grandmas and babysitters. But it was all about to go down…Two hours on a Saturday afternoon at Satan’s Playground.
We arrived straight from a T-ball game. My husband and I were running a zone defense. He took the baby and went home with a smile. I took the two big kids and headed into battle. The line to get in extended out of the waiting area, out of the building and down the side walk.

The family in front of us consisted of a harried-looking father with two small, school-aged children literally bouncing with excitement and a large toddler, sucking on a binky that was adhered to his face by two thick, lime green snail trails so viscous that the sight of it actually caused to me to throw up in my mouth. The family behind us was also pretty interesting. Did you know that seven year olds can have neck tattoos? Well, they can. Unless that was a very short adult in a Bratz t-shirt.

Slowly, we made it to the front of the line. I think it may have taken less time to get into Studio 54 in the late 70’s. The guy working the velvet rope looked a prison guard at Gitmo who’s just worked a 36 hour shift. He seemed about 2 seconds away from either quitting his job in spectacular fashion or bursting into tears. He grunted at us, stamped our hands and vaguely pointed to the back of the room. We were in and it was on like Donkey Kong.

At this point, my children were getting restless. I could tell they wanted to take off and disappear into the seething, writhing, squealing, snotty mass of pediatric humanity that is the Mouse’s Hole. I literally dragged them through them the crowds until I got to the “party area” and found our friends. The kids were all there, glassy-eyed and twitchy. The grown-ups all looked like they wanted to hide under the table or self-medicate. The little cups of “money” were handed off and before the kids sprinted away, I went over the ground rules with them one more time.

“Remember – don’t talk to any adults that you don’t know. Check in with me every five minutes. Stay away from mean kids.  Tell me before you go up in the hamster tubes. Tell me as soon as you get out of the hamster tubes. Don’t go to the bathroom alone. And don’t touch your face! Here’s some Purell and for God’s sake be careful.”

And then they were gone…

It took about ten seconds for the panic to set in. You see, I have a disorder that makes me think that every adult that I don’t know is a serial sex offender. And there were hundreds of them and I couldn’t see my children. And it was super noisy. And sort of dark. And everywhere I looked there were kids crying and screaming like Mariah Carey sings and fighting like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. And the parents all looked as whacked out as I felt. And that’s saying something because it was a very diverse group to all be wearing identical expressions of horror.

I eventually tracked my son to the entrance of the slime drenched-hamster tubes. I found his dirty cleats kicked off with the laces still tied but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I looked around for my daughter, suddenly aware that I was drenched in a flop sweat and certain that I was five minutes too late to stop her abduction. Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder and I screamed long and loud as if I’d been bitten by a large, venomous snake. No one noticed. My daughter furtively shoved fistfuls of tickets at me and told me “to guard them with my life” and then darted back out into the crowd.

After that, it was all kind of a blur. I started stress eating the most disgusting pizza in the history of ever. I drank iced tea that tasted like a cross between Chloraseptic and feet.  I debated playing a game of Skeeball but my children apparently could not spare a token.  I finally found my son having his cleats tied by a random dude who was looking around suspiciously. I started to freak out: “What! Did! I! Tell! You! About! Talking! To! Strangers?!” My kid shrugged and darted off. The dad was all: “I’m so sorry. I debated tying his shoes because I thought, his mother is going to think I’m a pedophile, but he asked for help and I didn’t want him to trip and I’m here with my daughter at a birthday party and I swear to God I’m about to lose my mind is it four o’clock yet?” I nodded. We understood each other perfectly. Then we both took off running after our children in opposite directions.

It was suddenly time for cake. I took my kids to that bathroom to wash up. We got as far as the doorway before the stench hit us, followed by my neighbor’s daughter saying: “What. Could. Have. Possibly. Happened. Here?”

We opted for Purell at the table.

When we got back to party area, it was time for the Mouse himself to make his appearance. A row of about six teenagers in red Chuck E Cheese shirts stood up and started doing a group dance. It scared me. The joyless dance of the automaton, the teenagers clapped and stepped in unison with all of the enthusiasm I feel for changing the cat box. Then the Mouse appeared. He seemed to be wearing a Lakers uniform. He went around giving people high fives but I could sense a deep evil coming from his abnormally large head. Who was in that suit? I started to feel like maybe I should attack him and rip his mouse head off so we could see if it was a sex offender under there but then I realized that was crazy.

Then they put the birthday kids, one at a time, into a random plexi-glass contraption called the Ticket Blaster and all hell broke loose. All the children lost their damn minds. If you put me into a phone booth and blew $100 bills around and told me I could keep all the ones I could catch, I would be less excited and happy than the kids who just got to watch someone else grab for tickets.

What is about those tickets? It’s like beads at Mardi Gras. They seem really important until the next morning when all of a sudden you’re like “Whuck? These are tacky plastic beads made in China and I saw some girl commit a misdemeanor to get some.” These kids will do anything to get more tickets. Then they wait for what seems like hours to feed them into the Chomp Chomp Chomp machine and trade them in for… Mardi Gras beads. And stale candy.

And they walk out of the party feeling awesome and happy and jacked up on cake. And I walk out needing a Silkwood-style shower, a nap and a double of Johnny Walker Black. Oh Chuck E… You miserable rat bastard… The kids had the best time ever. Curse you.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

98 comments:

  1. My oldest daughter (who is almost 13) has been to hell that shall be named "Chuck E. Cheese" twice... both when she was two years old. And hasn't been back since. My younger girls (8 & 7) have NEVER been. And I plan on keeping it that way until the end of ever.

    I L*O*A*T*H*E that place.... almost more than the hooker'ish Bratz Dollz and their fetish costumes.

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  2. Around here, we call Chuck E's the "Family Torture Center."
    The human habitrail is in dire need of a hose down with some bleach or antiseptic, and it always feels likie Pedophile Playland. Then there's the Giant Dancing Rat. Barney's got nothing on Chuck.
    Hate. Chuck. E. Cheese.
    The pizza tastes like the floor mats of a '57 Chevy; the screaming turns every mom into Rain Man; and there is simply. not. enough. alcohol. in the average beer to counteract...The Twitch.
    Hate. Chuck. E. Cheese.

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    1. I really have to ask... how is it exactly that you came to know what the floor mats of a 57 Chevy taste like?....

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  3. Every time I read one of your posts, I think, "It's like you are in my head". It is freaky and comfoting all at once. I'm pretty sure I have experienced the EXACT SAME trip to the "Fat Rat" party hell hole of which you write.

    Thank you for keeping it real!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this and making me feel normal, albeit temporarily. You have described basically every experience I've had at CEC and I share those exact same thoughts about all the adults being potential pedophiles! A friend of mine took her kids once and someone had POOPED in the hamster tubes. Purell? Pah! I say radiation suit! If only we could have them all put on sanitary, hypoallergenic coveralls, surgical gloves and astronaut diapers before we release them into the CEC wild...sigh...yes, I suppose that would take away all their germy fun.

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  5. "Satan's Playground." Hahaaaaaaaaaa. I do love the Skeeball game though!

    I went by myself with my 7yr and 3yr which was daunting to me since I can't be in 2 places at once. The lady that greeted and stamped us was rude too. REALLY rude. Like when my 3yr moved away and said no when she tried to stamp him, she said "Oh no, I'm not taking that" and grabbed his leg and stamped that. I told the manager she probably shouldn't be the 1st person the customer encounters...oh and while I thought my 3yr was safely playing in the jungle gym, I went to assist the other with a game. Returned to jungle gym area to find my 3 yr sitting at someone else's table, shoes off, helping himself to their pizza and leftover coke. Good times.

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  6. LOL.....this has to be the best post I've read all day. I was taken back to my little sister's birthday parties and then the first one my daughter went to. Thought I was going to lose my mind.

    Thanks so much for the laugh.

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  7. Went to Chuck E. Cheese once when my kids were very little. My oldest was 6, triplets were 3 and my *then* baby was 2 and I had. a. nervous. breakdown. AND made a blood oath to never go in there again because like you, I see pedophiles everywhere. or serial killers. or just plain mean, crazy ass people.
    So we don't do Chuck E. Cheese.
    And on the same note, since we've moved to the stix, there's no place (I feel is) safe for Halloween so my kids bargained with me that if I buy them whatever candy they want, they'd settle for staying home and watching a dozen movies and eating junk. Win for me!!

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  8. my perfectly normal awesome in everyway got my back always girlfriends actually call me to meet them at Chucks for a child playdate on no-school days - and are continually amazed I will not come because I loathe Chuck even more than I love them.

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  9. My best friend calls him the Pizza Rat. The neighborhood moms and I used to call him Charles Fromage, so the kids wouldn't know what we were talking about. I have a friend who says she attended a bday party at a location that served beer and wine, and the parents had a party all their own. I went around the meal table at one party with Purell, and the kids all held their cupped hands up, which looked like some bizarre religious rite. Ah. So many memories. All thanks to the Pizza Rat.

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  10. I actually hosted my son's 5th birthday party with the rat, and it as the most painless party ever. Walk in, hand off the cake to the teenager and sit back. Granted, we scheduled ours for Sunday morning, so it was just us and two other little Jewish kids having their parties. I've been to parties on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and that would NEVER be an option. Off-peak + a bucket of Purell = easy birthday party.

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  11. Gotta say, I used to feel like that. But then I went to a party on an surprisingly low-key Saturday, and my daughter and I really enjoyed ourselves. a. Yes, I have all my teeth. b. No, my daughter does not have a neck tattoo. c. Yes, I hate Bratz more than I ever thought humanly possible.
    Admittedly, I do not think I could go with all three kids, especially on a normal Saturday, but all in all it seemed like a fun way to blow off some steam and spend $40 for pizza, sodas, candy, and games. And come out being seen as the best mom EVER.
    Gotta get over the severe germ-phobia. As long as they are not licking the stuff, or someone has not POOPED in the hamster tubes, wash your hands and live your life.

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  12. Ok, I have to admit that on the occasional weekday I have been known to take my kids there, but on weekends that place is the gate to hell. And why oh why does that place attract all the hooker teenagers in the area?

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  13. I am so scared of Chuck E Cheese. Seriously. Like you, I just assume everyone else is a total pedophile. Even the super nice neighbor guy who works at the church because I SAW THE MOVIE ON LIFETIME!!!

    Ahem. Sorry.

    Glad you survived to tell this story and make me laugh. :)

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  14. I have never been to a chuck e cheese! Thank you for reinforcing my general thoughts on the subject I had so many years ago.

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  15. we recently went to a similar place....a ChuckE wanna be place. My 6 yr old was in heaven, my 5 yr old cried when the laser tag vest was too big and reached his toes...making it hard to play the damn game. The freaking thoughts that went through my mind the whole time we were at the bday party...were EXACTLY what you said!! Everyone and his brother was a freak - waiting to grab my children and sneak off. I could NOT wait for that afternoon to END! Needless to say, it was a few cocktails later that night when I finally calmed down. whew. NEVER again.

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  16. We just simply call it 'hell'. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese when I was 17...they never, ever sanitized the games and equipment as long as I was there. We were told to tell customers that it was sanitized every night after closing. I also remember one time I opened and the place stunk. It turned out they left the cheese out since the evening before and it had gone rancid. Yup, they still cooked with it. The manager said something about 'sticking to the budget'. I quit a few weeks after that. True story, iswearit. Chuck E. can kiss my ass, he's never getting a penny off of me.

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  17. Thanks for the warning--I will avoid the place! Luckily people with kids my little one's age (3) seem to prefer the bouncy gyms or Gymboree for parties, which have been okay.

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  18. The nearest Chuck E. Cheese to my neck of the woods is 4 hours away! It's been years since i have had to take my kids.Thankgoodness!

    My one and only tip to ensure your kids will check in with you on a regular basis is to strategically dole out the tokens...give them 3 or 4 and they have to come back for more....

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  19. We have trained our children well...at 5 and 3, anyone mentions Chuck E. Cheese and they both respond, "No way! That's a germ factory, we would NEVER go there!"

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  20. Oh I am soooo glad someone else calls them the habitrails too...

    The other weekend we went to CEC...the "quiet" one that *doesn't* sell alcohol. I had been so stressed the whole week, that when we went I. Actually. RELAXED. I could see The Boy(tm) and the parents (and I took a head count of anyone who looked suspicious) and, at that moment, I wished they sold alcohol.

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  21. Our CEC has its own full-time police presence. Seriously. And it's not for the kids, but for the parents! My stepkids finally stopped asking to go there when I explained to them that any kids' place that requires a police escort is out of the question.

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  22. I've had my kids' parties at The Rat Palace as we call it. I don't buy their party. I bring my own cake which I make to my kids' specifications, we get coupons online and buy pizza and tokens and drinks for everyone...and just let everyone have a good time. I always have their parties at 10 on a Saturday morning and it's lovely and quiet and there's no waiting in lines at all. They open at 9 and sometimes there are still a few tickets sticking out of lots of the machines from when they started them up in the morning, which the kids run around and collect madly..heh. It gets busier around 11:30 or so but by then our kids have already had pizza and are working on presents and cake and then we give them all more tokens (the key is LOTS OF TOKENS FOR EVERYONE! hehe) and the people can leave when they want to/run out of tokens. They cash in their tickets for cotton candy and plastic fantastic toys and head home happy. Yes, it's loud. Yes it can be a germ fest. Yes it gets really old when your friend's car won't start and you don't feel like you can leave her there alone with her kids so you watch her kids while her and her husband and your husband try to start the car and you run out of tokens and the kids are whining that they want to go and where's my mom and do you have any more tokens and you assure them that it won't be long and really it's been a freaking hour and finally you cave and buy a few more tokens just so you won't get carted off to the loony bin...but hey...the kids had a blast and that's what's important...at least to me. :)

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  23. I LOVE THIS! I HATE that place too...it sounds like as much as you. I have never taken my kids. I went a few times before I had kids with my niece and nephews and was convinced it was a place of the devil. We have one very close to a shopping center that we frequent and my almost six year old has recently starting asking "when can we go to that place?" I think it is because they advertise on PBSKIDS although it doesn't actually say what the place is on the advertisement. My friend and I also call it "Charles' House of Fromage" to disguise when we talk about it. I prefer the gym type places for birthday parties so the kids can run their sugar off. If it is up to me(and saying never is a no no in Mommyland) we will NEVER have a party there.

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  24. I actually worked at Chuck E Cheese for 3 years while I was in high school. Trust me... the beer is necessary (hard liquor might have been nice too, but remember it's mostly high school and college kids who work there...)! And there is nothing quite like working an 8 or 12 hour shift during the Christmas season where you hear Chuck E singing Christmas carols on a 30 minute loop... Glad you survived! :o)

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  25. Yuck! I'm so glad you survived! I am completely grossed out by that place. The first time we went there my oldest got chicken pox. The second and final time we all got the flu...and my youngest slid through barf in the slide coming out of the hampster tubes. Oh, let's not talk about how much I want to yell at the parents of the mean kids either! Sorry crazy parents, but my kids will NOT be attending parties at that yucky place EVER!

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  26. This needs to be immediately listed in the Fave Posts! I. Hate. The Rat. Also, I had no idea they served beer. I bet it's the worst beer in the history of ever, too.

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  27. My younger son has called it "Chocolate Jesus" (say it fast...go on..) since he could talk...we just drive on by and say "Boy...no one is saving you there..."

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  28. I told my kids that CEC was only open if it was somebody's birthday party, and there was a waiting list for years to get in. Too bad for us! I threw away every party invitation my kids got that involved that place. They are 11 and 10 now, and I think they still believe my little fib!

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  29. When I finally got pregnant at 41, I went to Chuck's by myself!! to be around the kids and relive the good times of childhood. How sick is that?! All kidding aside, I'll be less likely to worry about somebody molesting my kid in the 2 hours we are at Chuck's than if I let her go to the neighbors without me. Childhood experiences tell me that she's more at risk from the people we know who our parents think are nice. Now, have a nice day! ;)

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  30. One just opened near us a year ago and my "wonderful" sister told Mr Bean she would take him there for his 4th birthday last year. UGH Thank goodness her visit then was cut short and we had already planned and prepped him for the places we would eat with her. Now we just keep saying your Aunt would be so upset if we took you there without her. Hehehehe.

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  31. I so love when they get to the tween /semi responsible stage and I can take them to Dave and Busters instead... the adult chuck e cheese.. Better food, better drinks, better games... Still the damn tickets. Can't wait till they drive and can bring me home.

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  32. Get out of my head! Thanks for reminding me why I rented the town fire hall for this year's party. Yes it's more work, but I will leave with my sanity and a belly full of pizza that tasted delicious.

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  33. I have a C.E.Cheese secret- you go at 9am on Saturday mornings and all the cretins and snail trail babies are still watching Disney. Then you leave by 11am when everyone has finally gotten out of their weekend stupor and decided to head out to C.E.Cheese. It's not as heinous at that time. My 3 yr old's bribe for pooping on the potty was C.E.Cheese and it worked!! So I love it there!!!

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  34. lmao at this one...yep, that's pretty much it ;)

    I HATE HATE HATE Chuck E Cheese. My almost 7 year old wants her birthday there this year. I tell her "maybe" (which to me "maybe" = not a shot in hell, kid)

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  35. I agree, this one needs to go right into the favs ;)

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  36. When my husband & I had been dating for about a month and we (I) decided that things were getting serious, I laid down my ground rules:
    1) religious stuff
    2) I will never ever go to a Chuck E. Cheese, that is the man's job.
    We don't have kids yet but he definitely agreed to this. I'll keep you posted on my success. I truly felt that this was something too important not to discuss before marriage.

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  37. Over here we call it the House of the Rat. My daughter says sadly as we drive by...mommy won't let us eat there because they have rats. I feel like everyone there is either a disgusting germ factory or a pedophile too!

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  38. Chuck E Cheese was an evil spell cast by adult(s) with no children who want to torture parents. Nuff said.

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  39. the CEC we go to (yes, we go, no, we are not hillbillies) is in a ritzy (think million dollar homes on the waterfront) neighborhood, was just completely remodeled, has never had more than 3 or 4 other families there at the same time as us, and does NOT have anyone dressed like the rat himself. Overall it's not a bad experience. Just don't eat the food :P maybe I live in an alternate universe.... my 3 kids like it there, but prefer bullwinkle's family fun center - which I think is worse. multi-level, scores of teens and creepy grown-ups, indoor AND outdoor games.... the kids must be attached to me at all times when we go there or I start to panic.

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  40. My fav Chuck E. story came from my husband who agreed to take Daniel. I offered him a xanax but he stupidly declined. When he came home, he looked like he had been through Againistan, totally dazed and disturbed. So he tells me he saw this parent and that parent and everyone was talking on their phones. Then he told me about a woman who was talking on the phone and picking her wedgie. I'm thinking, OK, tacky, but stuff happens, man, what's the big deal? "It was a front wedgie." Okay, GROSS. "And she stuck her hand down her pants to fix it." VOMITTTTTTTTTTTTT. "And then she grabbed a slice of pizza and started eating it." That's when I fainted.

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    1. @Lisa Gaffaney How old was she? Thats actually kinda hot. Too bad he didnt get a pic lol.

      I havent been to this place since i was 12 years old back in 2005.

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  41. The CEC near me...they serve beer.

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  42. Personally, it's really not so bad if you get there early and get out before the crowds arrive. It's the cleanest and the least noisey. And you can keep an eye on your kids with out having to tag them with a tracking device.

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  43. Took my son to Chuck-E-Cheese last Sunday night for the first time. In the brief hour or so we were there I saw a father give his approximately 8 or 9-year-old boy a drink from his beer, had our skee ball tickets stolen by a boy's father playing next to us and watched a child's mother encourage...no...demand that her daughter repeatedly walk down the skee-ball lane and put each ball in the 10,000 hole. Nothing like a little clean family fun on a Sunday night!

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  44. Appreciated the varied comments here. I am more in agreement with those who think we have less to worry about in CEC on the whole pedophile front than we do, sadly, about some of our neighbors and people we think are "safe". Plus, like all CEC and pseudo CEC places, you simply go at off-peak hours, make sure everybody washes their hands well, stays away from mean kids, says excuse me, and then you just let the kids go, check in every five to ten minutes and enjoy yourself some skeeball! At the end of your few hours there, you are a hero, your kids are tired, and the rest of the day is relaxing! Go Mom!

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  45. To Anonymous: I am now forever going to call it "Chocolate Jesus". That is awesome!

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  46. This is hysterical! I have the same sex offender phobia too!
    Why does it feel like it takes 2 days to wash the ick off after going to a place like this?
    We have a Chuck E Cheese and a Incredible Pizza (thank goodness no giant mascot types here) so it's a double whammy in our neck of the woods.

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  47. Sign me up as a minority. I LOVE Chuck E. Cheese. We have had several birthdays there - always at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. And - we still go (boys are 8 and 12) once in a blue moon on a week night (Wednesdays are good) so they can play video games. Ours has a salad bar that is decent, we get meatball subs, and they have Bud Light on draught for me.

    It's just not that bad. I don't fear pedophiles there (or anywhere, actually), the boys have to strip and bathe when we get home, and I can easily drink my beer and play games on my phone while they run around like maniacs. As it's 110 here for 7 months out of the year - it's one of my favorite places to go.

    And dude. I love SMOKING my boys at air hockey.

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  48. I'd rather dip my kids in petri dish of pink eye than spend 5 minutes there. Ick.

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  49. I remember hearing a song about 12 years ago called Chuck E. Cheese Hell. It was sung by some guy on the John Boy and Billy Radio Show.

    Great Song, made me never want to go.

    You guys make me laugh out loud when I read your posts!

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  50. We live within walking distance of one of these things. So far the kids haven't noticed it.

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  51. I once took my friends' kids to Chuck E. Cheese. There was no parking in sight so my husband dropped me and the kids off near the door and drove off to find parking. The kids and I made it past the "bouncer", got stamped, and went in before my hubby made it back to us. I figured they'd never let my husband in alone since what business does a man have going by himself to a kids place? (Not that he looks like a sex offender but still, why would Chuck E Cheese let in a grown man?). Lo and behold, they let him in NO QUESTIONS ASKED. I thought it was bizarre and have never taken my own kids to Chuck E Cheese! I am terrified of sex offenders and predators!

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  52. Oh I just had such seriously bad flashbacks from reading this!!! Thank God my kids are 13 now and WAY too cool to go see the mouse from hell.

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  53. I've convinced my children that CEC gives you a stomach virus so now birthday invitations are greeted with "oh no, we can't go, we'll get sick!" Oops.

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  54. Chuckie's is a little slice of hell. It's a once a year thing for us on a rainy day when it's too early for me to drink. Now that I have read a previous post from a former employee, I'm certain I've seen the end of those days. Thank you for the insight..and a good laugh! Oh, Lydia- LUV the pic!

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  55. anyone who goes there and lets their kids "run wild" while they text on their phone is insane. I mean....I've seen the same thing at the grocery store! wow...I personally think we can NEVER be too careful around our children. Who cares if we seem too protective....I mean hey, there were 4 (yes FOUR!!!) Amber alerts in the past 2 wks. Need I go into details people???

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  56. I just love when parents are too busy trying to get tickets of their own (they come with bags of tickets from previous outings) they do not watch their kids stealing coins from other kids. Or the kids that will come right and tell you they have no coins they want some of yours.

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  57. This post is genius. I didn't even laugh it was so good – like it went beyond laugh and broke the sound barrier.
    Do not pass go, do not collect $200, send this post directly to faves.
    I need to lie down.

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  58. The first time I went to Chuck's House another parent handed me a bottle of Advil.

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  59. I dont think it is possible for me to love a blog post more. I laughed through the whole thing then made my husband listen to me read it, but I laughed so hard again, I think I just irritated him. Ha!

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  60. Where the hell are these Chuck E Cheeses that serve beer? Because they are not where I live! I have always said that if that place were to serve cocktails, it might be just this side of bearable. But, no. They are not.

    I can proudly say that I haven't stepped foot in one in YEARS. My kids have even stopped asking. Heh.

    Also, seriously, my word ver is "fugnons." Awesome.

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  61. Amen, Alleluia & pass the Purell!! My older kids have been twice & caught some kind of special cross-breed mad chicken/mad cow disease that only comes from "Chuck's special place" both times! Now even they will tell you "Mommy doesn't let us go there because we get sick"

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  62. Thank Maude we are finally out of that stage, for the most part....my boys called it Chunky Jesus and that's what it has stayed...

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  63. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese for two summers and it was a hell hole. Kids puking on the floor and peeing in the ball-crawl. One of the employees was dealing drugs out of the bathroom. We had mice in the kitchen and discovered maggots in the pizza dough. And out of the two Chuck E. Cheeses in town, the one I worked at was considered the "nice" one.

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  64. I actually hosted my son's third birthday at Chuck E Cheese (I'll pause for a second so you can all mentally assault me. I know, I deserve it. Feel better now?) and to make matters even worse... (wait for it)... I took my kids there when my daughter was only a week old. Yes, a newborn. At Chuck E Cheese.

    I'm going to hell, aren't I? :-/

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  65. And this is exactly why I am terrified about the party we have to go to at Chuck E Cheese at the end of the month, literally TERRIFIED... You did nothing to calm my fears. I was going to send my husband alone, but no, no, no, now I cannot do that!

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  66. Hey there. I'm a friend of Mel's and she sent me your link. I guess this is what I missed out on this year since we live a little too far away to attend birthday parties nowadays??? (Australia)

    Glad you survived.

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  67. instantmom(justaddring)November 2, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    My now 11 year old's preschool days were filled with birthday parties at CEC, and we even had one of his birthday parties there. EVERY SINGLE TIME we went, each & every one of my kids (now 11, 4 & almost 2) came down with some heinous illness - hand-foot-mouth, stomach vomitus flu, super-mucus sinus/ear infections, pink-eye, and the like. Our last visit was followed by my then-toddler's trip to the ER and 3-day stay in the hospital for croup.
    We will Never. Go. Again.
    On the plus side, the one near us did have pretty decent pizza, and beer & wine (necessary for the nerves).
    It's in a nearby shopping center, and every time we pass it, the 11-yr-old asks if we can go. The 4-yr-old reminds him that it is a "sickie germ-fest" and we can't ever go back there.

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  68. We got our first Chuck E Cheese birthday party invite a few months ago (for a 3 year old, which I thought was nuts anyway). My BFF and I agreed to go against our religion (it has but one commandment: No Chuck) and go together for moral support. Imagine my "dismay" when my son came down terribly sick the day before the party. When I heard from my BFF, she had been trapped there for THREE HOURS with her 18 month old, and they hadn't even done the birthday cake yet.

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  69. I was one of those teenagers in red...for 5 years during high school and college...I win :)

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  70. Why would anyone make a rat the mascot of an eating establishment?

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  71. I have the same disorder where I think every adult I don't know is a serial sex offender - and actually some I DO know. I thought I was the only one who was this crazy. Love you girls. Keep it up!

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  72. Thank God we don't have that kind of tortuous sh*t in Scotland - sounds abysmal :-)

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  73. My 5 yr old son did not want to leave after the party was over. I ended up carrying him out while he screamed at his very loudest "she's not my mommy"!! Never will return!!

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  74. I am so thankful that I live 100 miles from this place. But seriously, does anyone just say no to bday parties? I do.

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  75. Thanks for once again making my husband look at me like I am mentally disturbed as I maniacally laugh/cry at one of your posts!

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  76. OMG I just found your blog following the Momastery guest post....I think I just peed myself, I'm laughing so hard Im crying...hahahahahahaha!

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  77. Depends on the Chuck E. Cheese location, the workers, and how the parents handle their children. Otherwise, I always have a great time there going to my cousin's BDAY parties in the past.

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  78. I'm visiting from The Dose of Reality and you are hilarious!!! OMG. I think my favorite line was about 7 year-olds getting neck tattoos. That is awesome. My twins are only 4 and so far I have avoided the Cheese monster. I hope it can last a lifetime!!!

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  79. I have managed to stay as far away from Chuck E. Cheese's with my kids, but know I am on borrowed time and it is only a matter of time before I get sucked into that a tractor beam to have to take them there. They had a birthday party for two separate kids at local places similar with tickets and coins and such and they were totally addicted, so trust me this will so be my fate! God help me!!

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  80. You have captured the horror that is Chuck E Cheese perfectly! Everytime my kids get an invite for one of those parties I slip them a $100 bill and say "We have "obligations" that day. Right?"
    Money well spent.

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  81. It's probably bad that one of my major take-aways from this is that they sell beer there--I did NOT KNOW THIS! Love you gals!

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  82. I only need to hear the words Chuck E Cheese and I break out in a rash!! You explain it perfectly!! I have always enjoyed your blog but this is the first time I'm leaving a comment. I am coming to you through the amazing Dose Girls!!

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  83. I've been there once. NEVER. AGAIN. Thankfully the closest one is several towns away so I don't remember too many parties being held there. And fortunately for me, my kids have outgrown the place!

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  84. It is totally like a kiddie casino. My son loves the games that don't give tickets. I am so glad. I don't need more treasures.

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  85. LOVE LOVE LOVE LAUGHING OUT LOUD LOVE!!!!! OMgosh- you NAILED it!!! One time only- like Michelle. NEVER ever EVER again!! Because of everything YOU said.
    SO glad Ashley and Lisa sent us over!
    I love you 'almost' as much as they do! :)

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  86. LOVE this!! I love the kid casino analogy, and so far...thank goodness, I have been able to avoid this place....please pray I still can!!

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  87. LOL! Parents have a universal feeling about Chuck E., huh?! There is no better way to describe the Chuck E. experience for parents, than this post! I swear I;m sharing it until it can be shared no more!

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  88. Ashley and Lisa sent me. I am so glad to say that the closest CEC is two hours away...much too far for us to drive!!!

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  89. The gals at the Dose of Reality sent me your way. This, this is why my kids have NEVER been to Chuck E. Cheese and will never go...If I can help it. I went there once as a child - once - and *I* never wanted to go again! Totally scarred me for life! It is creepy, it is smelly, and the pizza is NASTY, though the skeeball was fun! I am totally with you that there is something off about Chuck E. I do not think it is a coincidence that he has the same name as the creepy doll in the horror movies...Yah, you know which one I mean. *shivers* (Never saw those either - the trailers were enough as well as the recaps I got via word-of-mouth.) Anyway, yah...That totally sounds like an accurate description of the place. Thanks for reminding me why I decided to never take the kids and strengthening my resolve!

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  90. Lol I call him the mouse and I do not attend any parties there on Fridays or Saturdays I can't stand that place.

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  91. My son is only two so we haven't yet partied with Chuck. Thanks for scaring me literally "to death." By the way, I made my way to you via the Dose Girls. Great read, thanks!

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  92. They don't serve beer at ours and I wouldn't have thought to take MY pic in the booth. That was hysterical!! Love the look on your face, Cousin! ;)

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  93. Best line ever: "Silkwood-type shower". I cannot stand Chuck E Cheese and have managed to keep my younger three away from there after my oldest caught a nasty case of Rotovirus from a birthday party there. This was seriously spot on of the last time I was there. It's the same at every single one. Great post. And he is a rat bastard!

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  94. This was great! I laughed for at least 10 minutes straight at the sketch alone with the cup. What a hilarious tale of a rathouse called Chuck E Cheese. We did visit quite often this summer, but it taught my toddler to walk and so for that I am grateful. Everything was at his level and I just made sure to bring plenty of wet ones and did scrub-a-dub dub in the bathroom sinks every 15 minutes. This was so funny though, you NAILED it! They do need to host a seminar on cleanliness over there.

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  95. I have read this post 3 times now over the course of a couple of years. Whenever a mom brings up Chuck E Cheese, I read this post again and send it on to said mom. It is my favorite post in the history of ever. I cry every time. Thank you. You are a genius.

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  96. I went to chuck e cheese once and when I walked inside a clown that smelled like beer said "it's party time" and later they found his corpse in the back alley

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