Years ago I wrote a post about how the bad design of Chuck E Cheese made it difficult for me to keep track of my (then very young kids), and how I thought this was kind of a flaw:
I spent the several hours feeling like Marlin in Finding Nemo– in a vaguely threatening environmnent, wondering where my kids had gone. But I finally figured out what bothers me about the place. Not the fact that Chuck E Cheese combines the noise level of a Metallica concert, the franticness of the Filene’s Basement wedding dress sale, and the visual stimulation of the Akihabara; nor that their pizza is terrible and overpriced.
Actually, all those things do irritate me.
But what makes me feel like there’s something actually dangerous about the place is that it’s almost impossible to know where your kids are and what they’re doing.
This post generated a certain amount of hate mail, as well as some comments agreeing (usually for different reasons) that Chuck E Cheese was evil. So I was heartened to see Bob Cook post this in True/Slant:
If you have children in sports, or children of any sort, you probably already know about the hell that can be Chuck E. Cheese, where the ad tagline says it’s a place where a kid can be a kid, but leaves out that a parent can be a fucking maniac. Watching their kid at a ballgame can bring out the worst in some parents, but even close access to weaponry such as hockey sticks or baseball bats does not bring out the level of mayhem as close access to animatronic rodents and lousy pizza.
Turns out that, according to a Wall Street Journal article Cook cites, “Law-enforcement officials say alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children’s birthday parties make the restaurants more prone to disputes than other family entertainment venues.”
Ah, the memories….