I worked at a Chuck E Cheese's in Long Island City from January 2011 to June 2012. I also spent the prior six months at a location in my hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. So go on, ask me anything.

And if this isn't enough proof, I still have my nametag. EDIT: attempting to upload proof. Sit tight.

EDIT: here we go. Finally. http://imgur.com/iy036xf

EDIT: holy smokes, this thread blew up. Trying to get to everyone. My fingers are sore and I have work at 5. If you post a sensible question, I'll answer it, whether it be now or after I get off. Thanks everyone!

EDIT EDIT: It's time for work. Thanks everyone for your questions. Really, I appreciate them. I get off about 11.15 and I'll be back to answer more! Keep the questions on a roll - I have tomorrow off ;)

EDIT EDIT EDIT: Work is over, time for more questions! I started today with 860 comment karma and now have 24 000... thanks everyone!

EDITx4: As about 20 people have asked this, I thought I'd address it here: We did not have a ball pit. Please no trolls asking if we had a ball pit. Thanks. :)

EDITx5: I think I've gotten to everyone. Feel free to post again if you feel you didn't get a good enough answer, but for now, it's four in the morning, and thus, bedtime. After a nine hour AMA and over 28 000 comment karma... good night, and thanks to everyone that posted questions!

EDITx6: Pictures!

toilet picture: http://imgur.com/NyuhSpp

Found in the skytubes: http://imgur.com/cZOfcEs

Me: http://imgur.com/x5PenXP

Comments: 2941 • Responses: 85  • Date: 

Trav_O1041 karma

Were you ever injured on the job? I'm a former employee myself from CA. I once had a 5-6 year old throw a skee ball at the back of my head while working on the game and had to go to the hospital for a concussion.

thehoove969 karma

I've seen that happen to a few people, and I've gotten really close to the skee ball incident. The worst thing that ever happened to me was when glass shattered all over me. I'll post a link to the aftermath...

if I can ever find one. Hang tight.

EDIT: here. http://imgur.com/Qp6b0bl

no_were_musicians365 karma

How did that happen?

thehoove793 karma

I took the glass out of the game to clean it and it just shatters. I remember watching the cracks scatter throughout the pane and the technical manager stop playing Guitar Hero and say 'What did you do?'

sonofaresiii1126 karma



Crack crack crackcrackcrackcrack

"I've made a huge mistake."

thehoove602 karma

It was instantaneous. It almost looked like slow motion for a split second...

Hipster_Troll29100 karma

Looks like you veered more than off course....and into the real world.

thehoove421 karma

It's the only car accident I've ever suffered when on the second floor of a building.

Hipster_Troll29139 karma

I hate to tell you this, but you didn't survive. The fact you no longer work at Chuck E. Cheese is proof enough. Enjoy this fiery inferno!

thehoove265 karma


Eat_a_Bullet39 karma

What the fuck?

thehoove102 karma

Yeah, the glass just shattered all over me. Only sustained slight nicks and cuts, but the glass was about $100 to replace.

YourFavoriteDumbass40 karma

Did you have to pay to replace it?

thehoove123 karma

Nope. Business expense. :)

sonofaresiii808 karma

I'm really sad that every time I went to Chuck E. Cheese my only goal was to find the game that gave out the most tickets and win the biggest cheap plastic crap prize available.

Only now do I realize my parents could have just bought the stupid whistle or whatever from a gumball machine and I should have been having fun.

I don't have a question.

thehoove325 karma

Well, sometimes you have to learn stuff the hard way. :)

CrushedMelon771 karma

I worked at a Discovery Zone during the summer after 8th grade in like 1996. I remember a fifty or sixty year old man came in alone and started playing like he was a kid; he played the games, he went down the slide, and so on. It freaked all the kids out until he finally left, but at that point most of the families had already fled. Did you ever have a situation like this when you worked at Chuck E. Cheese's?

thehoove742 karma

Well, we had a retarded guy once... we think his parents brought him in to play the games until they returned from wherever they were going. He started to freak out some parents because he looked 30 and just sat there and stared at things. We had to call the cops to remove him...

spartyballs696 karma

how was the milf situation?

thehoove907 karma

Oh, we saw a few. Hell, I even had a few coworkers that were like that...

BFit815683 karma

What's your most memorable customer and why.

thehoove1841 karma

One kid who was brought along on a school trip (or something) had his name on the collar of his shirt. He was playing a game called Robin Hood, so I asked him, 'David (or whatever his name was), did you hit the apple yet?' He turned around and said 'You remember me!!!' and gave me a big hug. Thing was, I didn't think I'd ever seen the kid before in my life. Apparently, he had been there before and I'd interacted with him, but I didn't remember a damn thing about him.

Im-a-goose2006 karma

Most memorable customer:

"David (or whatever his name was)"

thehoove1210 karma

We didn't really have any regulars.

Sluggerknuckles728 karma

David here. Why did you never call?!

thehoove898 karma

Your number wasn't on the back of your shirt like your name! Be more prepared next time!

kittyswinkinganus561 karma

That's why you don't put your kids names on their clothes. "David your father told me to give you a ride home in my van."

thehoove566 karma

Typically, NY kids are smarter than that...

BFit815126 karma

Or are you "David's" long lost father

thehoove384 karma

Seeing as how the kid was black and I'm white, unlikely. :P

Anewblanket514 karma

I used to love Chuck E Cheese as a kid. When I was 4 or 5 I found a $100 bill under a machine while crawling around on the floor. I turned it into the manager and he told me I could keep it if no one claimed it before I left.

He gave it to my mom before when we left. Bitch spent it on a purse.

thehoove286 karma

What a bitch. :P I found $300 in a wallet once at work, but someone claimed it.

PM-ME-YOUR-TITS508 karma

Has there ever been a time where a parent or child made you want to throw a tantrum of your own?

thehoove984 karma

Quite a few times. We had a family order eight pizzas and then complain that they weren't ready yet - after FIVE MINUTES.

Mantan1701378 karma

Them time traveling families are pains in the asses! Always expecting pizza to be ready in 2 minutes in the 21st Century!

thehoove436 karma

Coming to you new on the Cartoon Network, it's the Indian Jetsons

Pyro_drummer429 karma

What's your best story?

thehoove749 karma

I was standing there talking with a manager one Saturday afternoon when this kid runs up to us doing the potty dance and goes 'Mister, mister, where's your bathroom?!?' Jorge, the manager, points him in the right direction. The kid gets TWO steps, stops and goes 'Too late!' Luckily, he was standing on carpet, so we didn't have to clean up the spray...

Pyro_drummer364 karma

You didn't clean it up after?

thehoove588 karma

Well, it was carpet. There's not much you can do for carpet. We sprayed orange cleaner on it, but...

barnacledoor930 karma

aww, man... so nasty. now i just imagine all Chuck E Cheese carpets are soaked in piss and orange cleaner.

thehoove848 karma

CEC policy forbids mopping/vacuuming while guests are present.

barnacledoor632 karma

God that's so nasty. They're willing to be disgusting and unclean just so they avoid giving the image of being disgusting and unclean.

thehoove331 karma

We did have ways around it, but they weren't nearly as effective. In this case, I think we deck brushed it...

barnacledoor155 karma

Would you bring your kids there after having worked there or do you just find it too nasty?

thehoove403 karma

It's not as bad as you think. The games are cleaned nightly and there's just not that much stuff going on. However, I wouldn't during flu season - too much risk.

wishingaway123384 karma

Did you ever have to dress up as Chuck E? Any unruly parents who would freak out if their child didn't win a ton of tickets or anything?

thehoove690 karma

Yeah, I was the default Chuck E. Initially, the GM didn't want me in the suit cos I'm so tall (6'4") but later relented when there was no one else. I usually did the birthday parties which, if you've ever been to one, you have to feel for the guy in the suit. I had my share of punches aimed at the crotch.

I did get bitched out by one lady for "stealing" 14 tickets from her kid whom I had caught cheating on the skeeball lanes. Other than that, the parents usually recognised the games were fair.

uncoolmike00430 karma

Please tell tell me you "stole" the tickets dressed as Chuck E Cheese!

thehoove556 karma

Hah, that would have been sweet. I despised that mouse.

Treop297 karma

As someone who is also the "default Chuck" for parties, I feel your crotch pain. And your inevitable torrential sweat.

thehoove488 karma

The GM always wanted me because I'd dance and jump around like a fool. And every time someone wanted a picture, I'd pull the Vulcan salute (as best I could with only four fingers.) And I just remembered this - as the dance, I always used to do American football referee signals. I told a few people about it after they watched me do it a few times, and when they saw it they laughed their asses off. I twas great.

Treop218 karma

Oh yeah dude, you've gotta have fun with it. There are people that I work with that down-right hate that part of the job, and then mope around as Chuck E. It's a job that had to be done, so why not try to enjoy it by acting like a fool?

Edit: I accidentally nisspelled a word

thehoove224 karma

Absolutely. Make the kid smile, and the job is somewhat worth it.

TheOnlyUsernameLeft3162 karma

You revoked his tickets for cheating? Hardcore.

thehoove238 karma

Oh, he wasn't the only one. I caught a few by hiding behind Rubble Bubble and watching them. I caught one kid who then claimed he'd given them to someone else. So I said, okay, finish this up and then we'll go find him. He turned to the guy next to him and said, all right, give me the tickets. Over 200 just by cheating.

fite_me_irl_fgt48 karma

What the hell is protocol for little kids trying to pop your nuts? Do you just keep calm, or what?

thehoove153 karma

Double over in pain and try to keep the head on.

standardb361 karma

Whats the most $$$ anyone has spent at Chuck E Cheese's ?

thehoove623 karma

Well over $500. They had an extremely lavish birthday party... and that wasn't even counting the cash they spent on the gifts.

KaktusDan825 karma

TIL that Chuckie Cheese = "lavish".

thehoove482 karma

Pffft, well, lavish for Chuck's, that is.

FullMoonHeart356 karma

What's the biggest "this-is-bullshit" moment you've had?

thehoove567 karma

In the suit one day, group of bratty kids surrounding me, coworkers oblivious and the kids have me down to my knees trying to pull the damned gloves off. Blargh. Only five minutes later did the parents intervene.

FullMoonHeart245 karma

What's your biggest "win" moment? :)

thehoove846 karma

I used to love to pretend to trip when delivering pizzas. I got one lady to scream cos she thought I was gonna drop her pepperoni on her head!

obey_giant308 karma

What's the best prize any kid won / could win?

thehoove557 karma

IIRC, the biggest prize we had was some Disney Wii-lookalike for 10 000 tickets. And we actually had someone get it. They had saved their tickets for 5 years and had something like 13 000 tickets...

hurf_mcdurf263 karma

Wii-lookalike? So it was a fake console or what?

thehoove344 karma

Something like that. I didn't get a good look at the box.

eaefelipe298 karma

What's the biggest party you guys have ever had?

thehoove665 karma

We once had an offer for $100 000 to shut down the place for an entire day and hold one big party. We had to turn it down, because, well, you know, corporate fairness.

22 kids was the other biggest.

Very_legitimate270 karma

Corporate fairness?

thehoove568 karma

It would be unfair to all the other kids just because some rich brat decides he wants a Chuck E Cheese's for the day.

monstersaur679 karma

isn't that the point of capitalism?

thehoove445 karma

I suppose so, but they still didn't allow it.

AlphabetAlphabets256 karma

What was your skeeball highscore?

thehoove546 karma

With the top score being 90 000, I achieved a score of 82 000. Meaning I hit the 1 000 ring 8 out of 9 times.

AbsentK177 karma

I worked at one back in my high school years, too! I could never get that coveted perfect game, I got 8 in the 100k a few times but that last one always eluded me.

thehoove171 karma

My best game was the NFL Quarterback drill. Top score was 1350 or so.

AbsentK197 karma

Star wars arcade trilogy for me. I could beat that quarter muncher on a single credit and always held the top score.

thehoove134 karma

We didn't have that game, but i think they had it in Harlem.

topazviper255 karma

I used to love the animatronics at Chuck-E-Cheese/ShowBiz. I even watched the documentary (The Rock-afire Explosion). Did you ever have to work on the animatronics? Are they updated with cool new computer software/hardware?

thehoove457 karma

I always tried to convince the technical manager to let me help, and eventually he did. We had a 32-movement Chuck E, and it's a lot to take care of, especially when kids climb inside and tear off his damned eyebrows...

TJames484220 karma

OP..I just want to formally apologize. I'm 20, and probably like 16 or 17 years ago I threw a tantrum in a CEC over a prize. feels bad man.

thehoove247 karma

Ain't no thang, man. We all have our moments.

Elim_Tain216 karma

What is the grossest thing you've come across? I'm guessing plenty of poop and vomit from the kiddies; give us something out of the ordinary. I'm guessing some high-class parents having some marital fun in the bouncy house?

thehoove345 karma

Disregarding bodily fluids (which takes out 90% of the gross stuff) we found many empty beers, wines, even sake one time. (We were a location that didn't serve alcohol.) Never caught anyone mid-coitus, probably due to a lack of said bouncy house. But including bodily fluids, there was the time a kid dropped trou and went down the slide...

Sleep_For_Dummies671 karma

Yeah, we had a kid shit himself in the sky-tubes and then take off his diaper and then continue to crawl around up there. I was lucky enough to be tasked with wrangling up the little naked shit-covered kid AND going on a search-and-destroy mission for all of the shit-streaks he left in the tubes.

Then I went and got a new job the next day.

edit: Obligitory thanks for the gold! The experience that I had as a 16-year-old has now officially paid off.

thehoove94 karma

I don't blame you in the least. Some days suck...

Sleep_For_Dummies116 karma

I could handle it a lot better now, but I was 16 then. Honestly I didn't hate it.

I enjoyed being Chuck and dancing on stage...I enjoyed helping kids who got screwed 'cause the machine ate their coins or jammed their tickets...I enjoyed eating discounted CEC pizza.

One of my biggest problems I had was that the Showroom Attendants got paid more than we did, PLUS tips from the parties, AND we had to cover their sections while they were doing parties. Never saw any of that cheddar even though I always knocked a Chuck performance out of the park.

But the poop...that broke something inside of me. I went and got a job at KBToys the next day. I worked there until they went out of business. I would still work there if they hadn't. To this day it holds the title of best job ever.

thehoove63 karma

Yeah, the showroom girls were privileged and they knew it, too. I did get a few tips from being Chuck E, but not as much as they did.

Scraps20194 karma

Any fights you heard of?

thehoove456 karma

Oh dear God yes. It seems like we had one every Saturday night. One was so bad I saw my coworkers grabbing pizza cutters in order to defend themselves. People get so worked up over their little brats...

chaigers260 karma

I need a back story on this fight bad enough to warrant pizza cutters.

thehoove331 karma

Three big Italian guys going at it. And I mean big, as in bigger than I and outweighing me by at least 50 pounds.

F15t9unch916 karma

Using pizza cutters as a form of self defense against Italians? Perfect.

thehoove367 karma

Never realised that. Excellent. :)

beeffallo185 karma

What is Chuck's middle name?

thehoove506 karma

It stands for Entertainment. Or Evil if you prefer.

killacam925184 karma

How much puke?

thehoove383 karma

Occasional. Though there was one dad who watched his kid puke right in front of the merch counter and just left it there for us to deal with. An absolutely wonderful example of humankind.

ashleyxcouture170 karma

I feel your pain. I worked at CEC from December 2008 until November 2011. I started as kitchen then started training on cash / salad bar & eventually did birthday parties. Being birthday Chuck E was probably my least favorite thing in the world.

thehoove158 karma

No shit. It's rough. I never could do salad bar... even though I did everything else save showroom.

LarryBrownsCrank150 karma

What's the worst outburst/tantrum you'd ever seen from a kid? How about from a parent?

thehoove308 karma

Didn't really see many tantrums, save at the ticket redemption counter (often called 'merch'.) I hated working merch because the damn kid could never decide what the hell it wanted, and occasionally would indeed throw a tantrum if they didn't have enough tickets. Thankfully, these tantrums were directed towards the parents to pay the difference in cash. (For the record, I was always glad when the parent held firm.)

Typically, parents were pretty calm. We had an awesome technical manager (hi, Vinnie) who kept the games running well, so we didn't really have many problems on that end.

Jaereth643 karma

the damn kid could never decide what it wanted

Yup, you've worked with children.

thehoove280 karma

Waaay too much for my own good.

subtasticdan141 karma

was it that chuck e cheese in the same building as guitar center and stop & shop?

thehoove195 karma

Would like to say no comment, but that would give the game away, wouldn't it?

emtemtemtemt125 karma

best d'awwwww story off the top of your head?

thehoove573 karma

Didn't have many. But I was fixing the Extreme Cards game (which printed your picture on a fake ID card of some sort) when a kid walked up to me and asked what I was doing. I replied, 'fixing this game.' I noticed he had pizza sauce on his face, so I asked him half-accusingly, 'Have you been eating pizza?' To which he looked sort of guilty and happy and replied, 'Yes.' It was cute, and I gave him a napkin.

TBones0072109 karma

How many tickets was the most anyone ever turned in? If someone offered you cash for a prize could you accept it or did it have to be tickets?

thehoove170 karma

13 000 tickets. They'd saved up for five years!

Aradicus105 karma

What's the hardest game you had there, in your opinion?

Also, have you won (or seen anyone win) that flamin' finger game?

thehoove163 karma

We did indeed have that game, and yeah, it was won numerous times. We had it on a rolling difficulty so if it wasn't won in a while, it got easier.

The hardest game to win was probably Operation. Though we had a few people get really good at it!

forgottenyellowbird99 karma

Did you ever notice any older people creepin around? People always make terrible jokes about pedophiles going to Chuck E Cheese, I've always wondered how much truth that holds.

Also your responses are precious!

edit: forgot a letter

thehoove161 karma

If there were, I didn't see them. Very rarely did we have older folk just walk in and say they just wanted to check out the place.

And if they did that, the manager would always come out and show them around. When we do that, it discourages any funny business.

Precious responses? What?

RoseBladePhantom94 karma

So what were your thoughts when you were dressed as Chuck. E as opposed to how you looked to all the customers?

thehoove232 karma

My favourite thing to do in the suit was to scare the parents! The kid would laugh, the parent would laugh and a good time was had by all. Just imagine, a 6'7" giant mouse right behind you... muahahaha

Anyway, the main difference would be Chuck's celebrity status. When in the quit, everyone recognised me. When not, no one gave me a second glance unless they needed a game fixed.

RoseBladePhantom510 karma

So... Nobody cared who you were until you put on the suit?

thehoove269 karma

Just another face in the crowd.

ESPNmotherSHIP85 karma

Took my cousin's kid there the other day. I swear there isn't many games there anymore. Also, you know how they stamp the grown ups and the kids they brought in with the same number so they know who came in with who. Did you ever catch anyone taking the wrong kid and what did you do?

thehoove103 karma

Luckily, no, cos that's a police situation if it's knowingly done.

JensK4282 karma

Why do you not work there anymore?

thehoove159 karma

I moved back home to Charlotte. It's sort of a long story... but there are days I miss it. I'm currently a crew trainer at McDonald's... but like I said, there are days I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

ninjajunkie71 karma

Did you ever catch any adults doing 'adult' things? If so, how was it handled?

thehoove145 karma

Nope, thank god. I might have been inclined to join in.

Not really. But no sexytimes, mainly due to a lack of private places.

tardisrider61364 karma

I've never been to a Chuck E Cheese. Do people go there for the food or is it just for the games and things? I don't really know much about it.

thehoove110 karma

It's mostly for the games, though kids seem to like the pizza. I got sick of it myself.

bite_8449 karma


thehoove76 karma

  1. Nope. 2 and 3. During the game pull (take all the tokens out of the games, usually Monday morning) we used to have one guy stealing quarters. We caught him by marking Washington's eye.
  2. Monday morning in winter. No one's there, unless there's a field trip of some kind.

thehoove37 karma

Dammit, it screwed it up. Oh well.

bite_8437 karma


thehoove28 karma

I loved fixing complex games in front of kids for that very reason. One of the reasons I liked that job.

NotaPeckerwood25 karma

Why do you have a microsd adapter?

thehoove32 karma

Sorry about that, I couldn't find my regular SD card to take a picture and it wasn't working. Didn't mean to leave that in the picture and couldn't be arsed to take it out.

giegerwasright15 karma

Fuck the bouncy house. What weird shit have you found in the ball pit? Anything valuable?

thehoove26 karma

We didn't have one, though I did fond a camera case under a seat once. No camera inside, of course.

Sluggerknuckles10 karma

Who would win a fight?

Chuck E. Cheese Or Zack Periwinkle

thehoove23 karma

I've no idea who that is, so... Google time!

Eh, tie. Looks about the same, though Chuck's would win in terms of popularity.

lewzerkid9 karma

I had my 18th birthday party at CEC. I did it because I tried to go at 16 when I was old enough to drive myself but I was told I needed to be 18 or older to get in by myself. After my party, I learned you also needed to have a kid to get in. I was disappointed because the only other thing close to an arcade at the time had closed down.

How often do parties happen for adults? Or have they stopped that altogether?

thehoove8 karma

I don't think we ever had an adult birthday party. If someone wanted to, it would be at the discretion of the birthday coordinator.

funkseoulbrotha2 karma

I hear a lot of single mothers take their kids to Chuck. Wondering if that's a nice place to pick up on the ladies.

thehoove15 karma

There are quite a few. But you better speak Spanish.

as11262 karma

Is Chuck E Cheese willing to relocate you or did you just apply and get hired in the other location? It seems like they wouldn't be willing to pay to relocate staff, since it's low paying/low skill job.

thehoove3 karma

I put in for a transfer to NY and they accepted. Because of that I got asked so many times by coworkers how to transfer to other locations.

And because I know someone is going to ask (because this is the Internet we're talking about here) you call the other location and see if they'd be willing to take you on. Talk to your current GM and he'll get the paperwork done.

SibcyRoad2 karma

I think I might know someone who worked with you. Maybe.

thehoove3 karma

Oh yeah? Which location and who was it?

mjpasqual1 karma

that must suck

thehoove3 karma

You've no idea.

Pat12345678901 karma

What was the most insane "I'm going to win that expensive prize!" moment? Like when a kid wouldn't give up playing until he had enough tickets for something.

thehoove3 karma

Most kids ran out of tokens well before then. When you consider that most games only give out one ticket (on average) it's crazy how much money some folks waste.

justsomedoofus1 karma

What's the work stealing incidents from guests? Once we got invited to a kids party, the hosts ordered pizza and sat down, then calmly removed CEC cups from their bags and starting getting "free" drinks for their family. They had birthday parties there every year.

thehoove2 karma

If they've got the plastic cups, it's perfectly OK as that's a marketing tactic. Free soda forever if you get a plastic cup (until it breaks or whatever.) We tried to crack down on outside drinks, though.

SoapyMeatloaf1 karma

Did you ever get to have staff parties or anything? Like along the lines of "adult swim".

thehoove3 karma

Not really. We brought a cake in for the GM once but that was about it.