IAmA Former Gameroom Employee of Chuck. E. Cheese. I saw a lot there. It was nuts. AMA.
This deserves all the upvotes. Way better than any of my stories, and based on your description of the layout of the back area/manager's office/kitchen, it's totally legit. Wow.
I'm european and I don't actually have a question. I just want to say that I read the whole thread until now and to me it seems like this is the dirtiest place ever full of kids taking a piss on videogames and toys, eating shitty food that makes them puke on their piss while the stoned staff kicks out parents having sex in the bathroom and that the staff would have sex in the tubes afterwards while partying all night.
Is this an accurate picture?
EDIT: I'm so sorry this is the top comment LMAO
It was really just for fun, I hope no one actually thinks that I mean all this.
Yes. Very accurate.
My 4 year old daughter calls it Chunky Jesus. That is all, no questions here.
My mom always called it Chunky Cheese. Even though I worked there, she always called it that.
I have a three year old daughter and there is a Chuck E Cheese near by so sometimes I take her just to hang out and ride a few rides (she seems to like it and requests it occasionally)... man, that place is incredibly depressing. I just get really bummed out by the whole scene.
There are almost no true arcade games anymore. There are lots of games where you win tickets and lots of passive experiential "rides" like roller coaster simulators where you watch a POV screen and rock back and forth in a motorized seat. They all look really cheap and only last about 90 seconds.
The kids are nuts, the parents are varying degrees of angry and apathetic, the carpet is ratty, some little kid is always on the verge of tears. The games and rides are shit. Everything looks cheap and dirty. It just overwhelms me and makes me incredibly depressed.
Usually if there is room for two or more on whatever my daughter is riding I try to find some other little kid who looks low on tokens and offer to let them join in. It's the only thing that staves off the crushing despair long enough to burn through $5 in tokens so we can leave.
Then I take the kid home, put a chair in front of the TV, look up POV roller coaster videos on youtube, play them on the big TV with her in my lap, rock back and forth in rough approximation to the movements on screen, and try to forget the whole thing.
tl;dr - Take my daughter sometimes/ The mass of kids lead lives of quiet desperation/ When you gaze into the arcade the abyss gazes back/ try to be Good Guy Dad
And that's why they serve beer and wine...
Catch any parents trying to sneak to the bathroom for some adult time?
Yes. We served beer and wine, so drunken parents trying to bone in the bathroom was common. Also, we had a room where we kept the character costumes. People would try to sneak back there and fuck.
Beer and wine at Chuck E Cheese? Crazy. Where was this?
Which one? My kids love the hell out of the one in Darien.
Ha. I knew all the employees in Darien. I won't reveal which one, but it was in the South Suburbs somewhere.
How would you/whoever caught them deal with it when you/they caught parents trying to get it on?
It would just be a simple, "Come on, not here." I had one guy who was fucking his wife in the bathroom. He said, "I'm almost done, man." Then he finished. True story.
Ugh how awkward. Do you like, stand there and watch? close the door and listen for the "HNGH"? walk away and never go in there ever again?
He was literally done. Like I knocked on the stall door and said, "You'll need to stop, this is a children's restaurant." He said, "I'm almost done, man...hnnngghhhhh." And that was that.
ever catch the drunken parents trying on the character costumes (and/or fucking whilst wearing said costumes)?
Not having sex, but we actually did let a few drunken parents wear the costume because they really really wanted to. They did a better job than we did.
did you ever close up at the end of the day and have left over kids around?
Sort of. Not really close up at night, but once a family was there in a huge booth. They had a baby in a carseat. They left and forgot the baby. Not just like, got to the car and said, oh, shit, we left the baby! No, they didn't come back for hours. In the meantime, we had to call DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) and the parents couldn't get the kid back when they showed up because he was in DCFS custody. They were pissed at us. Dude, you left your FUCKING BABY IN A CHUCK E CHEESE!!!!
They were pissed at us
What the hell did they call DCFS for!? They should have just put him in the lost and found box so they could pick him up the next day.
Dammit! Should've thought of that. There were plenty of toys in there for him to play with.
I still remember when it was called "Showbiz Pizza"; fuck I'm old.
Is the pizza made on site, or is it all shipped in?
On site. It would be better if they just made frozen pizzas. They make it all "fresh."
Ah, thanks-I agree with you it probably would have been better frozen-one more question, if you don't mind-what is the best day you ever had while working there?
I was planning to go to work, then practice karate with my Texan friend, then go fishing with my sort of retarded friend, then go to this guy's music recital, even though he kind of hates me.
There were some bumps along the way, but it turned out okay.
first sucessful spongebob reference i have seen in a long time
I used to work at a fun museum place in south jersey. People drive for miles to get to this place, and the kids went ape shit once they got there. I loved this place as a kid, but working there madee see the employees would fuck with everyone. Did you guys mess with the kids there? (this is non-sexual, no pedo please)
Yes! Why did nobody else ask this?
I used to take handfuls of tokens and throw them on the ground where there were groups of kids. They would wrestle each other for them.
I used to tell all the kids that I hid 1000 tickets in the sky tubes. They'd all go there and it would be nice and quiet for 30 minutes. There were no tickets.
Stuff like that.
Most inappropriate thing youve seen?
Oh, and a lot of us were on drugs frequently. A buddy of mine took mushrooms before his shift and I had to drag him away from the flashing lights at the skee ball game and send him home. He was tripping balls, man.
My kid is never going to Chuck e Cheese
From employees or from guests?
From employees, there used to be sex in the ball pit. Jesus, we were horny teenagers and our store managers were like 21/22 years old. It was a party when the store closed for the night, especially on the weekends.
From guests, someone once smeared shit all over the inside of a stall in the women's bathroom.
Oh, and someone once accidentally left their kid in a booth. :/
someone once smeared shit all over the inside of a stall in the women's bathroom
This is really common actually. I worked at Barnes and Noble and someone smeared shit all over the handicapped stall. Walls, ceiling, behind the toilet in places you could only get shit if you were actively smearing it with your hands. It is bizarre what some people do. What could possibly prompt people to smear their own shit all over the place at a business like Chuck-e-cheese or Barnes and noble?
Edit: in my 6 or so months of redditing, I have NEVER had a response like this to a post that is a reply to a reply to a reply. Simply amazing.
yeah, I've heard it happens all over. Maybe it's one dude with a weird fetish just circling the country smearing buttsauce all over the stalls.
My first job was working at a Discover Zone (1993-1996) and we too had a shit smeared stall incident. I was the lucky chap who had to clean it, which sucked since I normally hosted birthday parties and vomit was really more my specialty.
Protip for vomit: I learned you pour cotton candy crystals on it. It soaks up the puke so you can just sweep it up and it makes it smell like strawberry puke.
How were these sexy ball pit times
They were good. The ball pit is basically a trampoline full of plastic balls.
Also, don't ever let your kids (if you have them) play in ball pits. They're rarely cleaned. When we did clean them, we put them in my boss' pickup truck in netted bags. Then we just went through a carwash. :/
any moments were you thought "man. kids are scumbags"?
Every. Single. Day.
They're mean to each other, man.
How many prize tickets for a fuzzy troll pencil topper?
100, but if the kid really wanted it and only had like 80, we'd always give it to them because who fucking cares?
I worked at a CEC in one of the most dangerous cities in America for 3 years when I was in high school and college. We had an attempted drive-by shooting. I've seen people tasered. I've seen a woman smash another woman's head against a large glass door. I've seen a large woman tackle a cop. I wore the mouse outfit, I worked the door, I served tables, did birthday parties, subbed for game room, and worked in the kitchen.
Edit: Here's the best verification I could come up with while at work, if anyone doubted me.
Edit 2: Everyone keeps asking what city: Saginaw, MI.
Heh. I worked at a nice one, but I often helped out and filled in at one of the most violent CEC's in the US (Matteson IL). They had a guard and the police were there all the time.
Yeah. We had two armed undercover detectives working our store all the time. One stood by kid check and one kind of roamed. They would point out to us who the known drug dealers and felons were as they entered the place. The police here told us we were the second-most visited business in the entire city. We called the cops a lot.
This guy's legit. Only employees refer to the station at the front where they stamp your hand by the proper name.
I'm from Europe, and this is my impression of Chuck E Cheese. How close is that to reality?
This. It's basically a parody of Chuck E Cheese. Kids always lost their glasses. And retainers (like in the movie Parenthood).
I am pleasantly surprised by hoe fascinating this ama ended up being. Tell me about the sluttiest person you worked with.
The chick who took on two dudes (Chinese fingercuffs style) in the walk-in cooler. She would have sex with one of the managers in the manager office, too. She used to hit on me, but I was in a relationship by the time she started working there, and she was probably full of herpes.
Did you every have to break up a brawl that was started by parents?
On more than a few occasions. Alcohol + your kid just pushed my kid! = lots of scuffles
OK... what the actual hell is going on here? What is a Chuck E. Cheese and where can I find one? And why is everyone having sex whilst the kids get naked in ball bits?
Chuck E. Cheese is where a kid can be a kid and where the employees go wild once the doors close.
It's a restaurant/arcade/gameroom for kids.
What was the best prize to spend tickets on and how often did someone get it? Also, any child injuries?
The prizes are all retarded. Anything up to 1000 tickets is only worth a couple bucks. We had a remote controlled car for like 20k tickets that some kid saved up for after going to birthdays all year. He could've bought it at a store for like $40.
What about injuries? Also while you're here, how can your pizza be so good and so bad at the same time?
Injuries, too many to name. I mean I alone was hurt all the time because I would open games up and replace major components. Do you remember Power Drift? It was a car racing game, but you sat in the car and when it turned, the whole game tilted from side to side. The motor used to break on it all the time. I was with my boss testing the motor for current. It runs off DC (I think it was 90v). DC current is bad. As I was touching the meter to the leads, my boss said, "Don't ground yourself." Just as he said that, my ass touched the ground and I shot backwards like ten feet. He stood over me laughing as I twitched.
Kids used to get hurt all the time in the ball pit, and one time...oh, this makes me shudder thinking about it...a lady put her baby in one of those kiddy car rides. She didn't put the seat belt on the baby (maybe 6 months old or so). I was walking toward them as the baby tipped to the side and fell out, smacking its head on the ground. The sound haunts me to this day. The baby didn't cry right away, which was freaky. Ambulance came and stuff.
wow... any follow up as if the baby turned out ok?
Nope. Took the baby away in an ambulance. Seriously, that sound of the head hitting the ground (not great carpet padding there) makes me shiver. :(
Oh, the pizza was bad. The ingredients were always far, far from fresh. You could sometimes smell it when a pizza with expired cheese was cooked. Smells sour. We would still serve them. :/
I remember going to a CEC with some friends when we were 16 to relive the awesomeness and partake in some nostalgasm.
We got there and we were stopped by the 'bouncer' type guy in the front. He asked us for ID.. wtf? They asked us why we were there...
After arguing with the manager that there should be no reason we shouldn't be allowed in, we got in, circled the place in 5 minutes, realized that CEC is only awesome as a kid and left.
We were left in disappoint.
Yeah, that sucks. We didn't want rowdy teenagers there without supervision because they would ruin it for the little kids, and there was no way to enforce consequences. You had to be accompanied by a parent if you were under 18.
At 16, though, I'd say they'd probably let you in.
Oh, and the "bouncer" was either a 16 year old dude making minimum wage, or a sad, sad older person working that job for I don't know why.
Ever have a fatass kid get stuck in the tubes, or just any kids that wouldn't get out of there in general?
No fat kids getting stuck (those tubes are big, we used to have sex in them). We did have kids who would go up, then look out a little porthole, realize how high up they were, and freak out. I used to retrieve them quite often. There are actually emergency exits built into those, too, just in case.
(those tubes are big, we used to have sex in them)
Story time, dude.
I had sex in the tubes. With chicks. Not sure what else to say. We would close the place down and party. Drunk teenagers would go in the tubes, then start making out, and eventually, the whole structure would be rocking. It was nice because it's closed off in there. But moans and whatnot are amplified. :/
Best game overall? Best game to win tickets on?
I worked there in 1996-1998. Best game was the TMNT Arcade Game. I used to have to replace the joysticks on it often because it was played so much. Then I'd "test" it for a few hours to make sure everything worked.
Now, the best way to get tickets is skee-ball. There is a counter that goes up every time someone plays. That's the bonus. I take my kids there now (and get everything for free) and I wait until the counter is over 500. Then I play one game of skee ball. I know how to hit the 100k circle in the upper left every time (my job every morning was to do a coin drop test to make sure everything worked, and I just got good at it). I get a high enough score to win the bonus. I just do this over and over.
I haven't been to one since the 80s, but the skee-ball machines were usually pretty easy to steal tickets from. You simply had to pull slowly on the tickets and they'd come right out.
Yep. Those were the older ticket mechanisms. They now have a little roller that prevents you from pulling tickets out. It's like fingercuffs. When you pull (aka, put too much pressure on the tickets coming out), the roller would close and you just end up breaking off the ticket.
You said you guys sometimes had sex there, did it end up in any long term relationships?
I met my wife at Chuck E. Cheese. We started dating in 1997 and got married in 2003. We're still married and have two kids.
There were about four other long term couples who are now married that met there during that time period.
were they conceived at chuck e cheese?
"Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can MAKE a kid."
Ever bring your kids to Chuck E. Cheese?
All the time. We get everything for free, we get "clean food" (like in Fight Club) and we know where they shouldn't go.
How much money would the store make off of coins from arcade games in a week?
I'm not sure about the profit margin. We would empty the machines every Saturday morning and count/repack the coins. There would be tens of thousands of coins. Remember, though, they gave deals on coins and packaged them with meals, so a token wasn't really worth 25 cents. It was worth about 17 cents at the time.
I went to Chuck E Cheese for my 30th birthday. No kids. Just me an about 10 or 12 friends. My way of refusing to grow old. It was awkward and ridiculous at first, but eventually the staff got into it and we had a lot of fun. We were there later in the evening, so by about 8pm all the kids had cleared out and we had a blast.
How often do you have parties like mine, and how does the staff feel about it? Nice change of pace or just weird and creepy?
They happened a lot. Those were always fun and those types of guests usually gave all their tickets to random kids.
This has been debated between my friends for a long time. can grown man go up and ask for a single adult ticket with no kids or family with him? Like just to watch?
Why are you discussing this with your friends?
Zach Galafanakis: "When you look like me, it's hard to get a table for one at Chuck E Cheese."
I'm not sure how we would handle it. Probably we'd say he needs to have a kid with him, but it never came up.
You don't ask for a ticket, you just walk in. If you're over 18, you can enter with generally no hassle whatsoever. Usually the door person will ask if you're there for a party or meeting people or something, but you can easily just say "Yeah," and walk right in.
Yep. So I guess this probably did happen from time to time. It would be a pedophile's dream there.
What is the most insane thing you saw someone(s) parent/kids doing?
I had a kid get buck naked and jump in the ball pit. He was like 10. That was wild. Parents, we used to catch drunk ones (we served beer and wine) trying to have sex in various places around the restaurant.
The stuff we employees did was much better. :)
I worked at a similar place called "Celebration Station" as a game tech so I relate to everything you are saying. Did you ever have to dress up in the costume for parties?
Edit: Mine was in Tulsa, OK. They later tore it down.
Nope. As the Assistant Tech Manager, I never had to wear the costume or run pizzas out to tables or clean or anything. Because I was responsible for high-level preventative maintenance and fixing major components, I was exempt from the stuff the other minimum-wagers had to do.
Assistant to the Tech Manager.
I love you. Upvotes. If The Office existed back then, I'm sure me and my boss would go back and forth about this.
What were some of the worst experiences with parents?
Drunken gross moms hitting on you. Parents getting pissed because their kid was being a dick and I made them sit and take a "time out."
*I'M A FUCKING PAYING CUSTOMER!!!11!! MY KID WILL DO WHAT HE WANTS!"
Damn kids shitting in the skytubes was the worst, especially since we weren't usually told it was up there until days later.
Totally. But days later it would either be smeared all over, or, if you were lucky, dried up so it was easier to clean. I would send a lacky up there. Never had to do it myself. :)
Anybody ever do anything to the crazy/half broken dancing characters on stage?
No. But funny, those things were always broken. They run of pneumatics. We had two massive, massive compressors out back in a room. They still have the same characters and they still break. You get condensation in the compressors if you don't bleed them every day and the that gunks up the tubing, causing things to stop working.
How much did you hate those mechanical singers by the end of your tenure?
Also, any all out brawls?
I hated those things. They were a constant project. Never ever worked properly (and still don't).
Usually just drunken scuffles between parents. No brawls at my store, but some CECs had regular incidents where the police had to be called. those stores actually employed guards.
What does the "E." stand for?
Did you ever bust kids for walking up to the skee-ball targets and dropping balls in the big point ones? What are the consequences of this?
I remember doing this a few times in the early 90s when I was a teenager.
There were tilt sensors on them" If you walk up like that, you interrupt an IR beam and the game just ends.
Has anyone ever pooped in the game room area?
Nope, but lots of puking and once a kid dropped his pants and just plain pissed on a game. He was like 10.
What would you think of a Waiting style film based on the lives of chuck-e-cheese employes?
I would be happy to consult for such a movie. :)
Do you find yourself putting CEC Entertainment on your resume and pray to god know one asks what it is?
Ha! I did this at my third job. The manager was like, "And what is CEC Entertainment." I had to explain.
Holy shit I just wasted a remarkable amount of time at work reading this
Holy shit I am wasting a remarkable amount of time at work replying to all these comments.
Okay…. Most of the story I am about to tell is based off of the recreations of several people till it gets to my part so bear with me.
When I was 17, I used to work at a Chuck E’ Cheeses in South Florida. One fine evening, two guys show up and order a pizza at the register. Not 30 seconds pass when one of them goes back to the cashier and asks about his pizza. The cashier calmly informs him that his pizza takes at least 15 minutes to prepare and that it will be delivered shortly to his table. He didn’t like this answer and continued to ask, “Where’s my pizza? Where’s my pizza. Where’s my fucking pizza!?!?” He proceeds to grab promo cups(the silly cups and shit to sell to the kids) and begins flinging them at the cashier. The cashier realizes that he is paid far too little for this level of bullshit and retreats to the kitchen via the nearby door to inform the manager.
Our enraged customer proceeds to loop around the salad bar and enters via the rear kitchen door to seek his prey. He enters the kitchen yelling at the cashier and takes a swing. The cashier catches the punch and wrenches the guy’s arm around his back and slams him up against the manager’s office door. Essentially, the cashier informed the manager about an issue requiring his attention by slamming the issue up against the window on his office door.
This is where the issue heats up considerably. I’m going to pause a minute to set the stage properly. Chuck E’ Cheese had a sorta caste system; geeks in the gameroom, chicks and preppy types on the registers, and straight up hood rats in the kitchen. Unpause… so one guy is pushed up against the door and struggling and this is when his buddy shows up via the same door with a work knife in his hand. He points the knife at the cashier and orders him to let go of his friend. He continues to advance on the cashier. At this moment the hood rat on the pizza cutting table loses his shit. He grabs the pizza knife, uses it to rake everything off the final prep table, and proceeds to yell, “You do NOT come into my fucking kitchen with that pussy ass knife” He raises the knife over his head and begins to charge at enraged customer 2. Keep in mind, this not just any kind of knife. This is a fucking scimitar with a lead weight at the tip. All accounts of this part agree that had he gone through with what he started, he would have cleaved straight through the guys head. Enraged customer 2 freezes like a deer in head lights.
Three strides into his charge, the hood rat’s girlfriend tackles him to the floor. He had a record, and she didn’t want him to get in trouble with the law again. This snaps Enraged Customer 2 out of his stupor and he throws his knife blindly, and grabs anything within reach and begins flinging it around the kitchen. This is when I begin to notice something is wrong in the world of children’s pizza and entertainment. Someone yells, “Fire!” and I start to look around and I hear the commotion in the kitchen. As I being to make my way to the kitchen I see Enraged Customer 2 exit the door from where he entered with a spatula in his hand. He’s moving down the main through way of the store and I am in the showroom. I being to follow and prepare to pounce with visions of vigilante grandeur running through my head. After all… the guy had a fucking spatula for a weapon. The moment I had my opportunity to pounce he immediately turns to me and begins shouting at me in Spanish, “Where is my daughter! Where is she!” over and over again. As he is yelling at he begins reaching under his shirt. Time starts to slow down. As he reaches under his shirt he reveals the holster for his work knife. I didn’t notice it was empty, but I instantly begin planning to defend myself from a knife attack. His hand moves past the knife holster towards his back and I watch has his hand wraps around the grip of a revolver. At this point I begin to ask questions about his daughter, what she looks like, anything to satisfy him. He continues to advance on me and I freeze. He pushes past me, and scoops up the most adorable little girl in a white communion style dress. He sits her on one shoulder, and is now waving the gun around with his other hand yelling at everyone to not follow him or he will kill them and that he is (directly translated) Mr. Big Dick (makes more sense in Spanish) and nobody fucks with him. He proceeds out the door with his daughter and his friend.
I have no idea how this ends. The cops showed up and our 8 hour video tape was not in the recorder….
tl;dr Two guys go apeshit in a Chuck E' Cheeses. One almost gets his head cleaved in half by a pizza knife.
edit formatting by request
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