It’s Going To Take More Than A Younger Mouse To Fix Chuck E. Cheese’s Reputation
I’ve never met a parent who enjoyed taking their child to Chuck E. Cheese. In theory, the place should not be so horrible. There’s pizza and enough activities to keep young children happy for hours on end. Ski ball is always pretty fun. If you avoid the ball pits and are generous with the hand sanitizer, you would think that the place “Where A Kid Can Be A Kid” would be entertaining for kids and not horrible for parents.
But it is horrible. Really inexplicably horrible. The reputation of Chuck E. Cheese is that of a dirty, insane “Lord of the Flies” style free-for-all where kids behave awfully and parents pretend not to notice. So what is Chuck E. doing to fix his reputation? He’s getting the cartoon-equivalent of Botox.
The company that owns Chuck E. Cheese, CEC Entertainment, has come up with a new Chuck. This mouse doesn’t have a baseball cap and a big belly. There’s a new, slimmer rat in the pizza world. He plays guitar. He has a younger voice. I guess he’s supposed to be cooler than the old standby.
But Chuck E. Cheese seems to be confused about the reason that so many people avoid their restaurants like the plague. It has nothing to do with the mouse getting old. Kids aren’t losing interest in spending a ton of money getting tickets for crappy toys worth 1/100th of the cost they paid for their tokens. That’s not the problem.
The problem is that parents cannot stand to step foot in these things. The problem is children who are left to run lose in there with no supervision and no control. I’ve literally had young children, that I have never met before, come up and just attempt to take tokens out of my hands. I realize these kids don’t see it as stealing. No one has taught them what it is or that it’s wrong. It’s not the kids’ fault. But I still don’t want my child witnessing that type of behavior and thinking it’s acceptable.
The problem with Chuck E. Cheese is that all the entertainment for kids while parents relax, which sounds idyllic, has created a space that attracts people who never want to control their kids. Ever. And they take them there and turn them lose on society. I feel bad for those kids. But not bad enough that I want to hang out at Chuck E. Cheese and try to give lessons on manners and morals.
There is something about Chuck E. Cheese that brings out the competitive nature of children and the lazy nature of parents. The kids get intense and the parents look the other way. It’s created a really horrible example of parenting at its worst and behavior at it’s most abhorrent. That’s not the mouse’s fault. And it won’t be fixed by getting a new one, friends. It doesn’t matter if the mouse plays guitar, plays football or has the likeness of Justin Bieber, parents are the ones refusing to take their children to Chuck E. Cheese. This restaurant forgot a very basic rule, “If mommas aren’t happy, nobody’s happy.” And if mommas won’t come near your restaurant, you won’t be seeing their kids either.