Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Memories Rewind: Chuck E. Cheese Rip Off

My grandparents decided to treat all of the grand kids to a day at Chuck E. Cheese which was supposedly one of the funnest places for kids. Yeah, maybe if the stars are aligned just so and you don't run out of quarters.

My brother and I got a few dollars from my Granddaddy and we headed straight for the games with the most serious faces we could muster. My younger cousins played some Skeeball and would occasionally saunter over to see what we were up to.

E was at one of the games that doled out the most tickets. Or so they said. He had gotten a taste of victory. The burnt orange tickets with the black dots started spewing out. He couldn't help himself. He fed a few more shiny quarters into the machine, unaware of the other games around him. Laser tag, pac man, and a few larger ones couldn't distract him. He was in the zone. I peered cautiously in his hand. Only a few more quarters left and it would be mine turn. Bing, Bing, Bing! went the machine. The once colorless light around the Jackpot sign flashed a bright red. I snapped my head up, not wanting to miss what was going on. This was big! E had won the Jackpot! His eyes lit up with excitement. By this time, he had rallied the family to help him catch the tickets. His little hands were overflowing with Chuck E. Cheese goodness.

"I think we need to take a break, E and have some lunch Granddaddy said. Boy, was I glad because I was hungry. Being nosey is hard work!

As we made our way over to the tables, I noticed E walking very slowing past the prize counter. He was dreaming of what he was going to get with those hard earned tickets. I was happy for him, but I wanted to eat. We all sat down at the shiny red tables and reached for a menu. For a girl who was hungry, something else caught my eye-the floor. Yep, I was mesmerized. It was a glossy black with circles with every color of the rainbow. Little ones, big ones, yellow ones, blue ones. I knew this place was great, but the floor sealed the deal. My nine year old eyes had never seen anything like it. Shortly after, everyone settled on pepperoni pizza.

After what seemed like a century, the piping hot bubbly goodness arrived. I carefully slipped a piece or two onto my plate. I knew E was excited, but he managed to eat. The day wasn't all about us, so my cousins got to play some more. "If you run out of quarters, that's it"our grandparents reminded us.

We were leaving, which meant we all got to take a trip by the prize counter. As a kid, it's filled with things that look super fun. Colored bouncy balls, hair clips, stickers, and even some "special" things tempted us. E gingerly laid his tickets on the counter, careful not to let one fall on the floor. The worker counted them out. There were only three little items he could choose from: Stickers, a few pencils, and something else. Needless to say, he was very disappointed. My Granddaddy stepped up to explain how hard he had worked for those tickets. Then I came up. I had a similar number of tickets so I was preparing myself for the worst. No amount of smiling was going to help this situation. I picked out some multi colored butterfly clips, but as I tried to get them in my hair, I was frustrated. In fact, I felt like we just came from the 99 cent store.


ShannonDBR said...

I think that has happened to all of us. As an adult, I have returned to CEC & wondered when they got such cheap toys, realizing that they were always cheao (just not cheap through my little child eyes).

Even though I had fun there at the time, I would have much rather gotten a good toy or something with the money spent.

Isn't it funny how we see things differently as an adult?