Chuck E. Cheese Employees Do Not Get Paid Enough To Deal With These Birthday Parents

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Chuck E. Cheese Sold To Private Equity Firm Apollo For 1.3 BillionThere’s a pretty extensive list of reasons not to want to go to a Chuck E. Cheese with your kids. There’s the crappy pizza; there’s the constant pew-pew-pew-pew of arcade noises; there’s the fine coat of greasy filth coating every surface; there’s the non-zero chance that there’s a used syringe lurking in the depths of the ball pit. As little as I want to go to a Chuck E. Cheese, I imagine that sentiment is ten time worse for the employees of the place, who have to deal with the gross pizza smell, the constant noise, and now? The risk of getting a horrific beat-down courtesy of the birthday-party parents on hand.

According to the Washington Post, some adult attendees at a birthday party in a Chuck E. Cheese in Cleveland, Ohio became, shall we say, agitated when the facility’s photo booth wasn’t in working order. They did not, however, content themselves with asking for refunds or demanding to speak to a manager. Well, let me clarify that slightly: one customer did speak to the manager, inasmuch as threatening to kill someone constitutes ‘speaking’ to them.

Things only escalated from there, with as many as a dozen of the restaurant’s customers engaging in a full-scale brawl against the Chuck E. Cheese employees. (Does it count as a ‘brawl’ when one side is just trying to escape intact? I’m unclear.) After starting in the kitchen, the fight spilled out into the dining area, and half a dozen employees wound up injured, one of them a minor. There were also two managers who had to be sent to the hospital. THE HOSPITAL. OVER A BROKEN PHOTO BOOTH. Luckily the employees who were hospitalized have since been released, but there’s still no word on whether any of the creepy animatronic creatures were hurt in the fracas. Our fingers are crossed for the safety of Mr. Cheese and his cohort, of course.

If it seems to you as if ‘surrounded by yellow police tape’ is the default status of a Chuck E. Cheese, you’re not alone. The Post references an old Wall Street Journal article about the abnormal levels of birthday-party-related brawls that take place inside the grody halls of the restaurant chain. The WSJ suggests that it’s “mama-bear instincts” that are responsible for the high rates of police visits to Chuck E. Cheese, as parents step in between their pizza-and-soda-saturated children and someone acting threatening, but I’m not really sure how a non-functional photo booth, or a manager who’s trying to hide in the kitchen from your verbal abuse, can be perceived as a threat.

Well, I didn’t really need another reason to skip out on a visit to Chuck E. Cheese. Or to Cleveland, for that matter. (Sorry, Cleveland, but I’m going to have to save my tourist time for places whose rivers have never caught on fire.) But all my best wishes go to the brave polo-shirt-wearing, arcade-ticket-dispensing heroes who have to go back to work when the police tape comes down. Good luck, my friends. You’re going to need it.

(Image: Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty)