Parents Gone Wild at Chuck E Cheese

Today’s WSJ has a story on parents gone wild at Chuck E Cheese. That’s right, Chuck E Cheese…

In Brookfield, Wis., no restaurant has triggered more calls to the police department since last year than Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Officers have been called to break up 12 fights, some of them physical, at the child-oriented pizza parlor since January 2007. The biggest melee broke out in April, when an uninvited adult disrupted a child’s birthday party. Seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant’s music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain’s namesake mouse perform.

Some law enforcement officials interviewed said they get less fights at bars.

Reasons for this bad behavior are many. This one I did not know…Chuck E Cheese serves alcohol at some of its locations! Why, why, why.

Also to blame according to experts interviewed, the “mama bear instinct.” You know, that feeling mamas get when you are going to protect your little cub, no matter what, even if it’s just from a kid hogging the video game (????).

Amid pressure from local politicians, some Chuck E. Cheese locations have stopped serving alcohol, added armed patrols, prohibited knives, chains and screwdrivers from entering the restaurant and making the machines more expensive to use.

The article has a whole “blotter” of incidents around the country, here’s an example…

This most recent assault, described in police reports, occurred after a woman in her 30s approached a 6-year-old boy who was playing a videogame. When the boy went to insert more tokens to continue playing, the woman grabbed the tokens out of his hand and told him to stop hogging the game. The boy went and got his 26-year-old mother, who walked over to the woman. The woman began screaming at the boy’s mother, and another suspect, a man in his 30s, grabbed the mother by the throat and pushed her against the videogame machine. CEC employees had to pull the man off the mother. Both the man and the woman fled the scene.

I’ve never been a big Chuck E Cheese fan myself, but not for these reasons.


15 thoughts on “Parents Gone Wild at Chuck E Cheese

    • Me neither.

      Me neither. I didn’t like CEC as a kid, and I don’t like it as a parent.

      Just the thought of the germs alone in there makes my skin crawl, but that’s probably not a CEC thing, just a kid-place thing.

      I have had that crazy mama bear feeling in there, but of course I never did anything like these stories.

  1. Isn’t beer the only thing that makes CEC bearable

    or is that just me?

    I hate that place.  It’s consistently an example of EVERYBODY behaving badly.  From the kids who try to steal tokens from younger kids, to parents who hog games to try to get their kids more tickets, to the kids who steal food from the birthday party tables and their parents who don’t stop them…  And that’s not even taking into account all of the school field trips!  A county near here uses a FULL DAY at CEC as some sort of reward program for their elementary school kids.

    My oldest son has Sunday school from 10:00 to 12:30 every week.  When I don’t have any errands to run, I take my youngest to CEC for a few hours and leave just as everybody else is getting there.  At 10AM it’s not half bad.

    Funny story though.. when my youngest was probably 2 1/2 or a new 3, he made it all the way up into the crawl tubes, got frightened of the older kids, and wouldn’t come out.  It was so busy and crowded that I couldn’t get up there, and his older brother was unsuccessful at coaching him down.  They have TRAP DOORS in the sides of those things!  Who knew???  An employee got out a ladder, opened the side, and popped back out with him.

    • I wish I had known about that trap door

      And had been at one with better employees.  The EXACT same thing happened to Mira.  She was up at the top screaming – just totally terrified.  A couple of really nice older kids were trying to help her down but she was past the point of reason and just balled up and hit at them and screamed.  I ended up having to twist myself up partially until I could reach her hand and then help her down…  I was terrified that I would get stuck.  I was very glad that I am petite as even an extra inch would have made it impossible.  We both were quite traumatized by the experience and she’s never wanted to go back.  Luckily we haven’t had any parties there since…

      • that is

        That is traumatic. A trap door release would have helped!

        In college, my husband worked at this science center for kids. His job, all day, all summer, was to pull kids out of the trap doors in the Touch Tunnel. Because the kids would get scared and stop and clog up the whole tunnel.

    • first

      Yeah, if you get there first thing, it’s almost bearable. Almost.

      The field trips are the worst. I went one day one summer when a day camp was there. Too many kids, not enough counselors, not enough counselors paying attention…

  2. I hate CEC

    and have not been there since I was a kid.  They seemed more, well, in control, back then.  There was a Showbiz Pizza that had the singing robotic bears – my sister could watch those for hours.

    The CEC in question gave up it’s liquor license under extreme pressure (Actually, the WSJ is behind the times on this one, as this was big news in Milwaukee 6 months ago) and I believe that things have improved since then.  You still wouldn’t catch me dead in the place.  Too much stimulation for my kids.

    • p.s.

      I meant to add that the behavior at CEC seems to be part of a bigger problem, at least in Milwaukee lately.  Milwaukee Public Schools have had lots of problems with fighting in schools – not among students but among parents, elder siblings, and other adults who come to the school after getting cell phone calls about problems between students.  Honestly.  I grew up in Milwaukee, but the amount by which the violence has grown just floors me.

    • yeah, no kidding

      if the place where your kid’s party is taking place requires armed security, then you’re probably choosing the wrong place for your party… Unless your name is Tony Montoya.

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