At the very first arcade that I worked at, they had a large area of redemption games and of course a redemption desk. For the most part things went smoothly there but on occasion we’d get the ‘pleasure’ of watching an adult throw a larger tantrum than any spoiled child we ever saw there. While the situation never broke out into an open fight, it would make for a crappy work shift to see some spoiled adults act like complete jerks over some stupid redemption trinkets that they would forget about before the end of the day, either because some other kid got to a prize before their child did or something else along those lines.
That doesn’t compare to this news that was published in the Wall Street Journal of all places, about a Chuck E. Cheese’s in Wisconsin where the calls to the police outnumber any other eating establishment in the area. Police have already broken up 12 fights there since January 2007, with the largest fight involving 40 people during a child’s birthday party. While CEC calls the fights atypical occurances, the WSJ article discusses a few other locations where fights appear to be a regular occurance and this is causing pressure on CEC’s in certain cities to change their policies regarding a few things, in particular the serving of adult beverages.
Now this surprised me! It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a CEC but I had no idea that they started serving beer and wine in an effort to make things “more comfortable for adults”. Seeing how CEC is billed primarily as a place for kids, I can’t imagine why they ever thought that this was a good idea. The WSJ article talks about how emotions run pretty high at these sort of places where people take their kids to celebrate birthdays and naturally parents want to make sure that everything is perfect for their child but when you have several parents expecting to make the same thing happen for their child, there are going to be conflicts. Throwing in a little booze isn’t going to help soften the impact and I wouldn’t think that they would want to create a place that turns into a bar where you can take your kids. Now only 70% of CEC’s serve alcohol and from the article CEC says that they are working to deter these types of incidents since they know that it’s not good for business. We’ll have to wait and see how it works out and I do hope that they can work it out for the best, I’d hate to hear about some child being seriously hurt in one of these altercations.