Chuck E Cheese Off: No booze, cursing or gang colors at kiddie’s restaurant
February 6, 2008 | Drunk Stories
Long before Ratatouille came out and made the thought of rodents in the kitchen anything less than disgusting and a sure sign that the proprietor needs to have the lights dimmed and a board of health sign hung in the window, the rat-themed Chuck E. Cheese was welcoming in children of all ages (though single men over 40 going there would be met with a raised eyebrow) to munch down on unwholesome food and run their parents to the poorhouse requesting quarters to play their endless supply of arcade games.
Those of us who grew up on the Canadian side of the Canadian-US border will recall with varying levels of fondness being trundled over to the place on a special occasion — like the first time a “D” didn’t stain a report card — for meals. Indeed, in the 1980s, after mom and pop Canuck had finished making their contribution to the bankrupting of their country by cross-border shopping and filling up on cheap USA gas and smokes, they would often share their savings bounty with the kids by taking them to a Chuck E. Cheese where someone in a giant rodent costume (a whiff inside one of those would likely turn you off the pizza) would jump around.
To the best of the authors’ combined memories, aggressiveness and violence were not part of the Chuck E. Cheese experience — unless some fat kid was getting lippy near the skee ball.
Times, however, have changed. A Flint Michigan Chuck E. Cheese outlet recently went to what would seem the extreme lengths of banning alcohol, profanity and gang symbols after a near-riot broke out there. The report said that the fracas involved anywhere from between “20 to 80″ people. That they couldn’t have narrowed down that figure somewhat does indeed point to something being not right in the house of Chuck E.
Officials later said that the incident was sparked by three teenage girls and did not involve alcohol nor gang activity as far as they knew, though surely their must have been the odd curse word uttered that would have required hands being cupped over the ears of every attendee at little Nancy’s first communion party.