Wednesday, February 3, 2010
People. This goes on the list of things that we never thought that we would have to say, but apparently we just have to spell everything out.
On a recent weekend day, I was with my family celebrating an 8 year old's birthday by playing some games at Chuck E. Cheese. Now, the goal for Chuck E. Cheese and all places of its ilk is 1) always to try to touch as few things as possible so as to not catch the plague from the children all around, 2) win as many tickets as possible so that the small children that you came with can get whatever cheap plastic thing that they want, and 3) get out of the place quickly (slathering on hand sanitizer on the way out). But look, when I say "win as many tickets as possible" I mean that you should do things like play the easy games, bring along your basketball star cousin to play the basketball game, or just come by yourself sometime so that you can master a game and impress your nephew. However. Don't cheat at Chuck E. Cheese.
There were two women there with their small children playing Skee Ball. Yay for SkeeBall, it's my favorite game of that type! Except for the way that these women played it. They put their little tokens into the machine, and then, as the nice blue balls rolled down, instead of grabbing one to roll it down the alley and up into one of the baskets, these women picked up the balls, jumped up so that they were standing on the alley, walked all the way down, and dropped the balls into the 10,000 hole up there on the top left (the hardest one to get). With their children sitting right there. I can't remember the last time I was so outraged.
This, mind you, was not an isolated incident for these women. We witnessed them do this at least three times while we were there and judging from the fat stack of tickets that I saw one of the women putting into the ticket machine as we were leaving, there is no question in my mind but that we only witnessed a small part of their Day of Cheating at Games.
The biggest question in my mind here was: FOR WHAT? Every single prize at Chuck E Cheese is cheap, plastic, and useless. With a thousand of those tickets, the best prize is a plastic airplane, or a water gun, both of which would probably break within a week. Five dollars at Target would get you much more than five hours playing games. It's not like you're going to come out of this with a new Barbie or game for the Wii.
So you let your children watch you cheat for something small and ridiculous, thereby teaching the other kids who see you that that is an okay thing to do, and out of it you get another cheap plastic toy for you? At least one little girl repeatedly copied their behavior, and I am telling myself that her mom was occupied with another kid, which is why she didn't immediately get taken out to the car by her ear. I need to tell myself that, okay?
When I relayed this story to Daisy and Roxy, they said that these were the kinds of parents who would do their kids' homework for them. But after thinking about it, I realized that no, it's worse than that: these are the kinds of parents who would take their kids to Vegas for the weekend so that they didn't do their homework, and then just tell them to copy someone else's homework at study hall. I have seen those parents, and I know that you all have too.
So (I still can't believe that I have to say this) the next time you're at Chuck E. Cheese, and you think that it might be a good idea to cheat on a game to win a crappy prize for your or someone else's kid, just stop, think about how that's just one step toward the downfall of society, and don't do it.