Chuck E. Choke ’em!



If you’re looking for some fun, family fighting, the place to go is Chuck E. Cheese’s. Who knew? The Journal reports:

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.

Bring on the science!

The environment also brings out what security experts call the “mama-bear instinct.” A Chuck E. Cheese’s can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.

Stepping in when a parent perceives that a child is being threatened “is part of protective parenting,” says Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University and former president of the American Psychological Association. “It is part of the species — all species, in fact — in the animal kingdom,” he says. “We do it all of the time.”

Of course they blame the alcohol. But how else does one tolerate Chuck E. Cheese’s, and don’t we all love that delicious wine on tap?

…CEC also took alcohol off the menu at a Chuck E. Cheese’s in Flint, Mich., in February, a month after police responded to a fight there involving as many as 80 people.


  1. the other Chris H.

    Our local Chuck E. Cheese does not serve alcohol (at least I don’t remember there being any). I have attended one party there that a child was invited to, and I vowed never to do that ever again.

    The noise, both of the games and the screaming kids, or the crying kids when they could not get the treat they wanted was just too much. I’ve tolerated indoor soccer games and swim meets, and elementary school concerts, but Chuck E. Cheese just pushed me over the edge. It doesn’t help that its food is horrible and the chairs are sticky.

    My darling tolerant spouse did any future parties at that place on the two or three times my kids were invited there.

  2. Matthew Platte

    Of course they blame the alcohol. But how else does one tolerate Chuck E. Cheese’s


  3. The very first time I went to Chuck E. Cheese was somewhere in Flint, MI, the music was so dang loud that I find it a hard time eating my pizza and holding my ears because the music was far more louder than a lot of rock concerts put together. But that’s not all. They moved Chuck E. Cheese to another location also in Flint, MI and saw that the place was changed since the last time I was there. The music was tone down to a much tolerable level and everything was going smoothly and the food was great. It was when I started to like going to Chuck E. Cheese and have a good time over there. But that was long before a two family brawl have flared up. The police was called there to control the crowd, spraying them with pepper spray. Among those who got sprayed were some kids who were attending the place. They were bawling and crying and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. It was total bedlam which really got me to say to myself don’t ever go to that place for pizza again.

  4. Callicebus

    HAHA. I spent my 3rd – 7th birthdays at that same Chuck E. Cheese, just down the road from my grandma’s house. 🙂 I imagine the aggression stems from a nice mix of the good old-fashioned midwestern passive-aggressive nature and the desire to pump yourself full of cheap wine so you don’t have to think about just WHAT is in that ball pit your kids are playing in….

  5. Calli Arcale

    The Chuck E Cheese in my hometown has never served alcohol, and yet has had so many police calls that the West St Paul police department keeps an officer there almost all the time. This has absolutely nothing to do with “mamma bear” instinct and everything to do with the fact that local gangs had started using it as a hangout. There used to be shootouts and stabbings there, as rival gangs bumped shoulders and got territorial. It’s supposed to be much safer now, but I’m not really inclined to find out.

    It’s a pity, because it was a great place for kids when I was a young’un. (It was called Showtime Pizza then. Last time I visited, they still had the old Showtime bear on their animatronic stage instead of Chuck E Cheese.) Unfortunately, a lot of my favorite childhood spots are no more. The local McDonald’s had this fabulous outdoor playland, which has been indefinitely closed because of homeless people using it overnight, vandalizing the equipment, setting fires to keep warm, using some of the equipment as an outhouse, and generally trashing it. There was substantial damage, and it was becoming a crime magnet overnight.

    A few people can ruin things for everyone.

  6. Alcohol hell, it might be tolerable if they served IV valium. I cannot abide the fifth level of hell that is Chuck E Cheese.

    …just WHAT is in that ball pit your kids are playing in….

    Thankfully, ball crawls are no more, at least in places I’ve lived or have family. I got the most frightening note sent home from the eldest’s preschool, in a information packet. It described the horror stories of two families.

    The first, was of a little boy who became faint and ill while playing in the pit. His mother took him to the ER where he lost consciousness and died. Autopsy revealed that he had died of a heroin overdose, they found the needle tip in his leg. When the pit was cleared, they found numerous used needles and a crack pipe.

    The second, was of a little boy who started shrieking. His mother pulled him out of the pit to find his legs covered in snake bites. Don’t remember the kind of snake, but it was a nesting mother and she bit the boy several times. He died on the way to the hospital.

    The same note made it clear that these were not isolated incidents (though the nesting snake may have been). Aside from a great many kids getting sick due to contaminated balls, apparently the ball crawls had a relatively high fatality rate.

  7. T. Bruce McNeely

    The ball pit stories are debunked on – do a search for “ball pit”. They do mention that needles and knives have been discovered in these pits, as well as used diapers (shudder). No reported fatalities, though. I expect that they would be great places for spreading viruses and bacterial infections.

  8. Bruce –

    I kind of wondered about that (mainly because I assumed it would be pretty bug news), but considered it a moot point, as they seem to have disappeared from the landscape. At the same time I figured such situations could reasonably have been the catalyst for their disappearance. In any case, I am quite happy they are gone, because I would not be keen on letting my kids play in them anyways.

    I do however actually remember finding a used diaper in one when I was small enough to play in them. Thankfully it was “merely” urine soaked….

  9. polomint38

    We don’t have chuckecheese in England yet. I will keep my eyes open and campaign against it, if it ever tries to invade my locale.
    Enjoy your needle and nappy pit. It’s all a load of sh..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *