If you thought gambling wasn’t allowed where you live think again. In nearly every town, a small children’s casino is operating under the disguise of a pizza parlor.
At the pleading and begging request of a cute little five year old, my teen girl and I took her to this seemingly innocent place armed with a coupon for free tokens.
After ordering, we sat at a booth waiting for our pizza of questionable quality to arrive, and I attempted to figure out where things went wrong at the cash register…I had a coupon! Three drinks, 2 salads, one pizza and 125 shiny tokens for the cost of a kidney transplant. Visions of a nice Japanese restaurant that we could have enjoyed for the same price where quickly erased by the cling-cling from the cup of coins being shaken in front of my face.
“Let’s go play some games!” I barely heard the words over the the mix of carnival and casino sounds from the game area. You guessed it right. We are at Chuck E. Cheese.
Back in the days when my older two were little, this place had actual arcade games. They have been replaced with what boils down to slot machines for kids. Each game is a random chance to win a random amount of tickets so you can cash in on BIG PRIZES on the way out.
I sighed and pictured us spending the next two hours trying to use up all 125 coins which would allow us to escape out of here. This place ranks just above the OB-GYN office on my list…just barely.
After losing five coins in her haste at the toss a coin in the dragon’s mouth game, little one was happy to see my teen bouncing enthusiastically from around the machine with a fist full of tickets. “Look what I got in less than 2 minutes!”There it was…the machine with the ridiculous 25 ticket payout…The SpongeBob machine.
Talking little one into playing this took no effort at all. In less than one minute she had a hand full of tickets. It is like playing the slots only you don’t even have to waste time pushing a button or pulling a lever. Just drop the coin in. One by one we crammed them in as fast as we could as tickets continuously sputtered out.
Nervously aware of our deliberate exploitation of this machine, I anxiously kept an eye out for Bubba the casino bouncer who was sure to knock us off the machine. Two elderly ladies walked by talking about how it was just like playing slots. Hey that’s what I said!
At speeds of over 100 tickets per minute we worked the machine in a caffeine induced frenzy. Like gluttons we stood there with tickets spilling out of our hands while seeing others walk by with only a few tickets. Surely this is going to be in the record books…the day Chuck E Cheese was cleaned out.
Suddenly we realized we were down to 3 coins. EEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR Brakes on! What?!
We blew through the entire cupful in less than three minutes. A sure sign that we don’t have any business being in Vegas.
Feeding the tickets into the counter we watched the count keep going…100…200….300. Whoa! A whopping 347 tickets!! Surely that is enough for a stuffed animal or model kit that are on the top shelves…you know the fancy ones that are worth almost 5 real dollars. After explaining to 2 girls with gleaming-gambling eyes that I didn’t have any cash to purchase more tokens…are you kidding!…we ventured up to the toy area. With so much awesome stuff to choose from, this process took a painful ten minutes.
What does 347 tickets get you?
I’m glad you asked. Feast your eyes on these wonderful prizes that I believe are available at the Dollar Store 10 for a $1. I’ll make the picture bigger so you can see it in all its grandness and I can get my money’s worth out of it.
You can’t Outgame the Mouse
As much as we thought we had outsmarted the machines, we still lose.
Dinner $15 value
Drinks $5 value (I’m being generous here)
Tokens $3 I’m just guessing it was $3 worth of fun…$1 a minute
Actual Cost $54 <- Mouse wins Happy little girl with a plastic straw...priceless...no...sorry it is actually $54...I know I'm so not over it yet. Learning you may have a gambling problem...priceless...that probably saved me a few hundred. Planning another trip soon? Not on your life.