June 5, 2009

Plinky and the Brian: Worst Job

Part of the reason for my hiatus, and for the infrequent posting in general, is that I sometimes find it a little difficult to come up with a topic. Rant-fodder, if you will. I do not and will not keep this as a diary-blog (because really, I understand that nobody really cares what I do on a daily basis. Hell, I barely care), so something has to catch me a certain way in order to get the proverbial wheels turning.

Enter plinky.com, which I discovered kind of randomly in my web wanderings. Plinky is a site which basically asks questions daily, and lets people post answers on their site. In what i hope will become a regular thing here, I will pick the ones I find most interesting and answer them here.

Today's Prompt:

What's the least fun you've ever had at a place specifically tailored for fun?

The worst time I've ever had at a place intended for fun, hands down, is Chuck E Cheese. And it wasn't just one time, it was over and over and over again. There was a perfectly good reason for that, though:

I worked there.

See, I have been working either full or part time ever since I was fifteen. Never worked proper fast food, but I've done just about everything else: retail, restaurant, the works. But the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school was the Summer of Chuck.

I distinguish this job from a restaurant job for the simple reason that I didn't wait tables. No way. Not there. I knew better than that. I figured I'd play it safe and make pizzas. Safe. I wouldn't have to deal with the hordes of children. Or so I thought.

The truth us that working in that place was perfectly fine for the vast majority of the time I spent there. It was one of those jobs where you had long stretches of boredom punctuated by the frantic rush of mealtime, when the birthday parties would all show up at once. But Even so, we had a pretty decent group back there, and managed to keep ourselves entertained in those down times. All of that was just fine, and I even enjoyed most of it. There was only one thing, albeit one very significant thing, that made it the worst job I've ever had. And if you've read this far, and you've ever been in one of those places, you know exactly what that one thing is.

So the answer to the question you're silently asking (or not, maybe you talk to your monitor; I'm not here to judge) is yes, yes I did. And the answer to the question that follows is that it was both more and less awful than you think it would be. But on average, it sucked about as much as you'd expect.

They conveniently forgot to mention this little detail during the interview.

The first problem is the suit itself. It's heavy; all told it's probably an extra 10-15lbs of plastic and polyesther fur. It's tremendously awkward, considering the one-size-fits-Sasquatch gloves and boots and the instant conversion from a low-30s waistline to something closer to the low 100s. And worst of all, the kind of forward visibility that should come with sunglasses and a cane. You can't see directly ahead; you can only see upwards and downwards at about a 45-degree angle, up through the eyes and down through the tiny mouth hole (peripheral vision is for losers). It is in this ridiculous contraption that you are sent out into what could best be described as the world's largest low-altitude mosh pit to bring Birthday Cheer to some lucky kid. Have fun with that.

And then there are the kids. Oh, the kids. Chuck E. Cheese uses the tag line that their restaurants are Where A Kid Can Be A Kid, but that is somewhat inaccurate. What it should be called, really, is Where You Hyperkinetic Offspring Can Be Someone Else's Problem.

Indignities abound in this environment (the actual wearing of the suit notwithstanding), from the inability to see down in front of you well enough to tell if you're about to or in the process of running a kid over, to the random punches or kicks you get from some overly rambunctions little bas- er, tot, to my personal favorite: being told by one of these darling little angels that you couldn't possibly be the real Chucky, because the real Chucky is up there, pointing towards the stage, where the herky-jerky animatronic band is bobble-heading its way through awful song after awful song (unlike this, which is suprisingly well done). And through it all, you can't talk. Or Swear. Or howl in pain, as the case may be. And certainly not wring the neck of the kid who just leapt into the air and came down with the nose of your mask in his grubby little hands, causing the top of the thing to carve a groove into your skull. And then asked for a hug.

It's no surprise that they sell beer there. But honestly, they're giving it to the wrong people. Give it to the staff, the ones who really need it.

Start with the guy in the rat suit; trust me, he could use one.


Kristafied said...


Is there photographic evidence of this?

Brian said...

Kristafied - thankfully, no. However, on a birthday party trip to CEC for my friend's 30th a few years ago, they did make me pose with him (or her, as I think was the case). I recall saying something to the kid along the lines of, "I feel your pain."

ElementAl said...

Love the observations!! Ahh yes, the joy of humiliating yourself in order to keep a job...

Shoulda gone to work for these guys: http://coolintl.com/?p=417

Site Meter