Monday, November 5

the fiery pits of hell (aka don't ever go to Chuck E's place again)

Yesterday I had the unfortunate luck of attending yet another birthday party - number two for the weekend. This one was held in Rat Hell.

Rat Hell = Chuck E. Cheese

I've complained about trips to Rat Hell before, but trust me when I say this one was by far the worst experience I've ever had. One that I will never experience again because I have no intention of setting foot in Rat Hell ever again. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me explain.

Being that it was a Sunday the place was crawling with ankle biters of all ages. There were no less than four birthday parties being held simultaneously, and that doesn't account for the others who decided Rat Hell was a good place to take their children on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Kids were running everywhere - some laughing, some screaming, some crying. The place was pure madness and the noise was deafening. And in typical Rat Hell form there were only a handful of *I R a Hi Skool Gradgets* to be spotted on occasion peeking out from the back and trying not to make eye contact with the patrons ready to shell out their hard earned cash.

After arriving and depositing our present and other belongings in the party zone several other mom's and I headed up to order some barely passing as edible grub. I tried to coax them into ditching the scene and heading to Applebee's, Olive Garden, or even one of the more palatable places in the food court, but to my dismay no one was interested in fleeing with me. No shorter than 10 minutes after getting in line did the first of our group order - one sandwich, two hot dogs, and three drinks. She was assigned number 16. I was immediately after her ordering what I thought would be a simple undertaking for the kitchen - chicken wings and a drink - and was assigned number 17. Number 18 was a mother-daughter duo that was with our group but sat at a different table to share some of that quality mother-daughter time that can only be spent in Rat Hell while waiting on the boy to finish attending a birthday party. And our number 19 with her cheese less individual pizza and water placed her order and headed back to the table.

My order was taken at 12:03pm.

The first order up was number 19 because apparently it doesn't take as long to cook a cheese less pizza since there's nothing to melt. The burnt edges of the crust might have also given them the impression it was done. She began eating after us telling her not to wait for our food and the minutes ticked away. I honestly don't even know what time it was at this point. Out of no where the sandwich from order number 16 appeared, and the number was swiped off the table like a cat swatting at a goldfish in a tank. The hot dogs didn't show and when the mom who'd ordered the pairing appeared back at the table and informed us that the hot dogs were on their way out until the hi skool dropout dropped them on the ground I suspected we were plummeting into the fiery pits of hell.

By now, still not cognizant of the time, cheese less pizza diner was done eating but there were still no hot dogs and no chicken wings. So I decided to find out if they were having trouble corralling the chickens or what. I was told both were still cooking. I don't know much about nuthin' but it usually takes me all of 3 minutes for a hot dog and about 25 minutes for some chicken wings, from a frozen state, in my regular home oven. About 10 minutes later the hot dogs arrived. Still no chicken wings.

At some point during the food wait another family of four had seated themselves at a booth opposite ours. Shortly after the hot dogs arrival, cheese less pizza mom took the initiative to check on my chicken wings - again - only to find they were still cooking. Some 60 minutes later might I add. And then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw them. My chicken wings. Complete with blue cheese dressing to dip them in and celery sticks on the side. And as she headed my way I could feel my mouth start watering even though my mind knew they wouldn't be nearly as tasty as I was hoping they'd be.

They were delivered. To the other freakin' table. The one with the number 24 tent on the edge of it. The one with the family of four crammed into its tiny little booth. WTF?? Where were my damned chicken wings? I knew I should have eaten something - anything - before heading to this damned party.

Cheese less pizza mom immediately got up to go find out what the hell the I R a Hi Skool Gradgets were pulling but I jumped up and said "That's it! I'm done!"

As I marched my ass to the front register thoroughly intending on cutting to the front of whatever line was there I see the valedictorian of the class heading out with my order. I looked her straight in the eye, waving my hand towards the kitchen and said "Oh no! You can go right back with those because I'm getting a full refund right now." And that's exactly what I did. The girl behind the counter must have been the only one in the place with a lick of sense in her, for when I demanded a full refund AND more tokens she didn't flinch, stammer, or quibble. I've never seen anyone move faster in that place than she did. Within 2 minutes flat I had my $10.28 for the food I didn't eat, plus the Diet Coke I nursed while waiting, and a handful of tokens for the kiddo.

But that's not the end. I know can you believe there's more?

When I got back to the table proudly proclaiming my victory over the rats I see, and hear, the head rat talking to table number 24. Apparently when their chicken wings arrived they complained that the food had taken so long so the flunky sent the head rat out to talk to them. I'm sure she wishes she'd never come to work today after they, and I, said what was on our minds. The whole time she stood there spouting off Rat Hell policy she was holding my chicken wings. The one's I'd waited exactly 72 minutes for before taking action. And you know what she did with them after all that? Threw them in the trash.

Needless to say I warn every one of you who wake up on a Sunday morning with ideas of entertaining your children with a trip to Rat Hell, or those of you who find yourself cornered by a birthday invitation to the fiery pit. Run don't walk, as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Trust me on this one.


jenny said...

this post had me CRACKING UP - sorry. i've never ate there and now, i don't think i ever will. how ridiculous!

Whiskeymarie said...

I would write a letter to corporate. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.
I always find it amazing that high-school kids are left to deal with things like customer service and time-sensitive stuff like food. Lord, these are people that think nothing of spending an ENTIRE DAY playing video games or experimenting with makeup. In their world, 72 minutes is a mere blip.

sue said...

Okay, I came over and have to say you got me. I've linked to ya... you are just about as insane as I am (yes, that IS a compliment).

I, luckily, have no more little children. However, I can totally relate to your experience. Rat hell it is indeed!

Melinda Zook said...

I love it. "Ankle biters" so cool. I am not a fan of Chuckies either. The characters freak me out. We only go there in the early morning, like literally when the door opens. I try to avoid crowds at all costs. We have never eaten there and after reading this, I don't think I ever will. Customer service is beyond lacking at the one you went should definitely call corporate Rat Hell and complain.

Marni said...

Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that place.

Can I tell you how much I hate that place?

So glad the kids are past the age.

Hate it.

Funny story though.

Freak Magnet said...

reason #3658 I'm glad I don't have kids. I've never been in one of those, and I still dread it.

Sizzle said...

not that i was planning on going there any time soon but now i am DEFINITELY not going. :)

Lisa said...

Jenny, Nicki & Sizzle - I wish I'd never had to go in the first place.

whiskeymarie & Melinda - Writing a letter to corporate seems like a good idea, but 1) it probably won't change things, and 2) it'd be my luck they offer me free shit to seduce me into the fiery pit again.

Sue - Thanks for stopping by! I'm really liking your blog too. Us crazies got to stick together! :)

kilax said...

Oh god... my father is always complaining about taking my nephew to that place, but he doesn't go into much detail. Now it all makes sense.

I feel so sorry for the kids working there!

the weirdgirl said...

That's insane. I used to work at one of those places - not Rat Hell but another pizza + kids' parties equivalent - and it does not take over an hour to make chicken wings.

motherbumper said...

I am so freakin' glad that there is not one of those in the city - those are all in the Toronto suburbs so I have been spared the hell known as Chuck E. Thanks for reinforcing my fears of the combination of pizza, rats, and ankle biters.