Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Way Back WhensDay: Chuck E. Cheese

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I got my first part time job when I was 15 years old.  I bagged groceries, stocked shelves, and worked the cash register at a local supermarket.   I worked there all through high school and even picked up hours over Christmas and Spring Breaks when I went to college.

I didn’t work at all my freshman year while I was in school.  But by the second semester  of my sophomore year, I decided my bank account needed some boosting.  I applied for a job at Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza, but had an advantage as my girlfriend (now wife) worked there.

Chuck E. Cheese (not from my restaurant)
In January 1993 I became a cashier, but eventually found myself doing every job the restaurant had to offer.  I made pizzas in the kitchen.  I was a host on the showroom floor for birthday parties.  I walked around and tried to fix games, but mostly just unjammed tickets and handed out tokens.  I was an assist manager (technically shift supervisor).  Yes, I was Chuck E. Cheese himself, and Jasper T. Jowls, and Helen Henny.  Don’t judge.

Working at Chuck E. Cheese was a lot of fun.  It helped that everyone who worked there was in the same age group essentially.  Plus, who couldn’t have fun with video games, singing rodents, and lots of pizza?  There were days that it was challenging.  I think back specifically to the night a kid pooped in his pants in the bathroom and smeared it over the toilet, floor, and walls.  His poopy underwear was left sitting on the top of the trashcan.  As the only guy on duty that night, I had the pleasure of cleaning up that mess, but I think it helped prepare me for fatherhood.

Munch's Make Believe Band
Here are some Chuck E. Cheese fun facts.  The E stands for Entertainment.  We were encouraged to answer the phone with this phrase: “We’re making magic at Chuck E. Cheese, this is ______, how can I help you?”  We choreographed all the dance routines when the company sent us the program for the new season.  Our store employed several talented dancers who led the way.  When it came to cleaning out the ball pit, we would fill giant mesh bags with the balls and take them to the carwash for cleaning.  Someone would use a cleaning solution to scrub the empty pit.  You can imagine the things we found along the way.

I still have my name tag (one of them)
See the "Dexter" blog for details
I worked at CEC for more than three years.  The memories I made there will last me forever. Some I can share here, but others I can’t because this is a rated PG blog.  I'm sad that the Chuck E. Cheese where I worked in Cape Girardeau is now a Goodwill Store. 


  1. I look upon this time in my life with a huge smile. We were a family, thats for sure. Thanks for the memories, Kevin.

  2. I de-tassled at a hybrid corn company in the summer beginning in eighth grade. Corn leaves are sharp! Ouch. A beautiful experience all in all.