Monday, February 28, 2011

Child’s Death in Chuck E. Cheese’s Ticket Blaster Causes Outrage Among Area Parents

SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- Chuck E. Cheese’s is a chain of pizza restaurants and arcades that have become popular locations for children’s birthday parties. And though the company’s slogan touts it as a place “where a kid can be a kid,” the death of a child this weekend in the Ticket Blaster Experience has caused angry parents to pack the streets of Bennington Vale in protest, waving signs that read “Where a Kid Can be a Corpse.”

About Chuck E. Cheese’s
Chuck E. Cheese’s is a sit-down pizza restaurant complemented by arcade games, amusement rides, an animatronic puppet show, and activities that include climbing equipment, tubes, and slides -- all primarily targeted at younger children. Overseeing the festivities, as the restaurant’s eponymous ringmaster, is an over-sized, anthropomorphic rat named Chuck E. Cheese. The brand is officially represented as the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade.

Critics, however, describe it as a casino for children. Many Bennington Vale churches and parent groups have attacked Chuck E. Cheese’s for promoting values that could serve as a gateway to gambling addiction, akin to Pokemon, jacks, and marbles, which are all banned from San Narciso’s public schools.

Ticket Blaster Experience Turns to Horror
During a typical Chuck E. Cheese’s birthday celebration, lucky boys and girls enjoy a show dedicated to their special day. They receive buckets of tokens for arcade games, and get to spend a few precious minutes inside the Ticket Blaster Experience, where they are secured inside a plastic tube that blows tickets around them in the air. They collect as many tickets as possible, which can be redeemed for candy, toys, and various prizes.

On Sunday morning, eight-year-old Bobby Bersfender stepped into the newly installed Ticket Blaster Experience at Bennington Vale’s Chuck E. Cheese’s. Several minutes after the pneumatic systems activated and the tickets began swirling, employees noticed that something was wrong.

“The tickets were flying around too fast,” mourned Wendy Retchworthy, a hostess at the restaurant. “By the time I could see that Bobby was struggling, the tickets had already torn into his little body. No one could hear his screams over the adults complaining about the food and the lack of decent beer, or over all the other kids yelling about the arcade games not spitting out tickets. When I saw the blood, I shut down the Blaster right away. But I was too late. God forgive me.”

Investigators determined that the air tubes inside the Ticket Blaster had been improperly calibrated, which caused the airborne tickets to slash the flesh of Bobby Bersfender with the force of ninja throwing stars.

“That paper is sharp,” said one police detective on scene, wiping away a tear. “It literally cut him to shreds. The lacerations covered the boy’s body from his chest to his shins. By the time we got him to the hospital, he’d already lost too much blood. And the whole time I was there, all I could focus on were those ridiculous, goddamn puppets chanting ‘birth-da-day, birth-da-day, birth-da-day.’ Those words will haunt me to my grave.”

The restaurant is closed indefinitely, and the family has retained an attorney.

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