My hub had a rude awakening tonight. For years, he’s been calling the pizza joint filled with arcade games and tickets that you trade in for cheap Chinese-made toys Chunkie Cheese. While excessive amounts of pizza will make you chunky, that isn’t what they advertise in their name.

Yes, tonight we ventured to Chuckie Cheese for a birthday party. Bean was overwhelmed. And overjoyed. After a dinner of peesa and some cayk (as she says), she went to play games with her Daddy. I sat at the table, nursed Peanut (using one of my nifty new Nursing Covers), and talked to the other moms of teeny kids.

I realized what a racket Chuckie Cheese is running! I mean, the kids come and get just a few tokens. Not enough to do much, but just enough to whet their whistle. Then, after their tokens are out, they want more. And more. And they’ll scream until they get it. Then, they have a bunch of tickets they’ve won from their token-taking games. So, they try to cash them in. But, they realize that it takes about 9 million tickets to get a sticker. So, they want more tokens to play more games to win more tickets. The parents, who are desperate for a meal in peace and are using this token-game-ticket scamming cycle as a babysitter, keep handing over the cash.

Then, there’s the few parents who get into it. I saw one mom with strips of tickets in her clutched hand. She was griping that a game was out of tickets and “Owed her some.” Come on, mom. Take the money you spent on the tokens and buy 15 of the cheapo stuffed animals that you’ll get with your tickets. It’ll probably make your kid break out anyway.

I realized how brilliant this business plan is. I’m going to try to replicate it. And then, as I feed off the parents who will give their kids anything to shut them up, I will sit back, watch the anamatronic mascot sing 80’s music to a puppet back-up band, and laugh at my brilliance.

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