Rainy Days Make Great Arcade Days
In general, do you like arcades?
Tips To Enjoy Your Day More
It’s a rainy day and your two kids are bummed out. You see, you promised them you would take them to the local amusement park. However, because of the weather, it isn’t going to happen. As your vacation days are few, you won’t have a chance to take them for at least a month, probably more. You still want to give them a fun day out. What are you to do?
Out of the corner of your eye, you notice a flyer advertising a new arcade not too far from your house. Attached are coupons for discounted food and free tokens. Yes, it’s not an amusement park, but it still might be fun. If nothing else, it beats staying home. And, in our modern-day economy, who can pass up coupons? Before you go though, I hope you’ll consider the following ten tips (in no particular order).
Set A Budget and Stick to It
In the excitement of the day, we often go over our spending limit simply because we don’t have one. If you only intend upon spending $20 don’t bring $40 in. Yes, it’s not fun to consider finances when you want to cut lose with your kids. However, it’s not fun being overdrawn on your account at the end of the month. If you plan the day wisely, sticking to your budget won’t be that difficult.
Divide The Tokens Evenly
Having taken monthly family trips to an arcade as a child, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be when your brothers get ten tokens each and, thinking you can’t count, your parents only give you five. True, it’s a treat to be taken to an arcade in the first place. Kids today forget that outings are privileges and not necessities. Still, it hurts to be shortchanged by the very people you feel most close to. If you’re going to give one child four tokens, you better give the other four too. Doing otherwise only starts fights and makes kids feel less important than their sibling(s).
Don’t Expect Gourmet Dining
Arcade food has never been and will never be merely better than okay. Nobody goes to an arcade for the food. As a result, the owners don’t employ professional cooks. Instead, they hire teenagers who know how to operate a microwave and/or an oven and aren’t too afraid to get burnt by grease. The food is never fresh. It is always frozen and hard to digest. Please don’t go to an arcade snack bar expecting deliciousness. You’ll only be disappointed.
Carry Hand Sanitizer
Everyone has germs. Even the most sanitary people spread theirs around. Owners rarely clean their machines or, if they do, they don’t clean them enough to ward off colds. Before eating even the smallest piece of candy be sure to sanitize your hands. I would say that you should wash your hands, but, in these places, even the soap has a way of being dirty.
Watch Out for Broken Machines
I have never gone to an arcade where every machine works. Most places will place a sign on the machine warning customers not to put their money in the machine because it is broken. Still, there are some arcades where the owners neglect to put up such a sign and refuse to refund the lost token. I would suggest that you watch other gamers to see which games aren’t working properly. True, a game that worked for someone else could break for you. However, if you have a chance to learn from someone else’s misfortune, I suggest you do. Arcades aren’t usually run by the most reliable people. You don’t want to lose your money if you don’t have to.
Aim For a Prize
Not everyone plays ticket games, but, if you do, I suggest you look at the prize selection before playing for tickets. Some arcades have prizes for a single ticket. Others don’t give out a prize for anything less than four tickets. If possible, you should try to find out in advance (before even setting foot in the arcade) what minimum ticket count is required to get a prize. You don’t want your child (or yourself for that matter) to be disappointed when you get a gumball for fifty tickets.
Protect Your Pockets
When I was growing up, kids were notorious for stealing tokens from other gamers and/or watching for kids to accidentally drop tokens out of their pockets. You need to tell your kids to be careful about where they place their tokens and to call for you if someone tries to steal theirs. Ideally, you would be with your children at all times. Yet, from experience, siblings don’t always like playing the same types of games. Make sure you’re in ear shot of your kids though. You never know when they might need you.
Dealing With Misbehaving Children
Whenever you go to a place that’s child friendly, you always see a child or two acting up. While you may have raised your children to behave in public, there are far more parents, it seems, who skipped that part of parenting. I guarantee you that your visit to an arcade will be interrupted by one of these children. For me, I always used to encounter another kid who would suddenly be interested in playing the game I had just started playing. They would whine and whine and, believing their child’s obnoxious behavior to warrant gratification, their parent would firmly suggest I find another game and give their child a chance. Thankfully overhearing this exchange, my mother or grandmother would step in and, knowing what was good for them, the child and parent would move on to another game. When a good parent is reminded by a nasty child that their child didn’t have to end up the way they did, such a parent breathes a sigh of relief for having such a great kid. No longer are they frustrated about the effort they put in to making them be so well-behaved.
Set A Time Limit and Stick to It
If you want to do something more with the day than hang out at the arcade, you must set time limits. I would say that two hours would be a sufficient amount of time to get in game play and a pizza. Though it is tempting to spend the day at the arcade, it’s not a good idea.
Keep Track of Your Kids
I was a major offender when it came to wandering off in public places. I was curious about everything and wanted to know what was beyond my mom’s invisible barrier. Not meaning to, I would always scare my mom to death. After one too many adventures, my mom started using what I call a child leash. Basically, it was this blue and white rope with a Velcro handcuff on each end, one for the parent and one for the child. Due to my behavior, I guess it was appropriate, but I don’t think I’ll be using it when I have a child. Still, you need to keep track of your child any way you can. Kids wander off. Kids get kidnapped. A fun day can turn into a truly tragic one in the blink of an eye. Keep an eye on them and don’t be embarrassed to call for them.
A rainy day gives one an opportunity to explore new places. If you budget your time and money wisely, a trip to the arcade could be an awesome day. Just don’t forget the hand sanitizer!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2009 L A Walsh