Thursday, July 24, 2008

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

This is for my friend, D, who so graciously invited The HomeFront to tag along with her and her boys, and then got to spend her time commiserating with me about how crazy expensive the world has become. Good times for her, I'm sure. Thanks, D!

An Open Letter to the Local Indoor Jungle Gym/Arcade:

Dear "Fun People",

I have visited your establishment several times this summer, and, after today's visit, I felt compelled to write regarding several of your new policies.

First of all, I notice that you are now charging the parents/caregivers an admission fee despite the fact that we do not use the equipment. In fact, we cannot use the equipment. It is clearly marked FOR AGES 1-9 ONLY!, and in addition, most adults would not be able to squeeze our way through your glorified gerbil tubes anyway.

Previously, I would sit on a bench and watch as my children made their way across rope nets and through slides, and I would pray that no one broke a limb. Or worse, that one would get stuck and I would have to heave myself up into the maze for a search and rescue. Now I get to pay for sitting on a bench and praying? I can do that for free at church.

In addition to the admission fees, all patrons must pony up the cash money for the arcade tokens. I would be much more willing to change more than two dollars into tokens if you would fix the stinking games already. It seems each time we visit, fully half of your games are broken. It is like some kind of flunky carnival came to town and left their useless machines behind.

I also noticed that you charge full admission for crawling babies. Seriously? Crawling? I don't think so. You seem to be under the impression that two Exersaucers, a plastic rocking horse, and a mini slide with a two foot drop-off makes good fun for a crawling baby. It doesn't. Even my toddler cries when I point her towards the baby section.

But the biggest problem by far is the "No outside food or drinks policy" you've instituted. As I could see from your sign, and from your employee who told me to put my child's half-finished drink away, you include coffee cups (from home or from other businesses), other beverage containers, any kind of food, and sippy cups. Harsh.

Now I understand that you've got to make a living, I really do, but come on! No sippies? I know that you are willing and able to provide me with a coffee for triple the price or a pack of fruit snacks for a dollar fifty, but I can't afford it!

I can buy an entire box of fruit snacks for a little less than two dollars, making each pack roughly thirty three cents. You are charging me a dollar fifty for one pack. That's a markup of 500%! Those better be gold nugget fruit snacks you're passing over the counter.

In short, it's all just too rich for my blood. I'll be taking my business down the highway to the Chick-Fil-A, where my kids can play on the same kind of indoor jungle gym and I can eat waffle fries and drink sweet tea. I'll gladly pay for that.



Aimee and The HomeFront Corp.


  1. Anonymous9:52 PM

    They charge admission for adults? That's crazy.

    This is part of the reason we got a Y membership. Reduced price for swim or ballet lessons plus an indoor swimming pool for one family membership fee. Even though we don't get there often it feels like a bargain today.

  2. Anonymous5:55 AM

    I know exactly what place you are discussing--you should send your note to them! I always assume sippy cups do not apply to the "outside food and drink policy" b/c typically the drink they sell is not for a baby! I will cross that place off my list!

    -Lisa L

  3. "Now I get to pay for sitting on a bench and praying? I can do that for free at church."

    I'm laughing outloud at this post but I feel your pain.

    Seriously though, you should send this letter to them. Perhaps they will rethink some of their policies.

  4. You are F.u.n.n.y.
    Very enjoyable. I am putting you are GoogleReader asap.

  5. I hope you really sent them that letter!

    And you're right about Chick-Fil-A. BONUS: their employees are unfailingly polite, to customers AND to each other, and the place is immaculate. And no arcades!! Free refills too. You can't go wrong.

    I loved the part about sitting on a bench & true. I have had to go on rescue missions more times with Middle my revenge, I sent her on those missions when Little Brother got into some gerbil tube he couldn't handle. BTW, "gerbil tube"--genius!

  6. Charging for adults is ridiculous. Presumably the little customers that are the bread and butter of the business could not be there unsupervised, so really they should be grateful that you are willing to bring the small ones. Perhaps they are charging adults b/c there is a limit on how many people can be in the building and they want to make every stinking penny they can. Send your letter and keep your commitment to take your business elsewhere.

  7. I'm with you, Aimee. Our community pool (community -- not private) charges parents to sit poolside. Like I'm just going to trust those teenage lifeguards and go elsewhere while the most precious people in the world go for a swim! Send your letter!

  8. We don't have this place. Or I haven't discovered it yet. That's just wrong. ALL of it. Send the letter, girl!
    And no outside food? What about kids with food allergies? Should they just go hungry or should they just have an allergic reaction from stuff we buy there?

  9. I can't figure out what venue this is, so I'm going to guess it is something that we don't have around here. Or, it is and it's not somewhere we go.

    But, oh man, I literally burst out laughing at this: "Now I get to pay for sitting on a bench and praying? I can do that for free at church." LOL

  10. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Girlfriend! I'm honored that you wrote a post on your infamous blog dedicated to me, Friend D, who is one of your faithful blog readers though I don't always respond! Thank You! I must say the 'roar of laughter' coming from the kitchen as my husband read the article was D.E.L.I.G.H.T.F.U.L.! So, double-thank-you for that. Last but not least, it is sad that if 2 parents with 2 children want to visit this establishment, it would cost $18 just to enter the add the cost of food, drinks and tokens for the arcade games! And that is if the 'guy' at the front desk charges correctly, since getting thru the gate is like wrestling with a crocodile who cannot add the number of children and adults coming in! The whole thing is truly insane! When shall we meet at Chik-Fil-A? (smile) Proud Friend "D"

  11. As someone who packs food and drink from home for almost any trip, I am horrified. I once sent Bella to the zoo with my sister with such a well packed lunch cooler that everyone in the family was able to eat from it and they didn't have to purchase food all day. It's astonishing that they have the no-outside-food-or-drink policy, and it's even more astonishing that they enforce it.

    Send the letter and spread the word. Word!


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