I was recently at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant / arcade. I picked up on a few details about the place that you may not have noticed, but are very negatively influential to children who play there.
For those not familiar with the place, it is an arcade of different games and you get tickets from every game that you are able to exchange for receipts to buy prizes. Each game is worth a token that you can buy with real money.
See the problem yet?
There are two types of games, games for fun, and games that are chance based that get you tickets. The ticket games are often more prominent; however, they are usually rigged, making it hard or impossible to get a real prize. The number of fun games are decreasing and decreasing as the point of the arcade becomes more centered around getting enough tickets to get a prize. Again, these games are not fun at all, and only involve pulling a lever or sliding a coin down with accurate timing. Even worse, jackpot prizes reach only 25 or 50 tickets. The prizes are very expensive and often poorly made or easy to lose. They are often worthless. You can buy a small pack of candy for 50 tickets,and a good prize would be 4,000 tickets, an almost impossible task. These are usually supposed to be saved up for, but the store encourages children to cease to invest and instead buy small and cheap toys.
How is modern day economy similar to places like Chuck E. Cheese?
The spending world is based upon first, exchanging your time and effort for money. The time and effort may be represented by the tokens, which could also very possibly represent gold; showing how the economy makes it seem like money is worth more than gold. Instead of enjoying yourself with the money and time and effort that you have, you instead always aim towards getting the most money so that you could buy. The more you buy, the more fulfilled you see yourself. Instead, you are disappointed with the prize in the long run and the countless hours that you put into a prize goes to waste when you get a new one. This does not make you happier, like any form of materialism, it wastes your effort and makes you stressed and never get a real reward, which you could cherish. The store, however, continues to encourage you to buy these prizes. After all, all the tokens will always belong to the store. You never really own your own money, it always comes back to the store when you play a game; in the real world, taxes and buying makes it go back to the government over time.
In the real world, we do the same thing, and places like Chuck E. Cheese do little but prepare us for it, and force us to embrace it. We work to get money that we spend on useless things. By the time we pay rent and bills, all of our hard- earned money is already taken away. This becomes a vicious cycle that allows us to do nothing but work, to no avail.
What can we do to encourage the future generation to enjoy life and not get caught in the endless cycle of working and consuming? The first step could be to change the aim of these arcades. If there were more arcades that had more fun games and discouraged or did not allow you to exchange tickets for prizes, children could learn to use the money to have fun experiences rather than to consume and waste our hard work.