May 14, 2009

Lisa: Lovin' it?

There is a matter that has been lying heavily upon my mind for some time. I think it is time to share this matter with you, and to use your responses as a balm for my troubled soul.

I HATE the McDonalds Playland.

It is horrible. Let me describe it for the uninitiated among you. The McDonalds Playland is a giant network of brightly colored plastic pipes. Some of these pipes lead to dead ends with clear plexiglass windows, while others lead up to larger, room-like openings or enclosed, spiral pipe-slides. There is usually one entrance to the entire structure, with a bank of cubbies next to it for kids' shoes. The whole mess is completely enclosed with a combination of plexiglass walls, locked chain-link-and-PVC-pipe gates, and nylon netting.

Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but let me describe for you just a few of the problems.

1) Half the kids in there are carrying grubby little handfuls of soggy cheeseburger, or half-eaten Chicken McNuggets. These get dragged and squished along the sides and floor of the pipes during play (not to mention the kid with the overflowing diaper dragging his pungent little butt down each tube). Now, these pipes are kid-sized, and adults are not allowed inside the Playplace. You KNOW the employees aren't squeezing in there after hours, wiping down those pipes with any kind of regularity. The whole thing might be "sanitized" once or twice a year, but that's not doing much against day-to-day grimings.

2) Once your kid is past the entrance, there is no possibility for adult intervention of any kind. Did she climb too high, and is now unsure how to get back down? You'll just have to wait for her to stop crying and figure it out. Did some bigger kids corner her at the end of the blue pipe and start menacing her with their broken-off ice cream cones? I hope she remembers those self-defense lessons you've been giving her.

3) Forget getting your child out of the Playland before they're good and ready. They know you can't come in there after them, and they take advantage of that. There is always at least one mom outside the entrance of the Playland, hands on hips, half bent over and calling into the pipe in her sternest voice: "DEVIN! DEVIN! YOU COME OUT OF THERE THIS INSTANT!" There is a sign posted outside the structure detailing emergency procedures, which are basically that the parents are supposed to stay out of the structure, while McDonalds management "gets the children's attention and instructs them to leave the Playland." Right. I'm sure the kids will see giant flames through the plexiglass, hear an unfamiliar voice through a loudspeaker urging them to exit, and will calmly comply. None of them will get scared and huddle in the most hard-to-reach places.

4) Guaranteed, one kid is scaling the nylon netting on the outside of the Playland, while another kid is yelling, "Mo-om! The sign says No Climbing [which it patently does] and that boy is climbing!" There is no choice for the second kid's mother but to yell back, "Are you that boy's mother? No. He has a mother." Must we play out this tired scene again and again?

5) Please don't get me started on the aura of plastic-generated electrostatic that surrounds the whole place.

Nora, of course, loves it. Even when I have to pick pieces of broken Happy Meal toys out of her chubby little knees afterward.

Posted by lisa at May 14, 2009 05:30 PM

That. Sounds. Like. Hell.

Posted by: sarah on May 14, 2009 11:40 PM

The McDonald's playplace is siiiiiiick. I was observing kids playing in one in Ephriam and I was know those kids probably only get bathed once a week too. hahahahaha

Posted by: Corinne on May 15, 2009 08:33 AM

I'm with nora. I have good memories there

Posted by: Young Jeffrey on May 15, 2009 10:29 AM

I've heard that those ball pitts are full of old vomit and diarrhea explosions. Shudder.

Posted by: Andrea on May 19, 2009 02:23 PM
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