Debacle At The Arcade (and win a copy of Devon Delaney)

April 2, 2010

Confession time.

Kids kind of scare me.

I know. You’d think that since I write for them, I would love them. And I DO love them, I do! They just scare me. Babies, I’m okay with. Teenagers, totally fine. But say, from like the ages of 4-10? They’re just so unpredictable! You never know what they’re going to do. In fact, they could pretty much do anything.

Anyway, my niece is ten, so she is on the upper range of children I’m not afraid of. And she’s really cool. She likes to talk about all the same things I do, like tween books and the show Make It Or Break It and the merits of dangly earrings.

The other night, The Boy and I went over to baby-sit her and her sisters, and I took her out to the bookstore and the arcade. The bookstore was fun — we looked at the books and talked about the Diary of A Wimpy Kid movie, and looked at all those board games and magic kits and things that they have in the middle of the store.

Then we went to the arcade.

The Niece loves arcades. She thinks that maybe they are the best things ever. I like them, too, for the most part. I mean, what’s not to like? Games, tickets you can spend all night earning and then turn in for a pixie stick… it’s really fun for all.

We got there sort of toward the end of the night, so the place wasn’t busy at all. (Thank God there weren’t more people there, because if there were, what happened later could have been a lot more embarrassing.) The Niece went to work, playing games, earning tickets, etc. Finally, it was almost time to leave, so I told her she had fifteen minutes to use up the rest of her tokens.

And that’s when it happened.

The Niece put her quarter into a machine where the point of the game was to shoot it into these colorful slots — each slot earned you a different number of tickets. One red slot said “bonus” and it was like, the width of the token, pretty much impossible to get.

But The Niece did. Her token went flying into the tiny “bonus” slot, and tickets started pouring out of the machine.

“Wow!” I said. “That’s awesome!” We stood there smiling and watching the tickets, feeling smug and superior to this other little girl who was clutching her measly twenty tickets while she played skee-ball.

“Can I go play that?” The Niece asked after a couple of minutes. “While you gather up the tickets?”

“Sure,” I said. We didn’t have much time left, and I wanted her to be able to use up the rest of her tokens. She walked over to some other game that involved shooting balls into these cups that sort of looked like owls.

I picked up the line of tickets and started to fold them up. (They are those long lines of tickets, like you get sometimes for raffles.)

But the tickets kept coming. And coming. And coming. They started pooling around my feet, and people started to stare. I was folding them up as fast as I could, into little compact rectangles and then shoving them in my pockets. But my pockets filled up fast, and I couldn’t keep up with the tickets. I had nowhere to put them.

At one point, I looked up at the machine and it said “tickets remaining = 497”

A girl who worked there was vacuuming, and she gave me a dirty look as she passed by and almost vacuumed up my line of tickets. It was very embarrassing. Finally I stopped trying to fold them up and just gathered the whole mess up into my hands.

When The Niece returned, we looked around for the machine to put them in. Usually in arcades you feed your tickets into a machine, it counts them automatically, and then you get a receipt that has the number of tickets you have printed on it.

Not at this one.

“Excuse me?” I said to the teenage boy who was working the counter. “Where do we put these tickets?” I peeked at him over the mountain that was in my arms. “Do we… do we have to count them ourselves?” I was almost crying.

“No,” he said. “You put them in this bucket.”

He shoved a Dubble Bubble bucket across the counter at me, and I started trying to put the tickets in gently, figuring he had a machine back there to feed them into. But he didn’t! He grabbed the tickets and like SMUSHED them down into the bucket. He was very rough, actually.

Then he took the bucket and brought it back to this very shady looking scale in the back, set the bucket on it, and announced that we’d won 1050 tickets. It didn’t seem that scientific, but whatever.

The Niece picked out some prizes – this huge bouncy ball that bounced to the ceiling, and various pieces of candy. (That’s the thing about arcades – you spend the whole time earning all these tickets and then you get tricked into thinking these sorts of cheap little prizes are, like, the best things ever.)

Then we went home.

I am going to hang out with her again on Saturday, so maybe we’ll be back. But this time I’m totally going to play DDR.

And in celebration of tweens and DDR and arcades, anyone who leaves a comment on this entry will be entered to win a copy of DEVON DELANEY SHOULD TOTALLY KNOW BETTER. (Devon has been known to DDR once in a while, in between all her fake boyfriends.)

The contest will run through Sunday, and I’ll pick and post the winner on Monday.

More later,

Posted by Lauren @ 10:17 am  

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  1. Kate Goodwin says:

    Awesome arcade story!! That sounds really embarrassing though. And I totally know what you mean about the prizes. I remember when I was little, my dad would take me to arcades, and I always wanted enough prizes to win the big boombox they had mounted on the wall. I never did win enough for it, and my dad (the accountant) probably should have realized that we could have saved a lot of money if we just went to Target and bought one…

  2. jpetroroy says:

    I still remember winning a porcelain unicorn from an arcade when I was younger and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I kept it for years.

  3. Adriana says:

    OMG thts so cool! i havent DDR’d 4 a LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG time!! and the ticket story is so insane!!! also, r u writing any new Devon books? Or any Scarlett books? ya know, scarlett, from four truths and a lie? r u making any more scarlett and devon books soon?

  4. Nancye Davis says:

    This sounds like a fun book! Please count me in! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  5. Maddz says:

    LOL! I remember when I used to go to Planet Fun (a Chucky Cheese rip-off place) and I never got enough tickets to get the really cool stuff. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to get enough tickets to get the cool stuff, LOL!

    Anyway, count me in on the contest! I love the Devon Delaney books!

  6. Mariska says:

    Wow, great book ! I haven’t read any of your books ! this is like a huge chance for me to read one 🙂 Enter me in !

  7. Lily Simon says:

    Ha-ha! Im 11, but some how,I seem to have the same problem as you do. With little kids, I mean. For instance, last night I was at my neighbors house having dinner, they are italian so the mom makes a kick-butt lasanga…which is what we were having. One of my BFF’s is her daughter she’s a year younger than me but still really fun and cool. But, let me get to the point, they have a second daughter, she is in 1st grade. Dont get me wrong she’s really cute and stuff. But, around when dinner was ending, she wanted to sit on my lap, the first grader, I mean. Which was cool… untill what happend next. She sat on my lap for a short while. Then, when she got up my lap was wet. I had spilt some 7-up on my lap earlier but it had already dried. I wasnt sure, but had a hunch that I might have been covered in what this lil’ girl had been holding in all night long.
    About 20 min. later the first grader’s mom said something in italian that started-out Claudia, go upstairs!(blah-blah-italian part.)then ended with the word pantelonas which I know for a fact, means pants. You can assume what my mindset was but to put even more of a damper on my night, I was wearing a new skirt and leggings. I dont care if I win or not beacause I already have and read Devon Delaney should totally know better. Thanks Lauren!

  8. lisek16 says:

    love DDR, but haven’t played in years. I was never very coordinated, but now I play tap tap revenge on my ipod touch and love it.

  9. Kate says:

    Yeah kids are strange. Im at a point where everyone is asking when Im going to have kids and I dont know what to say without sounding like a horrible person, but they can be weird! LOL

    Id love a chance to win the book! Sounds cute! 🙂

  10. Angie D says:

    I loved your story! Thanks for making me smile:)
    I would love to be entered for a chance to win this book!
    email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

  11. zeida says:

    Let me be the first to tell you I love your books especially The Secret Identiy Of Devon Danlaney she is just like me except that I really dont lie that much anyways it would be a honor to win that book and I will cherish that book forever. If I don’t win I don’t care even though I want to, Anyways if I don’t I will just go out and buy it!:)Also I wanted to ask if I win for youto please sign it. It will be soamazing,terffic,cool and outstanding

  12. Devonne says:

    Haha I love you lauren..AND your books:)

  13. Jade says:

    I have an issue with little kids. There is this like 9 year old little girl who comes to my house EVERY day…. She plays with my little brother, But at other times she is stuck to me like someone glued us together with super glue!
    Anyways it;s funny how I got THE SECERT IDENTIY OF DEVON DELANEY – at my schools book fair- It didn’t seem like my type of book but I starting reading it and finished it in 2 days!
    If you could enter me for a chance to win DEVON DELANEY SHOULD TOTALLY KNOW BETTER I would appreciate it….if you could sign it I would so be thrilled.
    THX 🙂

  14. teyah says:

    I love your books Lauren! Especially the ones about Devon Delaney!<3 Love ya!

  15. Robyn R. says:

    OMG!!!!!! That’s sound like FUN!!!!! I ALWAYS try to get that too, but it NEVER works!!!!! im not very good when it comes to arcades….. haha….. I’ll say, U R THE BEST AUTHOR IN THE UNIVERSE!!!!!! If i do win, do u think that u could sign the book, and if i dont win, cause im not very lucky, do u think that we could email sometime????

    I can tell that this is going to be a tough contest. the other people’s comments r WAY better than mine.
    LUV YA!!!!
    :o) ( my friend just discovered that kind of smiley face. HAHAHA)

    P.S Do you think that ur gonna make a second book for Devon Delaney and four Truths and a lie?? EMAIL ME!!!!!!!

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