I've got to be brutally honest here - I hate using my blog and the traffic I get to promote negativity and have a whinge or complain... it takes away from the all around 'niceness' and good feelings that I try to promote (and anyone who knows me or reads my blog regularly would know that the following post must be the result of something highly irregular to make me so p**sed off).
But if something occurs in the real world outside of the blogosphere that upsets my kids, I'm going to have a rant. Especially when the incident could well have been taken care of by a company the size of Timezone. I will be sending a link to this article to the PR guys from the global family entertainment giant and hopefully they will do something to address this moment of shame.
Here's the background - for those who are not aware (mostly anyone without young kids, I suspect), the latest in crazes sweeping the globe among young children, is the brain-child of Bandai Namco Games. It takes the age-old hobby of card collection (when I was a kid, we collected football player cards) to the next level by combining it with modern-day computer gaming... it's kind of like the old Pokemon card collection on steroids.
The way it works, is that by collecting cards - animal cards, strong cards and miracle cards - kids can scan the barcodes and use the combination of their strongest collected cards to fight other animals. At the end of each game, they will receive a new card (whether they win or lose).
Rightly or wrongly, it's something that my 5-year old and his mates are right into. They collect the cards and each day after kindergarten, spend the time comaparing cards and swapping any duplicates that they may have collected.
So that's what Animal Kaiser is... really they are just printed pieces of cardboard that end up getting sold by the geniuses behind the craze for a retail price of around $2 a piece. Unimaginable profit margins, if you ask me!
In Singapore, Animal Kaiser machines can be found in innumerable locations - from 7-11 stores to banks of machines at all Timezone outlets. The game is so popular, one can see queues of kids waiting for their turn to fight the computer battle and collect their latest card - even more, they are now at 'Evolution 7' of the machines, because the demand for even newer cards than the first sets available is increasing.
At the top of each machine are the clearly printed words - "Kindly Respect Others Behind You Waiting To Play"... words that have absolutely no meaning when it comes to grown adults (nerds) who hog the machines from young kids and play for hours on end.
This is where my rant begins! Under any other circumstances, grown men who 'loiter' around games that are clearly designed for kids could raise eyebrows. My son has (on many occassions) been approached by these strange creatures, who have asked him to swap his newly acquired card with one of theirs, because they have been trying for weeks to get a particular card to add to their collection. This is strange enough in itself, but the attempted exploitation of children in this way by strangers, is almost criminal. I fear for those kids whose parents are not with them in Timezone while these 'predators' are floating around.
One of the highlights of my 5yo's week (and I know it's a fad that he will very soon outgrow), is to get a few new cards after his drawing and inline skating classes on a weekend. So I take him for around 10-minutes to Timezone to play a few games and add to his collection. It's great to see his face when he receives a card that he really likes.
The Shame... this Saturday just gone past, we attended the Timezone centre at Parkway Parade for Jaime's weekly game of Animal Kaiser (Evolution 7) - I also took my 2-yo Casey with us. As is often the case, the bank of machines was full with players, so we took patiently took our place in queue awaiting for one of the players to finish.
It was at that moment, that I noticed that one of the players was a grown man (as mentioned above, this is not so unusual with the ever-growing number of Animal Kaiser adult nerds - NERD ALERT!!). What amazed me, was that he was multi-tasking... playing on one machine, while his son (or perhaps, nephew) was playing on the machine next to him. This still would have been ok, but he was actually not 'playing' the game - he was just scanning his payment card in his machine and then allowing the game to 'play itself' - that is, by not pressing any buttons, the machine (after 30-seconds each time) makes selections for him - making the process last twice as long. So he starts a game and then just chats with an old auntie sitting next to him - every now and then, reaching over to press a button on his young relative's machine or to collect a card or to scan his payment card for a new game.
He was completely oblivious to the growing queue of kids behind him. I use this term lightly - he knew how many kids were gathering and patiently waiting, because occasionally he would glance back and then continue on with his hogging of the machines (plural).
This is where things began to get ugly - I almost thought that I might have been on hidden camera on that American show 'Boiling Points'... my kids were starting to get restless after around 20-minutes. I reminded them (in earshot of the uncle nerd) the importance of remaining patient (at the same time, feeling my own patience growing very thin).
Finally, the Animal Kaiser adult hog looked like he was going to finish and give those in queue a chance to play - but hold the phone!!!! He asked a young girl who he obviously new (but was not in queue) to come and sit at the machine and start playing - many of the kids and adults waiting behind all looked at each other incredulously, but still nothing was said directly to this guy - perhaps the girl had been in queue at some stage and went away for some reason - so we gave them the benefit of the doubt.
The hog now sat behind the young boy we suspect was his relative - we all heard him tell this kid to finish playing after his next game - yoohoo!! Finally other kids will get a chance to play. But alas!! It was not to be!!! The girl on the machine he relinquished passed it to another boy who was not in queue - by now everybody behind was getting restless, and complaints were changing from simple looks to actual comments suggesting that people should queue up and wait their turn.
The Animal Kaiser adult nerd, now changed into the 'Animal Kaiser Boss Man' - he turned and said "it's ok, they are family" (so they don't need to queue up - because the boss man said so).
By now, my wife had arrived at Timezone, wondering why we still had not finished the mere 10-minutes that the kids wanted (this was almost an hour later at this stage). I explained in ear-shot of the 'Animal Kaiser Boss Man' what had been going on and how the entire crowd now waiting were beginning to get frustrated.
This is when I lost it!! The young boy in front of the boss man now had finished and stood up. As my 5-year old moved toward the machine, this rude and arrogant 'pr*ck' who had been causing all the frustration quickly jumped in the vacant seat, laid out his books of game cards and swiped his payment card... he took over this newly vacated machine as though he can just change from one machine to another and not consider this jumping queue (again).
Everybody behind now began getting vocal - I reached over this knuckle head and pointed to the sign "Kindly Respect Others Behind You Waiting To Play"... his reaction now was to completeley ignore me and he did not even have the courage to turn and face me... he just continued on with his oblivion.
It has been a long time since I have felt so angry that I thought a vein was going to pop in my head. It wasn't me I was worried about - it was my kids, one of which was now crying becuase they could not get to play any machine because of this arrogant, thoughtless, ungracious and downright rude a**hole!!
My wife rightly pulled me away from the situation before I completely lost it (which would have been the worst thing for everybody). By this stage, I was creating my own scene, yelling at this nerd about what it means to be gracious, telling him to look at the group of kids now crying behind him. I am ashamed of my own lack of composure - but this had gone on long enough... and he was upsetting my children.
We decided it would be best to leave (even after waiting so long) and drive to somewhere else for Jaime to play - which we did.
This is where Timezone should be ashamed... I approached the counter on the way out and told the staff what was going on - how and adule had gone from playing two machines at once, not actually playing but scanning his card and chatting to an auntie every time, how he was directing traffic as to who could get to a machine next, regardless of any queuing going on and his direct cutting of queue himself.
The male staff memmber raised a broad smile on his face and said, "what's wrong, you are waiting for the machine so you're angry?"... and then giggled at the girl working there... WTF!!!?? My son was crying at the hands of a nerd who has no respect for others, ignoring all the signs on the machines and acting as the Animal Kaiser Boss Man... and the staff member had the hide to smile and laugh about it??? SHAME ON YOU, TIMEZONE!! SHAME ON YOU, ANIMAL KAISER NERD!!
Now I feel better that I've got all this out - I was seething with anger after this incident for hours... the only thing is that I wish I had have taken the guy's picture to post here on my blog - or a video of his behaviour - perhaps I will go back looking for him to do so, next weekend... :) And to any of my readers - if you want to ridicule someone - go check out the Animal Kaiser Boss Man at Parkway Parade Timezone - he's a sight to see!!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The Shame Of Timezone Singapore - The Adult Animal Kaiser Boss Man Nerd
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