At Work


Workers Around The Region

July 13, 2005|By Lizzie Newland

Geoffrey Gautieri

Chuck E. Cheese character, Laurel

Age: 19

Years on the job: Three

Salary: Between $6 and $8.25 an hour, depending on experience.

No appointment necessary: Gautieri walked off the street and applied for the job because he wanted to have fun at work.

Staying power: "I meant for this just to be a summer job. I guess I got too comfortable."

Cross-trainers: He does everything from working in the kitchen, attending the game room and checking in children at the door when he isn't in the Chuck E. Cheese mouse costume.

Hours: He works 35 to 40 hours a week during the summer and 25 to 30 hours while studying journalism at Howard Community College.

Showtime: Every hour, Gautieri performs on the floor and gives out tickets to children. During birthday parties, he dances with the children during the motorized puppet show on stage.

The good: A fun work environment, flexible hours and a 50 percent discount on food. "The job has its moments when it's fun and you like doing it. Other times, you can't wait for the show to end."

The bad: Getting physically abused by children. "Sometimes kids attack. They kick, slap, hit, punch." He says older children usually are the perpetrators because they know there is a person inside the costume.

Image: "It's kind of cool."

Play by the rules: Gautieri is not allowed to talk, pick up children or remove the head piece while in the Chuck E. Cheese costume. But he will wave, give hugs and take pictures.

Do you play any other characters? "No, only Chuck. But other stores do have additional characters."

Would you be a mascot again? "No, once is enough ... it gets really hot in [the costume]."

Favorite food at Chuck E. Cheese: All-meat combo pizza.

Favorite arcade game: Arctic Thunder, a snow-mobile racing game.

The heat is on: "The costume gets really hot and sweaty." When in costume, he gets a 15-minute break every hour. Gautieri wears his uniform, a sweatband and no shoes while in costume.

The next generation: Gautieri says that when he has kids, he will take them to Chuck E. Cheese, but he won't tell them that he was the mouse. - Lizzie Newland

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