Monday, August 22, 2016

This is My Dream Job

This is My Dream Job
by Levi Hanson (Action City Game-Tech)

I was just a little guy when I went to my first arcade at the local shopping mall. My first impression was, "wow." I had no idea so many awesome games and contraptions could be in one place! Since then, every aspect of arcades has amazed me. I used to build crane games and skee-ball machines out of cardboard, tons of tape, and a pinch of imagination. I bought rolls of tickets at the party store and created my own ticket dispensers. The only thing I wanted for my birthday one year was a cash register. Long story short, I was (and still am) obsessed.

When Action City came along, I was one of the first people to go. Talk about a big surprise! This place was at least 10 times the size of the arcade I once thought was heaven. At the age of six, receiving my very own "Fun License" was a dream come true. Even at such a young age, my first long-term goal had already been cemented in my brain. I had to work here some day.

For my 10th birthday, of course we had to go to Action City. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just won the jackpot on one of my favorite games (the Cyclone; it's a classic) when I heard over the PA system, "Attention all Action City guests, could Levi Hanson please report to the front desk?” I carefully made my way to the desk, confused and embarrassed because they said my name over the speakers (my dad knew it would get me). I thought I did something wrong! I told the lady my name, and she responded, "Great! Benny will be ready for you in just a minute." Benny?  Why would someone named Benny have any interest in me? It turns out that my dad had secretly arranged a special "behind-the-scenes" tour just for me, with the General Manager of my favorite places on earth! I got to go where only employees had gone before. I met a man named Kelly, who walked around the building with me and answered all my questions. He taught me about how certain machines worked and even showed me how to refill the tickets in the games. I got to meet some of the Game Techs; they are the ones who fix the games when they aren't working quite right. I wanted to be a Game Tech so badly that I convinced Benny, my new-found hero, to let me follow them around as a job shadow.

I'm a Game Tech now. I've (officially) worked here for over two years, and I can't imagine myself working anywhere else. This is my dream job. I get to do what I've wanted to do since I was six years old. Coming here as a kid made me the happiest person on the planet, and working here has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and pursue my dreams. I love working at a place where my job is to make people happy. This place has inspired me to hopefully make a difference in the lives of others, the way Action City has done for me. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Family Dinner Confessional

All great change in America begins at the dinner table. 
-Ronald Reagan

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't worried that my parents would find out something I had done.  I didn't tell them until I was twelve that my sister hadn't fallen off the couch before her first ambulance ride and that I had pushed her.  (I had just learned the definition of statue of limitations.)  I was 30 when I had to confess to my dad that I could still jump from our garage roof to the tree.    My mom is a nurse and my dad is an O.S.H.A. investigator, so there wasn't a risk I could take, or a game I could invent that they couldn't tell me how someone lost an eye, or bled out slowly or was never seen again.  In order to stay ahead of the teachers, neighbors, policemen and us, they had to get a little creative.  In future blogs, you'll hear about how my mom lied to me to convince me to never lie again, how the local police force and store owners stopped telling me when I was in trouble so that they could tell my parents instead and how punishments designed to rebuild trust made me never trust anyone again, but today we're going to talk about something I jokingly call "The Last Suppers."

To this day, the Last Supper is still practiced at my parents' house when I'm visiting.  Mom and Dad made a rule that anything we "voluntarily" confessed to at the dinner table would not have consequences. It would be discussed calmly as a family about why it was wrong and how it should be handled the next time and then mostly forgotten about assuming that you told the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  The dinner table at the Anderson household always included a show.   My friends still come over to watch and tell on me so that I have to squirm through the discomfort.

On our last visit, I told my parents how I had used a ladder to jump through a second story window, that I hadn't gone to the doctor to get my bump checked out like I was supposed to and how I might have forgotten to register the license plates for the car that my dad had cosigned for ten years ago and had a hold on his license for.     I was told how unsafe what I had done was, how my bump might be cancerous and how paying 55 dollars would keep my dear old pops out of court.   But, I still got prime rib roast and baked potatoes and a clear conscience.

Having a child of my own and almost 200 employees, I see the genius of The Last Supper. I get to prepare myself to teach right from wrong by knowing that someone is coming to tell me something I might not like as opposed to having a poor reaction when I'm surprised that these kids are doing all the same stupid things that I did.  I get to educate versus intimidate, correct versus discover and most importantly encourage them to address problems versus hide from them or struggle.

It's in the spirit of this, that we bring you our latest promotion $5 pizza night at Chaos and Action City.  Sure, we hope you play the games or swim in the water park, but we hope you take the time you would normally put into making a dinner into sitting a the table and talking as a family over a 17 inch pizza.  If you struggle with getting the conversation going you can use my mom's tip:  Always confess something that their father did to get in trouble to get them comfortable.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

'Tis the season!

The hustle and bustle of the holiday's are upon us.  The kids are excited and pretending to behave as the threat of being "naughty" is forever lurking over their heads.  As parents we continue to threaten that Santa won't bring any presents if the kiddos don't behave.  Just this morning my 4 year old son told me he didn't want to go to 4K and I told him Santa wouldn't come if he doesn't go to every time!

For my own family I am always trying to find something new, something different, something I haven't bought them before!  It's hard to find the right gift, especially for the difficult family members who have everything, or just go buy whatever they want anyway.

Every year we do a big push at the Resort for people to buy gift cards for their families.  It amazes me at the number of grandparents who simply buy gift cards for the family rather than presents.  So, I've asked many of them why they do that.  I have heard time and time again that having everyone together laughing is the best present anyone can give for their family.  It really makes me take a step back and think about the things that mean the most to me.  The greatest memories that I have in my life are with my family and we provide that experience for families every day.  That's a pretty great job.

Happy shopping to everyone, I really hope you find the perfect gift for your family this year.

Spend $50 - Get $10 Free


Saturday, November 3, 2012

When you're in Chaos, it's best to have friends.

Photo by David Gard/The Star-Ledger, POOL) 
Like many of you, I've spent a good chunk of my free time following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In a little over a decade, we've had to watch as New York pulls itself up by it's bootstraps after something outside of their hands knocks them on their butts twice.  New York is the capital of the world in many respects, and for those of you that know me, you know how hard that it is for me.  (I hate the Yankees so much that I don't even like New York style Pizza.) 
AP Photo/Mike Groll

Despite my perfectly understandable opinions of the most overrated team in baseball (re:jealousy) I believe you should always save a dance for the man that brought you to it.   Looking at the photos of Coney Island and the New Jersey Boardwalk reminded me of all those that worked and invented and entertained so that the family entertainment industry could be born.  In one day, those operations were washed away.

Having lived through microcosms of these disaster ourselves, I can't help but sympathize.  In no way can I compare the plight of Metropolis Resort's basement flooding for two months or being struck by lightning and losing nearly every piece of computer equipment or being snowed in at the resort in one of our lovely blizzards.  But when you throw all of these and more into one storm and turn up the dial, you can't help but feel for the millions affected.

But as I've watched these tragedies unfold time and time again, I've realized that watching tv with my sympathies won;t make the situations recover any faster.  We talked in a managers' meeting about a way we could help and here is what we came up with. 

Until December 20th, Action City will donate $5 from every Wristband Wednesday admission, Chaos Waterpark will donate $1 from every $5 Thursday and Dairy Queen will donate $1 from every large blizzard.   We will also be taking additional donations at each desk.  All this money will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund to help the East Coast rebuild.

Hope to see you down here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Let's get started!

Hello Blog World!

I am Sara Abbott, mother of Grady, wife of Brian, and pet parent of Polly & Hank.  I share the dual role of Resort General Manager with my dear OLD pal, Benny Anderson (notice I got the first jab in about his age!).  Together we spend a great deal of time and energy running the Metropolis Resort. Our partnership has evolved over the years.  Yes, we've had ups and downs, but what we always find the most important thing is our team and our guests.  We continue to strive to provide the best customer service and lasting memories for families.   

We recently attended an industry conference along with our Controller, Adam.  During our travels in a minivan to and from, we had several conversations about a blog.  We wanted to start one, but we didn't know exactly what to talk about or who should write it.  Almost simultaneously (I still maintain it was my idea), we thought...why don't we have our staff write it!  All of them know something about everything.  We have an electrician, a graphic designer, several self proclaimed geeks who can fix any computer problem, professional video gamers, a chef, bartenders, lifeguards, a couple Mr. Fix-its, Moms, Dads and a bunch more of really talented people who would love to share their knowledge.   So, why not ask them to help with our blog.  Then Benny thought...why not ask some of our guests to help us out with some blog posts (he's brilliant, but please don't tell him I said that).  Our guests have the best first hand experience with us and the service we provide at the resort.

The foundation of our blog is the foundation of our business, our team and our guests...just perfect!  Thank you for reading this and I hope you will continue to follow our blog and enjoy it!