Dave & Buster’s: Neo-Fascists or just Texas-Style Screws?
This e-zine was originally written on 1994 by Jeff Koyen
I sometimes wish that I didn’t use vulgar language so often; I’ve become jaded & desensitized to the impact of obscenity. The English language simply doesn’t contain some of the words I need.
Specifically, the words I need to convey my utter disgust and contempt for a place called Dave & Buster’s, located on the waterfront here in Philadelphia. Based in Texas, D&B’s has opened a couple of these places across the country. Basically, it’s a Chuck-E Cheese with liquor; a giant arcade with Bennigans-style bars and food. They cater to the white 20-something crowd that wants to go out, have a safe time and not question their hosts.
The patrons of D&B’s are the same element that, in Mussolini’s Italy, said “I don’t know nothing from a totalitarian dictatorial regime. The trains are running on time, eh, paisan? Keep you mouth a-shut.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. A couple of Tom’s friends were coming into town and we decided to go out with them. One of them, Jim, is a bit of a cheeseball. He enjoys the places that the Philadelphia waterfront has to offer–big hair, tight pants, abundant @ssholes. He wanted to go to Dave & Buster’s, much to my dismay. Dave & Buster’s is immense, the size of an airplane hanger, filled basement to ceiling with suckers and @ssholes.
We paid $5 to get in–fine, fine; I’d already written the night off as a disaster. Tom & I were both wearing hats; we had to remove them to get past the door. On the way up the escalator, I was struck with image of Don Johnson descending into the underground, future- America in “A Boy and His Dog.” And the analogy held up–no “loud or abusive language” was posted on a sign near the bar. It was Texan ideals (Read: backwards, conservative) carried to an extreme.
Five minutes in the hole, I said “F**king Budweiser” a little too loudly and was scolded BY THE F**KING BARTENDER to “keep it calm, now.” We had a couple drinks and stood amidst shitheads pumping money into VIDEO GAMES. Men and women in the 20’s and 30’s PLAYING F**KING VIDEO GAMES. There’s one of those bullshit “Virtuality” rigs and a “virtual” golf that you rent for $20/hr. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A giant Nintendo nightmare. One big f**king scam. And it was PACKED. Needless to say, Tom & I put our hats back where they were meant to be–on our heads. Within minutes, a D&B Stormtrooper was in our faces, aggressive: “I KNOW you were told to take those hats off.” He could’ve been polite. you know? He could’ve ASKED us to remove the chapeaus.
But he was an @sshole. “Sure, sure. They’re off,” I say. “Fine,” he responds, “keep them off.” As he turned to walk away, I called him a Fascist. Affronted, he threatened to throw us out, but we parlayed that into our “First Warning.” (I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE.)
I told Tom then-and-there that we would be kicked out before the night was over; there was no other logical conclusion. And sure as shit, after a few more drinks, we donned the hats and the same SS F**ker said we were “OUTTA HERE.” He called 4 other F**ks and we were impolitely escorted to the door. Along the way, we proclaimed to everyone watching the scene that we were being kicked out “because we’re genetically inferior–you’re next, brown eyes! They’re Nazis!” Outside, one of the genius managers got in our faces.
Ten bouncers (big motherf**kers, real big: “If I had six inches, and maybe fifty pounds, and maybe if I had kung fu training, then maybe you’d have to watch your @ss.”) surrounded us on the sidewalk, itching to throw a punch. Tom and I stood firmly, smart enough to keep our fists at our sides. I normally disdain the litigious segment of bloodsucking American society that uses lawsuits to supplement their income, but that Saturday night, I PRAYED to get hit. Just ONE PUNCH, motherf**kers, PLEASE, and I’ll bring this cocksucking, right-wing, Nazi company to its knees. Mr. Dave & Mr. Buster themselves will be kissing my ass! But the bouncers were too well-trained to place an unprovoked shot.
Two highlights of the sidewalk confrontation: 1. After repeatedly calling the whole pride of shits a bunch of “f**king fascists,” the manager turned to one of the bouncers: “I think ‘DESE guys are the communists, don’t you?” Brilliant. 2. The D&B shuttle bus (NO SHIT) pulled up and we tried to board, to get a ride back to our car a couple blocks away. The manager, of course, wouldn’t let us. Tom: “I was planning on taking this shuttle to mass transit, so that I don’t have to drive drunk from DAVE & BUSTER’S, but even though I’m a paying customer, you won’t let me use it?
So now I get behind the wheel, kill some people, maybe your wife and kids, and you’re going to be liable. Fine. “Let’s go drive drunk, Jeff!” “Whoooee!” I respond, “Let’s go run over the fascist’s whore wife and bratty kids!” They did call over a cab for us, but refused to pick up the bill, so we drove home where we drank for another 2 hours, doing our best to keep the anger down under a complacent haze of booze. It was an infuriating night that will stick with me for weeks. I long ago dropped the notion of getting justice through consumer action.
When a company f**ks you, and you look for retribution, the best you’ll get is a form letter, or maybe a free coupon or two. So I don’t bother. I don’t try to arrange boycotts. I don’t expect a refund. I don’t expect shit. Instead, I do my best to incur expense. I do this by occupying managers’ time and running up 800-line charges (see page 16). Unfortunately, D&B’s doesn’t have an 800-line, but they do have a regional manager.
His name is Mike Plunkett. Write him at 2751 Electronic Lane, Dallas, TX 72520. I’m planning on writing one letter a week. Well-written, intelligent letters that make it clear how disgusted I am with the Dave & Buster’s Reich. I don’t plan on receiving anything more than a token response–I won’t be getting my $5 back, for instance.
But it will cause Mike Plunkett to take an hour (salary $$) to make some phone calls (toll charge $$), talk to the Philadelphia managers (more salary $$) and have his secretary print up and send out the standard disgruntled customer response letter. So if you’ve got nothing to do one day at work, write Mike a letter saying that you’ll never patronize their Southern-minded, white-boy fascist establishments. But don’t tell them I sent you; I don’t need the legal hassle. The Nazi Logo (–print version–) is going to cause me enough problems.
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