How an Arcade Operates

We have all walked into an arcade before and are just overcome by all the lights and noises. Have you ever wondered what goes on in a place like this? How does all this stuff end up working and what goes into making your experience there almost seamless (except for the occasional troubles). In this article I will explain to you how the arcade I work at runs.

The majority of the employees are made up of two main groups. The floor and counter people. Simple enough. The floor people work the floor of the arcade giving just and fixing things, and solving just about any problem that comes along. The counter people count your tickets and help you redeem your points. There are also managers who mainly sit in a small office and crunch some numbers, occasionly helping out the floor when needed. There are also a small amount of mechanics who are there when a machine has more than a simple problem.

The floor people could be split up into 3 other categories. Aprons, fillers, and floaters. The aprons walk around with a change apron giving change to people. The fillers walk around and take stuffed animals from the bottom storage part of the crane and place them on top. The floaters just walk around and help out when needed. All of these people are able to fix machines, excluding the new employees who are in the aprons. After about a month a person will get their keys.

The counter people count tickets using a scale and tell you your total. Once you decide what you want as a prize they will go upstairs to the second story which is a giant warehouse of prizes and stuffed animals. All the items are barcoded and must be scanned out when someone recieves it. The fillers must also come upstairs in the last hour of their shift to ensure that all their cranes have a sufficent amount of stuffed animals below.

The managers usually keep track of what machines are doing well, which places are most succesful for certain machines, and which things in the arcade need to get the boot.

Deliveries deliveries deliveries. If your working you must pray its not a busy day when the deliveries come. A delivery can take 5 minutes and 2 people or 10 people and 6 hours. Simple UPS/FedEx deliveries are easy and no worry. Sometimes a truck may arrive with 30 boxes. No biggie have someone load em on the hoist and have the other person upstairs to unload the hoist and your done in 30 minutes. The bad days come about 3 days a year, and it always seems to be when I’m working. A track will arrive with 5 pallets of tickets that contain about 45 boxes each. Each box weighing 50 pounds and being as long as an average arm span, and about a foot depth/width. These things are loaded with tickets and each one contains 5 smaller boxes. Every single box must be brought upstairs, open and sorted. This can take about 6 hours if your lucky. But hey, I’m guessing most of you reading this are just customers and don’t have to worry about something like that. Be thankful when you see the tickets coming out of the machine and think of what someone had to go through.

This is the basics of how an arcade operates, and I may soon be posting more articles about related topics such as how to fix an arcade machine, and maybe I will reveal a few secrets on how to get a free game 😉

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