Flagging Six Flags

It’s 10 pm, and I just put the kids down after a long day at Six Flags Great Adventure.

A looooooong day.

I love roller coasters and, in theory, I love amusement parks. I’m a fan of crowds–check. I’m a fan of rides—check. I’m even a fan of funnel cakes and overpriced milkshakes—check, check. I also cherish family outings, and this time I went with the wife, the kids, the sister in law, the nephews, the mother in law. Fantastic—lots of checks.

All that said …

Six Flags sucks. I don’t want it to suck, and in the past it hasn’t sucked. But this year, well, it was pretty miserable. On the bright side, the park is clean. That’s good. But rarely will you find a mainstream place as disorganized as this joint. A. No one who works at Six Flags seems to know where other people work at Six Flags. In other words, if you need Manager A, Clerk B has no idea how to find her. B. The prices are ludicrous. Beyond ludicrous. Today we spent $12 on a thin, crappy, pseudo-Johnny Rockets hamburger. I saw “pseudo” because even though the name “Johnny Rockets” was listed upon the billboard, this particular burger failed to meet Rockets’ regularly shit-low standards. Bottles of soda were $3.50. Ice creams were $5 and up. Milkshakes—at the very, very least, $7. C. Most theme parks rely on summer labor for much of the gigs, but always with experienced folks running the show. Here, everyone was 19. With zits. And that “Oh, shit” look plastered across their faces. Employees couldn’t properly man the registers, grill hotdogs, fill drinks. Many spoke English as a second—very second—language, which is fine … unless they have to spend all day helping English-speaking customers (ones often ornery after hours in the hot sun). D. Lines. And, specifically, line cutters. So many it was hard to keep track. But, naturally, the 19-year olds don’t have the experience/guts/desire to call anyone out. So you’ll be waiting for 90 minutes (as we did to ride Green Lantern), seething as, 200 yards in the distance, you spot a bunch of asswipe teens hopping a fence.

I digress. Six Flags is, at least, an excellent place to people watch. Fat, skinny, black, white, yellow, tall, short—you see it all. Too many bad tattoos to count, and even worse vanity T-shirts with messages like “LET’S FUCK” across the front in a bold font.