Annoyance-Factor

The Annoyance-Factor

As much as I enjoy spending time at my favorite casino/hotels and I have visited my share--it seems that often, the ‘annoyance-factor’ also accompanies me.

I was reading an interview with Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal at Casino.com and while the entire article was very interesting - a couple of quotes should be remembered.

What would you say are the biggest differences in LV today from the time when you ran the show? I think we where more conscious about more superior service-one on one. When you came into any of our properties, no matter who you where, literally, you were a VIP. And that's the way our corporation was instructed to treat you as opposed to being cattle.

Would you go as far as saying that casinos in Las Vegas treat people like cattle today? Yes, I would. The town is so big. It's a whole different ball game. The help is less informed. The old time operators understood the games and they had a better understanding for romancing the customer, satisfying the customer, and bringing the customer back.

Those were the days when casino owners offered a patron money for the bus ride home or temporary food and lodging. While I certainly don’t want to return to the ‘mob’ days, I would appreciate the superior service aspect to make a comeback.

Here’s my pet-peeves list - aren’t you annoyed by writers who use lists?

This list is in no particular annoyance-factor order, I hate all of them without bias.

1) Those eternal line-ups at the cashier cages. I want my coins in crisp bills-fast! Of course, I always get in the slowest line. You have a nice win to cash out, but you are not so lucky when selecting in which line to stand.

Many casinos have adopted the one line, first available cashier approach - good idea. Also, those blasted coin buckets that don’t fit under the spewing coin tray without tossing coins all over the floor. One more thing, what’s with the shortage of coins in a roll of quarters - last time I looked $10.00 = 40 coins, right?

2) Casinos set-up in such a maze of criss-crossing aisles that you have to be a rocket-scientist to find the exits. During this search, you are regaled by

the constant ‘Wheeeeeel of Fortune’ chant in the casinos. Can we kill or at least soften that sound?

While, we are talking about the set-up of the casino floor, would it be too much to ask for more restrooms? Don’t tell me you can’t afford it - maybe you could place some slots there, so the space is not totally wasted on required customer comfort.

3) Machines that are not replaced---the buttons stick or come off in your hand as you try desperately to hold a card. Some screens are so blurred or ‘sun-burnt’ that you can barely see what is going on in front of you.

4) Casinos who continue to serve drinks to someone who really does not need ‘one for the road’. It’s just good PR to put this client in a cab and thank them for visiting. I was playing a ‘hot’ VP machine and the guy two machines over was so drunk he could not find the coin slot without dropping them all over the place, plus he suffered the added discomfort of banging his head

during retrieval. I called over two waitresses and suggested a cab, but was ignored. A customer service opportunity lost.

5) Casino/hotel check-in that takes more than 10 minutes.

Casino security - all single women should automatically get a room next to the elevator without asking and get an immediate response when requesting an escort to their car. Parking lots that are not well-lit and well-patrolled. Easy answer for this one - use valet parking at all times - the few bucks are worth the peace of mind. No need to loudly announce my room number or how much money you are counting out.

6) a) Blackjack rules - not only do the rules change from casino to casino, but since when do 6-8 decks, burning 10-15 cards and mid-shuffle become attractive to me as a player? When I show the least inclination towards playing intelligently - casino management reserves the right to remove me from the property. It’s tougher to count cards with multiple decks and the table maximums are in place - why are the casinos running scared?

b) A ‘hot’ craps table that suddenly comes to a grinding halt because dealers decide that it’s time to ‘ask questions’. Does this game have a rhythm to it - you bet - does this ploy affect the shooter - often. Do the dealers know this - bet your last buck on it!

c) Megajackpots that are paid out over 20 years, or paid up front at a huge discount to the ‘winner’. ‘Certified’ or guaranteed slots not clearly marked and why are there not loads of these slots everywhere?

d) Keno runners - give me some credit for knowing that this is the worst bet in the house or do I have to wear a sign ‘ I don’t play Keno’ to be left alone.

7) Machine Hogs - read the message ‘one machine per customer at busy times’. Don’t these people know that when slots are placed side-by-side; rarely do they both pay? And when you finally do get to play your favorite machine, you are treated to the ‘foaming at the mouth’ onlooker who will hover until you surrender. Dream on - son!

8) Casino players who touch the screen after enjoying their latest snack, bang on it, caress it, breathe heavy or the worst--talk to their newest acquaintance - the slot machine. Get a room, for crying out loud or save it for those 900 numbers! People who leave little momentos after exiting the slot - cigarette butts-ashes, wrappers, any old garbage - not an appreciated gift.

9) Unfriendly or uninformed staff. ‘I don’t know' or 'we don’t offer that’ should not be part of the vocabulary for any hotel/casino representative.

A decent, living wage so that staff members are not constantly groveling for tips should be high on casino management’s to-do list.

So, for the ‘privilege’ of playing at a particular casino, I am expected to pay the staff salaries with tips? Don’t get me wrong, I tip for good service as everyone should, but, with one exception - when I am expected to tip the person who brings MY winnings, usually after a very long wait.

10) Casino/hotel management who are not in touch with customers’ wants, needs and dislikes concerning all aspects of their gaming establishment. Take a poll, offer comment cards with a free gift for completing, use your club card mailings for feedback, place a suggestion box in a visible area, teach your staff the art of customer satisfaction and ask them to approach customers for their opinions.

What can we, as casino players, do about the annoyance-factor? Plenty - start by being vocal, in a nice way and make sure that top management people hear your advice. Write a quick note about your complaints and leave it in your room or at the front desk. An avalanche of patrons’ complaints cannot be ignored for long.

I know this is not a complete list, therefore I am asking for your ‘stop the annoyance-factor’ feedback. Also I would be glad to hear about your favorite casino that has fixed and/or addressed any of the above annoyances.

I believe all is not lost, casino management can and will change. If they don't, the ease and popularity of online gaming is lurking in the wings.

We just need to nudge them in the right direction before they completely forget what the words ‘customer service’ mean.

All of us have the right to enjoy every casino experience.

You can contact me at gayle.mitchell@casino.com or askthepro.casino.com.