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They should do more for their players

I remember reading many months ago, when this recession first started, that companies that put an emphasis on customer service do better at surviving bad economies. When I first read this, I wasn’t sure if I agreed. A year or so later, I’m fairly certain the author was correct. While my wife and I are more cautious during times like these, we have been fortunate on the whole. There is little doubt that when we go shopping, the stores and malls have been far less crowded than in the past. So, I figure that if I am out shopping, the least the stores can do is appreciate the business they are getting.

With spring finally arriving here in the Northeast (in a six-week span, we have had an 18-inch snowstorm, a major two-day thunderstorm and 90 degree sunny days!), I had the need to get some stuff to get the yard ready. I went to one nationally known hardware store to get some tarps. I needed a few small to medium sized ones, and the only ones that they had in stock were ones large enough to cover my house. In the age of computer inventory, how can a major store run out of such items? I suppose it is possible that someone came in 10 minutes before me and bought them by the caseload, but I’m skeptical.

So, I headed on over to the even bigger nationally known home improvement store. At least here, I could find what I was looking for. I grabbed my tarps and then picked up another item on sale on my way to the self-checkout. Here I would find that of the three different items I bought, two were ‘not in the computer’ and I required help from the woman who oversees the self-checkout registers. She looked up the price of the item. She asked me how many I bought. I told her four of the smaller tarps and one of the bigger, but the bigger one rang up fine. Needless to say she put in five tarps. When I corrected her, she just looked at me and said “you said five of them.” I replied that I told her FOUR of the ones that she needed to look up and she took the fifth one off without a word. She then ran halfway across the store to check the price of the sale item. This all took me 10 minutes to check out with my six items. Not once did I get an apology for the inconvenience. Maybe the next time I need something, I’ll head over to the local hardware store, pay an extra few bucks, but save about half an hour of my life!

The stores are dying for people to come and shop and when we do, we have to face poor inventory controls, pathetic computer systems and less than friendly-help! We shouldn’t have to put up with this in good economic times, even less so in bad ones.

The same is true of a trip to the casino. We’ve all seen the reports that show casino revenue is down in most of the country. Casinos should be doing anything and everything they can do to get players in. In some ways, they are doing exactly what they should. Not a day goes by in which I don’t receive three, four e-mails offering up ridiculously cheap hotel rooms. Today, I even got a snail mail from the Wynn. I’ve never gone to the Wynn, and I don’t even know how they got my name and address, but they sent me an offer for a low-cost room and all sorts of perks.

While they use this proper approach for rooms, they seem to use the opposite approach for games. I’ve heard lots of stories from readers about how their comps and cashback have been cut. It is harder to find full-pay and/or positive play video poker machines. Casinos are trying to increase their profits by making more money off each dollar wagered. Using that logic, they should raise the hotel rates, figuring they will make more profit off each hotel room and not care that they are selling less rooms!

But the casinos are not really to blame here – the players are. The casinos will do whatever they can get away with. They know that players shop around for hotel rates, but they seem to be less discriminating when it comes to paytables.

I promise you that if you stop playing those short-pay machines and head elsewhere to play, the casino WILL get the message and restore the better paying machines. Twenty years ago, you were lucky if you could find anything in Atlantic City better than a six-five jacks or better machine paying less than 96%. When people began to realize that it was cheaper to fly to Las Vegas and play there all week at 99.5%, Atlantic City got the message and began to increase the paytables. The same can be true within Las Vegas. But, ONLY if you’re willing to say you’re not going to take it any more!


About the Author

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome’s roots run deep into gaming theory and analysis. His father, Lenny, was a pioneer in developing video poker strategy in the 1980s and is credited with raising its popularity to dizzying heights. Elliot is a second generation gaming author and analyst with nearly 20 years of programming experience.

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