I am your customer (COVID edition)

April 5, 2022 10:17 PM

I am your customer (COVID edition)

  • Dennis Conrad
April 5, 2022 10:17 PM
  • Dennis Conrad

I am your customer. I know I haven’t visited your casino very much in the last two years. Or maybe I haven’t visited you at all. Part of it has been that you weren’t even open for several months. But mainly, I haven’t felt comfortable visiting a casino yet. This COVID thing has been pretty scary.

I am your customer. I noticed when COVID first hit that you enacted many procedures to make me feel safe. It was a little strange at first, but I liked the plexiglass dividers between slot machines and turning off every other machine to create some social distancing. And thanks for disinfecting the dice on the crap table for every new shooter. Your casino never felt so clean and safe. Why, every time a player left a slot machine, someone was right there to disinfect it! I don’t see much of that “cleaning crusade” anymore. Am I less safe? Do you care less about me?

I am your customer. I see that you’ve cut back or eliminated some services that I really liked. Your buffet was my favorite place to eat — get in, get out, eat what I want, and go right back to gambling. I’d think that was good for you too. And I miss valet parking and room service. Are they ever returning? And will your crap tables ever open again on weekdays? No one I ask seems to have any idea. It would be nice to know.

I am your customer. I still talk to your employees and consider several of them to be friends. They’re glad you reopened after COVID and are happy to have their jobs back. They’re tremendously grateful that you continued to pay them when you were closed! Well, some of you, anyway.

I am your customer. What my employee friends tell me is a little different than pre-pandemic. Some have hated wearing masks, while others are glad that they (and your customers) had to wear them. Many are feeling the pinch of being short-staffed more often and wonder why you aren’t doing more to help them, besides giving them longer hours (and why can’t their supervisors pitch in more?). They like that you’re raising wages and offering things like hiring bonuses, but feel neglected that it took so long to do that, after they endured several years of raise and bonus freezes. I know COVID has made it harder to find and keep good employees, but I would think you could do more to listen to and appreciate the service stars you already have. Now more than ever.

I am your customer. I realize that COVID (among other things) has led to inflation that we haven’t seen in decades, and not just in your casino business, but everywhere. But I don’t understand why you have to hit me with it all at once. My favorite steak special in the coffee shop costs $5 more. I now pay $30 a night for a resort fee. What is that, anyway? For the first time ever, I’m also paying for parking. And I’m paying more to use your ATM, just to have access to my own money, which truth be told, I’m going to give you anyway at your casino cash registers. The higher prices wouldn’t be quite so bad if you hadn’t tightened your slots and video poker machines at the same time, as well as made your table-game rules better for you and not me, and cut back on your promotions, direct-mail offers, and players club perks. Hey, I read the news. I can see that most casinos are making record profits with fewer staff, fewer services, and yes, fewer customers. It makes me feel that you’re getting through COVID on the backs of both your best customers and your best employees. Shouldn’t you be showing us a little more love instead of just taking our money a little (or maybe a lot) faster?

I am your customer. I’ve noticed some casinos have gone non-smoking during COVID. Not you, unfortunately. But don’t you think it’s time? If you care about me not getting COVID (you do, don’t you?), shouldn’t you care about me not breathing secondhand smoke? Don’t you want your smoking policies to be dictated by the 85% of your customers who don’t smoke, rather than by the 15% who do? Isn’t it time to make a long-term business decision about this?

I am your customer. I hope I haven’t sounded too negative. Please know that I love the excitement that your casino provides — you know, the thrill of victory, even the agony of defeat. The Aussies call it “the flutter” and I love the flutter. I love your people, most of them, anyway. I love your food. I love free play. I love good promotions. I love your sportsbook.

But please understand everything I do to visit you and give you my money. I’m paying a lot more for gas, or for airfare, to get to you. I’m having to navigate a lot more technology to do business with you when, frankly, I’d prefer a lot more people instead. I still have a healthy fear of COVID. And yes, giving me a good deal now and then offers me a good excuse to spend money where I think you want me to, in your casino.

Yes, I am your customer. If you listen to me and don’t take me for granted, I can be your customer for a very long time. I sure know that going to your casino beats bowling. And I really hope you don’t make online gambling start to sound more attractive. Because for the first time, that’s starting to sound like it could be a better deal.

Earlier posts by Dennis:

The Rad Bar — If I owned a video poker bar
Stop eroding player value
What? You’re still alive?