I am going to talk about losing today – but not in the way I had planned to discuss it. However, yesterday I found an unusual way to lose – not, of course, because I was looking for this! :) Here is the sad story:
Brad and I walked into the Palms. I had gotten a postcard for a good promotion – one that was open only to those who got the card – and I saw 2 open machines at the bank of the popular quarter Ten Play 9/6 JoB. Lucky break, I thought, since these are usually full when a promo is going on.
I pulled out a ticket voucher I hadn’t cashed in from yesterday – some odd amount around $450 – I didn’t look at it carefully because I would write down the exact amount when I put it in the machine. I waved it to Brad, who was just around the corner on the other side of the bank – and said I would use it to start playing and he could put new money into his machine. I thought I then inserted the ticket into my machine but I was slightly distracted because I was also downloading two sets of free play – one from a promotion and one redeeming my points. During this time I was standing right by my machine, trying to get organized. Finally after a couple minutes, I sat down at the machine to begin to play when I noticed there were only credits from my free play downloads, no credits from the $450+ ticket. I looked in my purse; maybe I hadn’t actually put it into the machine yet.
Hummmm…..I must have put it in and the machine didn’t register it. Okay, no problem. I’ll call a slot floorperson and they can open up the machine and find my ticket. But they couldn’t find it.
Okay, they would check to see if the ticket recorded on the machine’s internal records but just didn’t give me the credits for some reason. No record. By this time I was questioning my sanity. I knew I had the ticket a few minutes before. I had showed it to Brad.
I – and the slot supervisor – wondered if I had inserted it, the machine rejected it, and I didn’t notice it had come back – and someone had snatched it. But that didn’t seem likely. I was standing right in front of the machine and would have seen that.
The supervisor finally asked when I had cashed out that ticket the day before. Fortunately I knew the approximate time I had quit playing and showed them the machine where I had cashed it out. They were able to check their computers to get the ticket number and found out that it had been put into a cashout kiosk just a minute or so after I realized it was not in my machine.
Surveillance solved the mystery with their videos: me at my machine where I had dropped the ticket and a man had immediately swooped it up from the floor right beside me; then the man cashing out at a kiosk on the other side of the casino; and then his quick exit out of the casino.
Wow! All this took was a few seconds of distraction by me to drop the ticket and then not notice a man bend down so close to me.
Since security has photos of this thief, they said they will keep a lookout for him, but I think it is a stretch to think he will ever be apprehended. Although I certainly appreciated how quickly everyone worked and that all the employees were very kind and sympathetic about this incident, I didn’t expect any monetary reimbursement from the casino. After all, it was my own fault – I dropped the ticket. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the supervisor came back and said she had put $200 in free play on my card. I thought that was a good public relations move and it did make me feel better.
However, I have decided not to mourn this loss – I have lost more in two minutes on an ugly-acting VP machine. Instead I look on this as a learning experience – to stay more alert and careful when I am in a casino and handling money. And it could have been worse, since I have handled much bigger tickets than this!
But the thing that makes me feel the best about this is that I have imagined the thief as a usually very honest hard-working husband and father who has lost his job and his house is in foreclosure and he doesn’t know how he is going to be able to support his family. A dire time has made him discouraged and desperate. Perhaps finding this $450+ will be the event that will lift his spirits and he will be able to think more positive and things will turn around for him.
I hope so! But in the meantime I prefer to do charity work on my own terms so I will definitely be more careful when I am in a casino!