Dennis airs some of his biggest casino pet peeves

 I’ll admit it is my single biggest pet peeve in my numerous interactions as a casino customer. It’s the slow “dice setter”.

You see, in the game of craps players get to handle and throw the dice. It’s kind of cool, actually, that different players have changing “luck auras” about them based on the vagaries of their dice throws. But casinos letting players handle the equipment, coupled with vague or unenforced dice-throwing rules, have engendered generations of  (mostly slow) dice setters.

Dice setters very carefully pick up the two dice they are to throw. They arrange them in various ways before they throw them (with both 5s facing up being a common “set”). They might roll them over, spin them around, set them and then reset them. Finally, they’ll throw them. The corrugated rubber wall of the table nonetheless insures that the results are random. But don’t tell that to these superstitious dice setters, who only succeed in slowing a game down to a crawl - as they did on this one Reno night, where one slow dice setter (with a 3-3 set) was followed by his buddy, an even slower dice shooter, with the same 3-3 set.

Even though I was once again agitated by my biggest pet peeve, it got me to thinking about some of my newest pet peeves in casinos. (The list seems to be growing.) So here they are, broken down for the first time by areas of operation, as they seem to run in bunches:

The Hotel Room

Hey, what’s with the nice bottle of water in the room - is it complimentary or not (I’ve had both)? And why are the tiny shampoo and conditioner bottles in the shower so long and slender and made of hard plastic so that it’s hard to squeeze out the contents? (And sometimes the shampoo and conditioner are the same color!) And why do I have to get a knock on the door from housekeeping at 9 a.m. to see if I’m checking out? (And don’t get me started on 11 a.m. checkout times.) And then there’s that room service bill that adds a service charge for the delivery but leaves a line for a gratuity as well. Hey, I’m generous, but this sure seems like a double dip. And that in-room bar where now you have to warn me that I’ll get charged if I pick up an item for 10 seconds - what’s up with that? And then there’s the aggressive in-room note telling me not to put room service trays and dishes in the hall after use. Just call room service to pick them up. Right, while I’m stuck in the room waiting for room service!

The Cage

First, there’s the issue of slow lines. I’ve looked at this and it’s usually caused by one or more of the following:

• Too few cashiers;

• Transactions that take forever (check-cashing and credit advances being the worst);

• Cashiers not leaving what they’re doing in order to open a closed window;

• Employees using the same windows as guests;

• Transactions not segmented by type (or segmented into too many types).

Then there are the cashiers who carry on personal conversations with each other while serving a guest (or while not serving a guest); or those that call me “Babe” or “Honey”; or worse, perform the transaction without saying a word. And does the cage really have to call the pit (to verify) when I am cashing out small amounts of chips? Sometimes it takes forever to get an OK, while I’m standing there feeling like a felon.

The Buffet

I know your buffet is popular (and pretty good, too), but why are there always scores of empty seats and scores of people waiting in line to get in to eat? And then there are the items with no signs on them to tell you what they are. And the protective glass panels at waist level that make for an awkward episode with a large spoon to get to the hard-to-reach items and condiments. And why are the best items hardest to reach? And why are the plates so small for a meal that is “all you can eat”? And do I really have to show a credit card, a room key and a photo ID to charge the buffet to my room account? And Mr. Buffet Manager, you know your carved prime rib is great and truly is your buffet’s calling card, but does your carver have to carve it so thin and hand out so few slices per carving, that I have to make three trips to the carving station? (OK, maybe some of that is my problem).

Gee, I didn’t realize I had so many pet peeves in so many areas. And while you may think that makes me one of those “tough to please” guests, I’m thinking that perhaps I’m one of thousands of your “customer schmucks,” and maybe you just haven’t walked a mile in our shoes.

If you had, I kind of think I might be able to read the small print on the menu in your dark steakhouse.

Just a pet peeve, I guess.