I believe that most of any success I may have had in my gaming career is attributable to an ability to think like a customer.
It’s really not hard – you spend enough time being a casino customer, you think like a casino customer. And I have been a casino customer for 38 years now, 39 if you count a brief stint as an underage customer while I was in college.
I have been advocating for a long time that gaming companies give their customers (and their employees) what they want. I believe it is both the simplest and most powerful business philosophy anyone could have.
Sure, it’s not always so easy. They may want everything (and shame on us for feeding that with knee-jerk, competition-driven over-investment in them). They may not know what they want. They may say they want one thing, but actually, upon closer inspection and analysis, really want something else.
If things had turned out differently for me, I may have tried to craft a career as a casino customer advocate. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I could see myself being an advisor to casino customers so they wouldn’t be total “rubes” and would get more value from their casino entertainment dollar. Or I’d organize letter writing campaigns to casinos that had electronic front doors that opened the wrong way, or steakhouse menus with small print that you couldn’t read in the dark environment, even with glasses.
Noodling on this customer advocate job got me to thinking about my own likes and dislikes as a casino patron, and if I had the power, what I would demand as being non-negotiable in bargaining with casinos to improve my working, er, playing conditions as an organized union of one – me. So here it is, my “Customer Manifesto,” the list of non-negotiable conditions and expectations that if not met, will force me to personally take action against your casino.
CONRAD'S CUSTOMER MANIFESTO• Any time any of your tipped employees fails to thank me for one of my generous gratuities (at least I think they’re generous), I will suspend all of my tipping activity at your casino for an entire month, or until one of your employees calls me a “stiff” in front of my friends.
• Whenever I have to wait in a line at any of your restaurants, when there are at least five empty (and fully set) tables available in the restaurant, I reserve the right to commandeer any of those tables and order a meal from room service at no charge, using a cell phone provided by you.
• If I ever discover more than four pillows on my bed in one of your hotel rooms, and none of them are comfortable, I have the right to slice open one of the pillows and take it down to your players club booth and receive $1 in free play for each feather in the pillow.
• If ever your “UP” escalator is not working when your “DOWN” escalator is, all customers will be allowed to walk up the DOWN escalator and share equally in any legal settlement should we crash into each other.
• If your buffet plates are too small for the salad, much less for the whole meal, forcing me to use at least three plates to accommodate my food selections, you will purchase a year’s worth of Nutrisystem meals for me.
• If your slot machine bill validator does not accept my legitimate U.S. currency, of any denomination, after at least three tries at inserting the bill, I will be allowed into your promotional cash wind machine to grab all of the Benjamins that I can for 25 minutes (and be served a minimum of two cocktails in a sipper cup while doing so).
• If ever I am forced to wait in line at your cashier’s cage while an employee executes a transaction in a customer window, I will receive that employee’s wages and tips for that day.
• If I ever spot any casino employee parking closer to the casino front door than any casino customer, you will immediately give me a new Lexus, no questions asked.
• If any of your casino executives snickers, whispers, laughs or clearly acts happy that I am losing (and the house is winning) during any table game session, then a mutually agreed upon customer will be selected to spank the offending executive.
And finally, if ever my magnetic room key fails to open my hotel room door, and one of your front desk clerks asks me if I had been keeping the key next to a cell phone or credit card, then I will be allowed to move all of my friends and family into your hotel, at no charge, forever.