Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mandalay Bay comp system

I like the Mandalay Bay poker room, in spite of its quirks. It's quiet, reasonably smoke-free, comfortable, has pretty good dealer staff, good tourist:local ratio, and for four years it has stood as one of the most consistently profitable places I play.

But I am becoming increasingly annoyed with their bizarrely archaic comp system. After you are seated in a game, you have to get up, go to the desk at the back of the room, tell them your name, wait while they fish out an index card from the file, then sign in with the date and time and your initials (all the while missing the first two or three hands that you could be playing). Then when done for the day, you have to do it all over again to sign out.

To make matters worse, they keep losing my card. I have no idea why. It's not like I'm giving them a different alias on every visit. Today was the fourth time that I've been told they don't have a card for me. (Another annoying thing is that despite playing there dozens and dozens of times, there are only three employees who appear to recognize my face as a repeat customer, and none of them can call me by name. The guy most frequently in charge on Sunday afternoons has asked me "Have you ever played here before?" at least ten times.) I was trying to get a food ticket written out so that I could grab lunch at the cafe before playing, and I had to wait about ten minutes while somebody rummaged through all the various boxes that they keep these cards in. He finally found one with my name on it, but it was the old one, not the current one. They gave me the comp ticket anyway, just on good faith that somebody with enough visits to fill up the first card probably did have credit available--a gesture that kept me from really steaming up in frustration. By the time I came back after eating, they had, by some miracle, found the right card somewhere.

In addition to these four times in which they apparently had to call in the bloodhounds to track down my wandering card, at least half of the time it is filed under the right letter, but not really in alphabetical order, so the poor brush person has to lift out all of the"W" cards and look through them manually. It's all an enormous, inexcusable, pathetic, ridiculous waste of time for staff and patrons alike.

Here's an idea: How about using a COMPUTER to keep track of this stuff, instead of acting as if we're stuck in 1957? Even better, how about using a player's MGM card and a magnetic card reader, the way that some of your corporate sister properties do (MGM Grand, Aria, Mirage, and, until its recent sale, Treasure Island), and the way that most of your competitors do (Binion's, Station properties, Harrah's properties, South Point, Suncoast, M Resort, Stratosphere, Palms, Venetian, Hooters--heck, just about all of them that do food comps).

I swear that the room manager must be the actual embodiment of an old Phil Hartman Saturday Night Live character: "I don't understand your modern technology. Your 'magnetic card readers' frighten me. My primitive brain cannot comprehend your 'computers.' After all, I'm just an unfrozen cave man poker room manager."

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