So, here's another story from my job. It's kind of funny in that sort of way that makes me wish that the rest of humanity was rendered sterile so that people would not be able to bring more fuckwits into the world.
Let me first set the stage a little for you because I could potentially lose you in my little narrative if I don't. Our casino recently converted all of its slot machines to a system we call TITO, which is not only named for the most famous of the Jacksons, but is also a clever acronym for Touch It To Orgasm, no word of a lie. Actually, I lie, TITO actually is a clever acronym that stands for Ticket In Ticket Out, though maybe I should Touch It To Orgasm before I continue.
Ahhhhhh, much better.
So, anyway, Ticket In Ticket Out means, in a nutshell, that instead of slot machines giving you a shitload of coins every time it pays you out for anything you get a little ticket with a barcode on it that can be scanned by a cashier or automated ticket redemption machine and turned into cold, hard cash. It's a great system because the tickets are more accurate and they never short people what they are owed. However, since this system is relatively new in our casino there's a bit of a learning process involved in properly running it. So there are a bunch of little things that a guy like me has to learn as the situations arise.
This is a story about one of those little things.
All tickets that get printed by a slot machine have an expiry date on them. The tickets themselves are good for a month and after that they cannot be cashed in properly. Pretty simple concept, right? Say you have a ticket for a hundred bucks. The expiry on the ticket makes it so that you have to cash that ticket in within a month's time before that ticket is no good anymore. It's like milk or pills. You don't drink expired milk. You don't pop expired pills. Expired tickets aren't as grave a matter as milk or pills, but how hard is it to get a ticket redeemed within a month's time or receiving it?
And if you have your thinking caps on, people, you're probably wondering what kind of person would get a ticket for a substantial amount of money and just hold on to the ticket until it expires since what the fuck good is a ticket to a person when they could instead have the cash. Well, to be honest, I wondered that shit too. I mean, who just keeps the ticket? Why would you want a ticket instead of money?
Last night I found a man who, for some reason or other, thought that holding onto a ticket for $75.00 was way cooler in the long run than cashing that ticket in and actually having $75.00. He let that ticket expire (our casino has been converted to TITO for over a month now) and last night decided, Oh hey, the novelty of this stupid ticket with its sexy barcode and black ink lettering has worn off enough that I think I'll cash this ticket in and get the cash.
Except, of course, the ticket was expired.
After being notified that his ticket could not be redeemed by the cashier because the ticket was expired he demanded to talk to the manager, me:
Are you the manager? Good! This girl won't cash in my ticket because she says it's expired! This is an outrage I demand that you give me the money that I am owed!
So I look at his ticket and, yes, it is expired. When I noticed this I said, "But sir, this ticket is expired. We shouldn't cash this in. These tickets have expiry dates clearly printed on them. Why would you hold on to a ticket for that long?"
The man, in order to establish the upper hand in this debate came back with this:
Fine then! I'll go to the newspapers and tell them my story! This will make the front page!
I guess his strategy by threatening me with a newspaper article was that it would somehow put the fear in me and make me see things his way. Really, though, dealing with these matters was all new to me as I stated earlier. I was going to need to consult with my boss through a telephone call before I ultimately ended up paying him his money because I guess the rules leave it up to the discretion of the managers in charge whether or not an expired ticket gets paid. I paid him, though not because of the newspaper threat, but just because I have to pity anybody who would somehow treasure a ticket more than the money that he would keep the ticket on his person for over a month when he could have easily had the cash for it a long, long time ago.
I mean seriously, does this guy go home and erect a shrine to his unclaimed tickets? You know, just light some incense in front of them. Pray to them. Frame them and show them off to his neighbors and family. That's the only kind of person that I could think of that would want to have a fucking stupid-ass ticket for that long. What the fuck, man?
And another thing, what exactly would you tell the people at the newspapers?
Hi there. I was gambling in a casino and I got a ticket out of a machine and the casino refused to cash the ticket in like they're supposed to because they said the ticket was expired! This is an outrage! I'm bringing this story to you because this is the scoop of the century! I admire your publication and I think this is the type of story that belongs on page 1! I'll even pose for a picture holding the ticket that the evil scumbag slot manager refused to authorize the redemption of! When's a good time for me to come down for the exclusive interview?
I'm sure the editor of a newspaper would do that thing where he's sipping on his morning coffee when he takes this phone call from the ticket fetishist and he would spit the coffee out of him mouth like somebody just punched him in the stomach. There might even be somebody sitting across his desk from him when he spits and whoever it is gets soaked in the ensuing geyser of hot coffee. Then the editor says something almost like Charlton Heston, something along the lines of:
STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES! I HAVE THE SCOOP OF THE CENTURY! SOME GAMBLER FEELS HE WAS THE VICTIM OF RANDOM CASINO DISCRIMINATION! WE NEED OUR ACE REPORTER ON THIS ONE, STAT! SOMEBODY BRING ME ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE! SOMEBODY GET ME OUR BEST PHOTOGRAPHER TOO! THIS GUY WANTS TO POSE FOR A COVER PHOTO! WAIT! WHAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE ON TOMORROW'S FRONT PAGE? DEAD SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN? FUCK THOSE GUYS! THIS GUY WAS SHORTED MONEY AT A CASINO! HURRY THE FUCK UP PEOPLE! WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE THIS STORY TO TIME MAGAZINE LIKE WE DID THE LAST TIME SOME GUY WAS DENIED HIS MONEY! I SMELL A PULITZER PRIZE FOR THIS SCOOP FOR SURE! FINALLY I WILL HAVE REDEEMED MYSELF IN MY FATHER'S EYES!"
Then the editor would sort of shake his head a little as the euphoria of this monumental story of hardship and injustice washes off. Then he thinks to ask:
"Okay sir, I've got everybody scrambling over here to get your story to our newspaper's front page for tomorrow. I just need a couple of details. How much money were you denied? Was the ticket actually expired?"
Our hapless victim, then:
$75.00 and, yes, the ticket was expired. But I had a good reason to hold onto that ticket for as long as I did.
"What reason would that would be?"
Fuck expiry dates! That's why!
"OKAY BOYS, I MAY HAVE JUMPED THE GUN A LITTLE BIT ON THAT ONE! START THE PRESSES AGAIN! THE ONLY HEADLINE I CAN COME UP WITH FOR THIS STORY IS: NOBODY CARES!"
Look, sometimes when you go to a casino, or any other place of business for that matter, there are new concepts, new ideas, new procedures, etc, that the staff has to learn their way around. Innovations work like that. Implementation of some things takes longer than others. When you know that the staff has to deal with things that they haven't had to deal with before you can expect a lot of delay and for there to be no cast-in-stone rules. Be patient. The first thing out your mouth doesn't have to be a threat to go to a newspaper because while you're mouth might be saying, "I'll go to the press with this! You'll be eaten alive and made a fool on CNN! They'll skewer you on the Larry King Show for months and months! What they did to Anna Nicole Smith will be done to you tenfold! Tenfold!" All I hear is, "I'm a jackass and I let my ticket expire because I can't read expiry dates."
And given the sheer number of stories of hardship that the press has to report to the people I doubt that your $75.00 ranks so high that your story is front page, banner headline material.
So just take a deep breath and calmly say, "Look, I wasn't aware that tickets expire. Could you do something to see to it that I am reimbursed for the money that I am missing because of this expired ticket, please?" I would hear you much more clearly then.