What Happens in Vegas . . .

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. This sinfully titillating slogan is probably the best news for the entire civilized world. There is nothing in Vegas that regular people living in the real world could ever want. It’s a mirage in a wasteland that delivers mediocre service, endless lines, excessive pricing, and an ongoing expectation of unwarranted tipping, all in a fantasy environment of glitter and glitz.

Last week, I went to Vegas to represent Aqua Mizer at a trade show. The highlight of the trip happened as soon as I got to the front of the check-in line at Caesar’s Palatial Lavatorium. The perky greeter told me that it was 11 AM, too early for check-in, and rooms would not be available until four to six PM. When I balked, she immediately upgraded me to a suite that costs $1,200 per night. I said, “I am here for one night without my wife, and will spend a total of 6 hours sleeping in my room, and you’re upgrading me to a suite?” See, you can get lucky in Vegas.

I needed a special key just to get to floor the room was on. When I entered the suite and explored the six rooms, not counting the foyer, I got lost and couldn’t find my way back to the entrance. It was so big that it had a doorbell. At 2,000 square feet, I determined that the $6 per foot room rate was not bad. Expecting the usual accouterments in a suite like this, I looked for the fresh flowers, complimentary bottle of wine, fruit and cheese, but found none. The sign at the Keurig coffeemaker warned me that the coffee was $5 per cup.

Well that’s when the party ended and the nightmare began. I decided to locate the showroom floor. This took over an hour with wrong directions from several non-English speaking unionized staff members who were trained in map reading. Without counting elevator and escalator rides, my booth was just under a mile from my room.

I then called the mailroom to have the three cartons delivered to my booth. Guests are prohibited from going to the secret location of this technologically advanced facility. After a painful conversation with the Mensa honoree from Indonesia, he located the three boxes and said they would be delivered in 15 minutes. An hour later two boxes were delivered. A frantic call back to the daycare center and another anguishing conversation with a different associate carrying similar credentials, and he located the critical box. Another promise of 15-minute delivery went by, and it was now 4 PM. At this point I was exhausted, as I had made four trips to and from the convention center. With no time to rest, I got dressed, went back to the booth and attempted to set up the demo tank. With the missing box still not delivered, I was in panic mode. That box had all the literature, plus the water jug to fill the tank. More calls to the asylum only to find out that they now couldn’t locate the box they had found a couple of hours ago. That left me to figure how I was going to get people to stop by a booth with an empty tank, an empty table, and a sales rep with a vacant stare.

Fortunately, I found the hotel convention manager, and he personally brought me two water cooler jugs of drinking water. And the show went on. And it was successful!

At the mega hotels in Vegas, you can’t navigate anywhere on the campus without going through a casino. And that gave me the opportunity to observe the patrons. I identified three types – the wealthy, understated, serious gamblers who took their winnings and losses in stride; the overdressed, obnoxiously boisterous tourists who thought they were expected to sport more glitter than the slot machines; and the Walmart escapees who saw no reason to wear anything but their best shopping outfit.

What happens in Vegas maybe should be exported to Somalia.