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The World's First Guide to Vegas
from a Real Vegas Cocktail Waitress

 

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Who says there are no stupid questions?!

"Do you live here?"

This is the number one stupid question.  Where else would we live?  This is often followed by an equally stupid question: "Do you live in the hotel?"  Look guys, Vegas is not a cruise ship or a remote island, not to mention the fact that if we all lived in the hotel rooms, where would the guests stay?  And when people find out that I'm from L.A., I inevitably get, "So how long does it take to get to work every day?"

I do realize that Vegas is overwhelming and like an unreal world to some people, and TV and movies do nothing to dispel that myth.  You always see the neon lights of every hotel, then quick shots of the casinos with showgirls and cocktail waitresses and blackjack tables.  Everything's glittery, fast-paced, and slot machines always spit out tons of money.  But really, you have to be a doofus to not have a clue about the reality of this place.  It is common knowledge that Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities across the nation.  Thousands of people move here every year, and houses are being built like crazy.  In fact, I challenge anyone out there to try to buy a new house in Vegas right now.  Yeah, after you get yourself on the waiting list (which is more like a beggar's wishful thinking list) you just might find yourself moving into the house of your dreams in two years - congratulations!  Whether you drive here or fly in, you have to see the houses that spread out for miles around.

This is also one of those questions by people who just can't comprehend that Vegas isn't just a tourist attraction.  They see employees as part of the atmosphere, not as humans.

A slot floorperson told me about a customer she had that was waiting to be paid a jackpot.  As they were both waiting for the money to be delivered she chatted with a change person about her kids and husband.  The customer could overhear their conversation and seemed peculiarly interested.  Finally, he interrupted her conversation by saying, "You have kids?"  The floorperson said, "Yes."  "And you have a husband?"  "Um, yes...."  He thought this over for a while, then said, "Do you have a house?"  She said, "Yes...and my kids go to school too."  This was obviously too much for him because he just said, "Really...." then was speechless.

There really is life outside of the Vegas that you see, and if you go a block either way off of The Strip, you can see for yourself.  The main thing you'll notice is how bad the traffic is.  I swear, I lived in L.A. and Vegas is getting just as bad.  Not to mention there seems to be construction going on every other street all at the same time.  And there are communities that have their own names: Summerlin, Green Valley, Desert Shores, Southern Highlands, The Lakes, Peccole Ranch, Spanish Trails, Anthem...and too many others to name.  And you'll find that the people who live on the west or the east side of town usually stay within that area and will get lost if they have to visit a friend on the other side.  Houses are being built further and further away where now it could take close to an hour to get to The Strip in rush hour traffic.

There are over a million people living here, and a lot of them have jobs other than casino jobs.  There are hospitals, schools, malls, restaurants, banks, supermarkets, post offices, churches, offices, and everything else a big city would have.  And when locals gamble, they usually do not go to a casino on The Strip.  There's too much traffic with tourists, cabs, and other employees going to work.  There's also more video poker machines at a locals casino, which is what locals tend to play.  But there are also locals, like me, who have no desire to gamble, so it's something I don't ever think of doing (unless my mom comes to town).

"It's so hot here, how do you stand it?"

Well, I stay indoors where there's air conditioning.

"How much do you make?"

I've never understood how people can ask this so casually, yet when I ask the same question in return, I'm thought of as being rude.  I guess our job is seen as frivolous, vacuous, and just plain silly, so people don't see themselves as being rude.  So the answer is, "Not as much as I'd like."

"Are you going to school?"

Maybe I get this question because I look kinda young (I mean, why yes... because I am young), but I think the real question behind this is, "Are you just doing this until you can get a real job?"  It's true that some cocktail waitresses are going to school and are headed somewhere else when they graduate.  But most of us consider cocktailing a real job.  No, it's not emotionally rewarding like saving lives or discovering a new planet, but let's just put it this way...none of us are living in the poorhouse...and isn't that the ultimate goal of any "real" job?

"How can you live here?"

This is usually said with a judgmental attitude, which really means, "How can you live with your disgusting self in this life of sin and debauchery?"  Oh, the hypocrisy!  So it's OK to come to Vegas on vacation and indulge in this wicked lifestyle as long as you live somewhere else because that proves you have morals and you're better than people who live here all the time.  Like I said, the lifestyle the tourist sees and comes to experience is not the reality.  The tourist is on vacation, we're just at work.

"Where is the bathroom/bar/front desk?"

This is not a stupid question unless you are standing right in front of it.  Now I know the casinos are filled with flashing lights, people, and basic chaos, but come on...!

I don't know why, but people like to ask directions, then tell me that I'm wrong.  For example, they'll ask, "Where is the steak house?"  I'll say, "Go straight ahead, it's just past the bar on the right."  And they'll say, "That's not what the other guy just told us."

Or they'll ask for directions, then start to walk away as I'm talking, expecting me to scream the rest of my directions as if I'm their audio navigator.  Not only is this rude, it's just stupid.  I'll be like, "Go straight ahead...OK, bye-bye."  And people will be looking back at me, surprised that I'm not still directing them.

"Which machine is the lucky one?"

You know, this proves that people think casino workers are idiots.  If we knew which machines are going to pay off, 1. We'd be playing it ourselves and 2. If we weren't playing it, we certainly wouldn't tell you, we'd call a friend and tell them to play it.  I've had people say they'd split the jackpot with me if I told them.  Um, yeah right.  So what about your Uncle Bob who let you in on his secret, that the last time he came to Vegas he asked an employee which machine was the "lucky one," and damn if he didn't win five hundred bucks!  Well, I'll let you in on my secret: I was the one who told your Uncle Bob which machine was the lucky one, just like I told thirty other people that day.  And guess what?  Some of them won and some of them lost.  But the ones who won were my best friends (although no one split the jackpot with me), and I think I remember your Uncle Bob saying he was going to tell all his friends the secret to winning in Vegas.  The point is, gambling is chance, not luck.  Duh.

"So, are you girls like, hookers or strippers?"

No.

"Will you go out with me?"

Only if you're hot.  The truth is, most cocktail waitresses are married or have boyfriends, and may or may not have kids (and sometimes grandkids!).  If you think, "So what, I'm married too...what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!"  Well, meeting guys like you every day is exactly why we're happy to come home to our own honeys!  On the other hand, I do know some girls who have met their boyfriends or husbands from work, either as customers or co-workers.  It doesn't hurt to ask, but don't expect to score.  Just because we're friendly doesn't mean we're easy.  OK, some of the girls are easy, just like some preachers' daughters, but that's a personal choice, not a job requirement.