Who says there are no
"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
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
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
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
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
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?"
"Will you go out with
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.