Santa Claus is Coming to Town

A couple months ago, I picked up a job at a nearby casino. I wanted something simple where I no longer had to stress my brain like I had for my previous jobs. I interviewed and was hired as a part-time slot attendant, an easy enough job that doesn’t pay what I’m used to, but is simple enough that the pay isn’t really an issue. Besides, I get to share tips.

The job involves fixing easy problems with slot machines like replacing ticket paper, bill jams, and other basic fixes. When I’m not doing that, I’m walking around pushing in chairs, emptying ashtrays, and cleaning cups and glasses. It can be a lot of circular walking when the casino isn’t busy, but time moves quickly when it is very busy. Overall, I really like the job and like my co-workers.

Another thing I like is about 90% of the people I interact with. It’s fun to share the joy of somebody who just won a jackpot, even though there have been a couple of sourpusses that are rude despite winning a jackpot. I still haven’t figured those people out.

Most of the time, I’m able to strike up a conversation with whomever is on the slot machine I’m fixing or whomever is on the machine next to the machine I’m fixing. I’ll break the ice by saying certain things like:

ME: This will only take a few minutes. I’ll try not to kill either of us while I fix this machine.

PATRON: Ha ha!

ME: I haven’t killed anybody in a month or so, so it should be fine.

PATRON: Ha ha?

ME: Don’t worry, I’m into self-preservation so we’ll be fine.

PATRON: Oh, ha ha!

There have been times that this line of conversation hasn’t worked so I’ll usually gauge their reaction and react by either shutting up or listening to them rant about how they’re losing their money. I sometimes want to respond with:

ME: It’s a casino that rakes in millions of dollars, did you really think you would make money?

Instead, I usually respond with something like:

ME: I’m sorry. I hope you get lucky soon.

You see, I don’t gamble much. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. The odds are definitely stacked against you, so to go to a casino and think it’ll answer your money woes is crazy, but then again, I don’t gamble. That’s why my wife was puzzled when I told her I was going to work at a casino.

One night I had a patron next to me who was really grumbling about his bad luck. His wife and a small group of friends were around him and even though I know he was complaining more for them to hear than me, I decided to react a little different this time.

I had just come back onto the floor after a break. During my break, the tv in the breakroom was playing the movie “Elf.” I have to admit that it influenced my response to this grumbling gentleman.

ME: You sound like you need a Christmas carol!

PATRON: Huh?

After that, I broke into the song, “Santa Claus is coming to town.” The grumbling guy’s mouth hung open as his mind tried to deal with this strange development. What made it so much fun, however, was that his wife and friends joined me with the singing. Before you knew it, there were a dozen of us singing the song to him. He tried not to smile, then his face turned a little red, then he burst into our song with us. It was definitely a video moment and I had fun.

I think I’ll continue to do this job for a while. As long as I can avoid stress and just enjoy myself, it’s a good job for me. Besides, it gives me something to do and it’s good exercise. I believe I easily walk about 5 miles on some shifts. Besides, the breakroom has free food…who can’t like that?

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