Mrs. Curmudgeon and I have been member of Harrah’s Total Rewards program for 15-20 years. We signed up when we lived in Oregon and would go to Reno, Nevada for our getaways. We would usually stay at Harrah's and do the bulk of our gambling there.
Now we are not big gamblers. We are usually in the bottom rewards tier, and don’t have a lot of high expectations in terms of what we are going to get out of the program.
We do, however, expect to be treated with respect.
Friday night we went to Harrah's for the all you can eat buffet that features crab legs. We have been going there for more than a decade, and have experienced good food and bad as they have worked their way through chefs and managers. We’re usually willing to take the good with the bad because the good always outnumbers the bad, and we have always been treated with respect. The staff, particularly the wait staff, are friendly and do a good job of making everyone feel welcome.
Friday was a different encounter.
Here is the way that Harrah's has always worked: you get in line. Most of the people get in the gold tier line, which is for folks who are small gamblers. They have two other lines for [people who gamble more.
When the restaurant opens, they first let the highest tier gamblers in, followed by the middle tiers, followed by the folks who don’t gamble enough to qualify for one of the shorter lines. We mumble and grumble at the fact that we have to be in the back of the bus, but since the higher tier lines are relatively short, it is not worth making much of a ruckus over.
Now Harrah's has come up with a new way of dealing with the masses who don’t qualify for a higher tier.
Here is our story:
We arrived at Harrah’s a few minutes before five, and noticed there was not much of a line. We attributed it to the holiday weekend, so we sat on a bench out front and waited for our friends to arrive, always watching to see if the line was getting much longer, it was not.
Our friends arrived at 6:15 so we all got in the short line until we met up with a young guy with what looked like an iPad. He wanted my cell phone number. I asked why and he said it was so I could get a text message when it was our turn to enter the restaurant.
I told him my cell phone does not accept text messages. He proceeded to tell me that yes, my cell phone would accept text messages. I declined to tell him that have been using cell phones since before he was born, but instead I simply told him I was not going to share my cell phone with him, and he grudgingly asked my first name, which I gave to him. He said it was an hour to and hour and a half wait, and that he would call my name when we could eat.
I asked why they were doing this and he said it was so we would be free to gamble and would not have to stand in line. We didn’t come to gamble, we came to eat.
So we hung around near the entrance to the restaurant and a manager, Anna, kept coming by telling us that we had move since we could not block the entrance. We asked her how we were supposed to know when we were allowed to eat. She said we would get a text message. I told her we did not have a cell phone, and she basically told us too bad, we could not hang around. We were not the only ones, and Anna was doing a wonderful job of making everyone mad. another lady asked why the people who signed up after her had already been called, and Anna told her that it was because those people were a higher tier.
We asked Anna how that could happen because the young man was not asking what tier we were. Maybe he figured if we didn't have a cell phone that didn’t take text messages were had to be the lowest tier.
Disgusted by our treatment, we simply left.
We won’t be back.