Thursday, February 20, 2003

Bingo Night in Canada - Last night was another experience at the Golden Wings Bingo Hall, one of our community league's main source of funding for the kid's sports teams. Having weathered many of these second-hand-smoke sessions, I have more than a few pearls of wisdom to pass on to you. Here, collected and presented in one easy read, are some Bingo Worker's Tips.
  • Arrive early. You'll get a chance to be assigned to one of the better jobs. Working behind the counter is the best place to be. You're less likely to be emptying ashtrays if you're in the cash counting room.
  • Dress wisely. Wear comfy walking shoes and clothing that will help you fit into the blue collar crowd you'll be mingling with. Expect that the clothing will still smell like smoke after many washings, so don't wear your favorite stuff.
  • Mouth shut, eyes open. Don't ask too many questions of players or staff. They'll tell you everything that you need to know.
  • Pick your day carefully. Saturdays and Sundays are busiest. Mondays are Senior's Day so it's also busy. The 20th of the month is the day that Family Allowance cheques come out. If you want to be busy and have the time go quickly, pick one of these days. If you prefer a slower pace, stay away from these days.
  • Don't wish the players 'Good Luck.' For some reason, they hate that.
  • Dress warm. You'd think a room full of old smokers would have the heat cranked right up, but for some reason, they like it cold in there. Make sure you at least have long sleeves.
  • Order 'cooked' food on your break. As the volunteer shifts start right after work (and over the dinner hour), you are allowed to have a dinner break with dinner paid for, courtesy of the community association. Make sure that whatever you order is cooked long before it reaches the short order kitchen. Just warming stuff up is their specialty.
  • Wash your hands before eating. Obvious, but critical to your health in this situation.
  • Have eyedrops waiting at home.
I was dismayed as I watched people come in and plop down sizable chunks of money (sometimes $50 or more) to buy a dismal hope of winning it back. I thought, it must be a hopeless feeling, handing in money and knowing in your heart of hearts that you realistically aren't ever going to see it again. Most of the players even came 'round to my booth to buy 'Early Bird' and 'Baseball' bingo cards, tossing more money at slim chances. I guess it was an evening's entertainment, an indoor place to go through a pack of cigarettes and a socially acceptable method for a blue collar Joe (or Jill) to rid throw away some money.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on these folks - after all, I buy mutual funds.

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