Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How I Gambled in Las Vegas and… (Part One)

This year for our tenth wedding anniversary my wife and I decided to dump the kids off on Oma and Opa (thanks so much Oma and Opa and though it will be years before it happens again, we appreciated this one greatly) and headed to the glitteriest city in the world (unsubstantiated): Las Vegas.

That’s right, yours truly was headed off to the home of CSI, Elvis (Fat Version) and no longer the home of the singing broomstick that is Celine Dion.

Now as everyone knows Las Vegas is famous for one thing: gambling; and with this in mind here’s a multipart series of how we gambled in Las Vegas and the results of those numerous gambles.

How I gambled in Las Vegas and… Lost

Our first major gamble happened even before we boarded the plane and it involved handing our luggage over to Westjet with the assumption we would get it right back on the other side of the voyage. Well, maybe we should have checked the Vegas odds on that because when we stepped off the plane in Las Vegas our luggage was like Celine Dion in the last few years of her five year contract in Vegas (you know where she had to get Elton John to fill in for her) that is to say: a no show.

My wife, bless her heart and brains, had taken out travel insurance and sure enough it came in handy. First we talked to the representative there and she was nice and we were nice and everyone is nice; you get more flies with honey (though I didn’t want flies, I was still nice anyway) and we filed our claim and they promised to call if our wayward luggage showed its ugly face anytime soon.

The lady told us to call back tonight as there was a flight from Vancouver due in and it might make that; failing that call tomorrow as there was a chance they might have located it. Failing that there was a chance the luggage would be on the flight tomorrow afternoon and so on and so forth yea unto the 7th iteration of said daily flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas (which wouldn’t do us any good as we were to be out of Vegas by the 5th iteration of said trip).

So our first order of business upon checking into our hotel: go get some clothes for tomorrow. Now, being a guy, my care level for people seeing me in the same clothes I wore yesterday is about 22% – and that 22% is made up entirely of the fact that I’ll be wearing the  same underwear as yesterday (now normally people aren’t going to see that but keep in mind I am in Vegas and who the hell knows what can happen).

So off we went to Macy’s.

Now being a guy, and a Canadian, I don’t generally think of Macy’s when I go shopping. After having gone there, I won’t think of it again. It’s not that it’s a bad store by any stretch of the imagination – it just happens to be the typical store a guy gets dragged to on a weekend when his wife needs to go shopping (note: that was not the case here, I needed clothes too). It’s like Sears without the weekend sale (I haven’t checked, but I bet they’re having one this weekend!)

We went, we saw, we shopped. Not an ideal experience. But not a bad one, and necessary.

But we still needed things like tooth brushes and other hygienic things so we went to the Walgreens to replace the essentials.

Traveler’s note: never try and replace essential items at the Walgreens on the Strip because you will have to go to a blackjack table and hope you win big before you can afford a stick of deodorant. If you are afraid to gamble or that’s not what you’re there for and you still need a stick of deodorant or what have you, always  look on the bottom shelves down out of eye level. That’s where they put the cheap stuff, you know the stuff they test on monkeys and the FDA passes after the monkey only grows one extra arm (I haven’t read the testing rules, but I believe two extra arms are the fail).

The next day my wife followed up with the airline. She was nice. The airline lady was nice. I wasn’t on the phone with them, but I was nice anyway because I was on vacation and would go back to being a doofus upon our return. No sign of luggage. Off we went to Target.

Now being a guy, and a Canadian, I don’t generally think of Target when I think of a  positive shopping experience (note: for me a positive shopping experience is one where the wife goes shopping and takes the kids with her and I sit home and watch football). I will now think of Target as a positive shopping experience. My wife and I managed to replace a fairly large portion of our wardrobe with the assumption we would not be seeing it again as our luggage had gone the way of the Dodo bird.

I bet you didn’t know Westjet is at fault for the extinction of the Dodo bird. That’s right Westjet. I outted you. Air Canada you could believe, but not the nice smiling people at Westjet… true story.

I did the typical guy shop. I found one make of shirt that fit me well and got four different colors of it. Grabbed some pants that fit and when they got wifely approval threw them in the shopping cart. For those of you in Las Vegas – 10 o’clock on a Monday morning is a good time to go shopping.

The final item we had to pick up at Target were: suitcases. It occurred to us that if our clothes and items never showed up again, that would mean our suitcase probably wouldn’t be making an appearance either and so we purchased a couple of duffel bags that transform into suitcases (like a more mundane version of Transformers) and off we rolled down to the nearby mall.

There we bought a few more necessary items and that took up pretty much the full first day in Las Vegas. We returned to our hotel room exhausted but no longer in danger of wearing the same outfit all 5 days in Vegas.

Just to be sure when we got back to the room my wife called the lady at the insurance and at the airline again. She was nice. The ladies on the phone were nice. I was tired and hungry but didn’t see any point in being grumpy so I stayed nice.

Then on Tuesday we received a call from the airline. Our luggage had been found! Hurray! Huzzah! Wicked Awesome SuperTuesday!

So what had happened? Well apparently some Hercules baggage clerk had ripped off the handle of the suitcase, the one with the tags on it, while stacking bags and the baggage never left the airport because no one knew whose it was or where it was going. When it was identified by its contents it got to go on a side trip to Los Angeles and then met us in Vegas.

Reunited. And it felt so good.

Of course I couldn’t look at the clothes in the suitcase now. I had new ones. Better ones. That’s right I’m looking at you previously drab wardrobe.

And thus concludes the first portion of How I Gambled in Las Vegas and… the next instalment will tell you how I gambled in Las Vegas and won – on customer service. And that includes Westjet, who despite the experience did an awesome job on dealing with the situation.

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