Home » VT News » Cosmopolitan Unfurls The Freak Flag

Cosmopolitan Unfurls The Freak Flag

By MikeE on Thursday, 23rd December 2010 1:33am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 21


Cosmopolitan Jaleo Bull Head Mounted On Wall

It was a scorching mid-July day. As I lounged with a mojito in hand at the Island Bar centered in Encore's European pool, I struck up a conversation with the bartender regarding, of all things, what he was wearing.

On a 106-degree day, he had what looked like a black, long sleeve shirt underneath a short-sleeved polo uniform. "Long sleeves? Aren't you burning up?" I asked. He pulled his sleeve up slightly above his wrist to reveal yet another sleeve, only this one made of tattoos. He, in fact, wasn't wearing a long sleeve shirt at all. Those were just arm coverings designed to hide the ink that ran from his shoulders down to his wrists.

Ridiculous, especially when half the patrons at the pool had some sort of tattoo of their own. But this isn't a criticism of Wynn so much as the resort industry in general. I mean, I understand that self-expression might not be acceptable to everyone in such an international industry, but a little scruff? A piercing? Must every casino place on their employees Disney-like restrictions?

Perhaps that's why one of the first things I noticed at Cosmopolitan were employees with mohawks, hair styles dyed vivid blue, piercings, and tattoos without any attempt at covering them up.

Bravo, Cosmo[politan]. Bravo for letting those who work under your roof be the same person they are away from the job. In a resort that encourages employees to introduce themselves to guests, self-expression makes the entire experience so much more personal.

Tagged: cosmopolitan   


Comments & Discussion:

Imagine that... Mike striking up a conversation with someone about clothes. Whooooda thunkit?

As a Goth, I must applaud Cosmopolitan for doing this.

If they were officially part of Citycenter I'd describe the place as "the Soho of Citycenter" (it fits the metaphor even if Cosmo isn't part of Citycenter).

Of course, some resorts might understandably not wish for such high levels of employee self-expression. It may conflict with the style of product they wish to produce for their guests and in that situation I can see why said resorts would want a more conventional appearance on the part of their employees.

However, a happy worker is a productive worker, and allowing employee self-expression would probably increase happiness amongst the employees (and thus increase productivity and customer service).

I most certainly will be checking out the Cosmo on my next trip to Vegas. It looks fantastic. If only they didn't demand black chips to get S17 blackjack...

Sounds like they're really staking out their own unique identity. Kudos to them.

As one of the other commenters said, I'm sure this is another step in Cosmopolitan finding their niche. But if I am on vacation to relax, I want people taking care of me and I don't necessarily want to be distracted by their blue hair or their arm sleeve tattoes. Normally, those attributes don't go hand-in-hand with superior service.

I won't avoid going to Cosmopolitan because of this. I am very much looking forward to checking the place out on my next visit, even with the so-called "freak show" on display.

But with all things being equal, let's keep the self-expression under wraps.

".....blue hair or their arm sleeve tattoes. Normally, those attributes don't go hand-in-hand with superior service."

Really? What someone looks like generally affects the level of service they provide? Huh. I never knew that.

It's about branding. As someone who manages a chain of pubs and restaurants I can attest that we do dictate how our service staff present themselves because it's our choice how we want to present the face of our company to our guests. Branding is an important part of any business and in the service industry your front staff is one of the most important part of your brand/guest perception. I have no opinion one way or the other about tattoos or facial piercings but as a business operator I can and do decide what the face of our company will look like. Successful businesses like Wynn and hopefully Cosmo look at all aspects of their brand and determine what they would like their guests to see and while the blue haired tattoo sleeved server may provide excellent service their presentation may not fit with the overall concept of the resort. Kind of like hanging a velvet painting of Elvis or Dogs playing poker (both of which I like) in a Fairway villa at Wynn.

That's just my opinion, let the flaming of my thoughts begin from the "You can't stifle my right to self-expression" folks. It's not my intention to take away your right to self expression but it is my intention to brand and present my business as I want to.

Just curious, how many pieces of flare do you "suggest" your employees wear in order to express themselves?

In refards to your last paragraph, I used to work security at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. One night I got into a discussion about freedom of expression with one of the front desk workers, who we'll say is a tad more liberal than I. She was attempting to tell me that her company was surpreasing her right to choose what she looks like. I told her a company can not supress her rights since she is choosing to work there. If she though having her hair colored blue was better, then she could quit and dye her hair. She told told me she was making more money than she could at another job so she choose to stay at that hotel.

I would say, yes, the way a person presents themselves does effects the level of service they provide. If they present themselves in a professional manner than one would expect professional service. If they present themselves as a hippy teenager someone would expect service from a hippy teenager.

Duffman, I tend to agree with that viewpoint. You are being paid to dress nicely and meet a certain dress code. Its actually part of the job description; something you get paid to do. If you don't like it, you are free to go express yourself (without being paid obviously) however you want anywhere you wish.

I currently work for a company that allows pretty free expression as long as things remain fairly normal.

No blue mohawks...but mohawks are allowed. I have to limit my piercings showing, and nothing to extreme. I can't have any tattoos showing.

This policy isn't meant to hinder me as a person or who I am. But rather present an approachable friendly face to the general public.

In the situation as described by Mr. E. The Cosmo is obviously trying to allow there employees really be themselves without limiting there own personal expression. But at the sametime while most of us here on Vegastripping are pretty open minded and wouldn't mind approaching an unfurled freak flag, there are people, and I am guessing several who are part of Mariott's mailing lists who may end up at the Cosmo and be very put off by this particular flag.

I gotta agree with DonnyMac (because he is my heterosexual lifemate) and also because I used to work for him. Not that my bars are more "'liberal"(?) than his, but I think that we allow a little more freedom, not much, but we aren't a huge chain across Alberta and Saskatchewan so it's easier. I think everyone draws the line at face tattoos! I myself have many tattoos and if I chose to not show them I can and still be comfortable, if I wanna wear shorts, I do etc. I think the guy wearing the long sleeves at the pool realized that he could make more money in a place that he did have to hide his personal expression than in a place he could flaunt them. As for Cosmo I remember when I worked for places that I wasn't allowed to show my tattoos, and I did, cause society is changing and does it really matter what people look like anymore? All I want is great service at a reasonable price.

Speaking of freaks.....

There are at some properties a more relaxed position in regards to tattoos and piercings. I've seen boobjack dealers and cocktail waitresses at some of the Downtown properties with tattoos that aren't covered up by the uniforms. We're not just talking about "tramp stamps" either. I've seen some with tattoos that start at their shoulders and stop somewhere below their waist. I've seen nose rings and eyebrow piercings as well.

As I said, I am all for personal expression through piercings, tattoos, clothing or dance. But for the 8 hours a day that you are being paid for your time you represent our business and need to dress, act, speak or dance to our standards. The other 16 hours a day I could care what you do. As the person who took the capital risk to build a business and as the one who signs the paychecks it is reasonable to think that if, as Spyder said, you feel you can earn a good living working for me then you're going to have to represent my BRAND as I want otherwise feel free to go work in an environment that better suits your lifestyle or personal choice.

Sounds harsh but you didn't spend millions, or in Vegas' case billions, of dollars to build the business.

Wow. Y'all are harsh.

I work IT support in a relaxed environment (academia). I wear jeans to work every day with a polo shirt, occasionally a T-shirt. Sometimes, in the summer, I even wear shorts.

I wear a single earring (I'm a guy) and no one cares what my hair looks like, though I keep it pretty respectable.

Now. If I were in the corporate world, I could be doing the same exact job, but be held to a much higher standard of dress/personal appearance. Forget the jeans, forget the shorts, lose the earring and the t-shirts.

Would my job performance be any better, or any different, if I dressed differently? Absolutely not.

I don't give a flip if my bartender, hotel desk clerk, or waitress has blue hair and 40 piercings. To me, it's completely irrelevant.

I'd suggest that being concerned with an employee / service provider's appearance is *generally* a function of age, with younger patrons tending to not give a shit what someone wears, what color their hair is, or how many tattoos they have. This is not a hard and fast rule, obviously, but I think a pretty fair generalization.

"Would my job performance be any better, or any different, if I dressed differently? Absolutely not."

tell that to the strip club that hires 300 lb chicks and dresses them in ponchos.

you could even say that your job performance WOULD change - possibly for the worse, since you would be uncomfortable in a suit vs. a t-shirt & jeans.

it's the same rationale why a company will hire the more attractive person with all else being equal. would you want to go to a casino where all the waitresses look like roseanne barr and rosie o'donnell? you always hear in vegas conversations "so&so hotel has the hottest waitresses"...you never hear the opposite.

sometimes it matters, sometimes it helps bring in clients, and sometimes it has no bearing on anything.

I find it hilarious that people like MikeE still call people with tattoos Freaks. I love it. Its a word that died out in 10th grade. I'm going to consider MikeE a "prep" then. Since we're all still on high school terminology.

BUT good for the Cosmo. As an office minion who has to cover every tattoo and take out every piercing I have to go to a job everyday where I don't even deal face to face with customers, I say BRAVO. I wish I worked somewhere where I was surrounded by hardcore old Christan women who critize your every move. What makes it funny though, is I'm the highest performer at my job, and I have pink hair, and it pisses all the other little "conformist" people off. I love it death.

^^^Hmmm...would that be the same "Donnymac66" and "Spyder" referenced in Chuck's Feature Cosmo room review?

" I didn't spend any time trying to figure out how it works. In theory it should be pee free as nobody - particularly coffee machine urinators Donnymac66 and Spyder - has stayed here yet."

What kinda double life are you two leading?!!

When Spyder or I are peeing in the coffee pot we aren't working for our chosen employer ;) Which is exactly my point, outside of work I do not care what our staff do as long as it doesn't impact their job but when they are on the clock representing our company we can determine how they present themselves and interact with our guests. And just to be clear my company does allow piercings in the ears, nose and small eyebrow rings and we only want tattoos covered up if they are offensive or absolutely huge. Our staff are to dress stylish, we do not have a set uniform just all black in any style you like.

My point is that if Wynn doesn't want tattoos and piercings and Cosmo does, it's their choice as business owners and employers. I hate it when employees get mad at our uniform and appearance standards as was mentioned earlier if you don't like them don't work there. Like Spyder said the dude at Wynn realized that there was better money to be made there covering up the tattoos then there was to work at Casino Royale and show them.

I. personally, could care less if you want to cover yourself with tattoos and wear your hair in a massive blue cloud but there are limits. It's cool for Cosmo to not set them but at some point they are going to get complaints from older guests who want servers, workers who dont look like they are refugees from The Road Warrior. In some areas of the hotel this will not be an issue but for the folks at the check in line they need to look 'professional' and not cool.

on a semi-related note, i wonder what all these kids are going to do in 5-20 years after stretching out their earlobes and are left with golf ball sized holes in their earlobes.

Since we're catering to the older set who want servents instead of people, why don't we give them what they really want and make all the employees silent black men in white tuxedos?

It's so hypocritical that the people who grew as long-haired hippies railing against establishment, or even worse...as the CBGB punk pioneers, are now offended by tattoos and a piercings. Money, wrinkles, and liver spots really change perspectives, eh?

The point of allowing ink and expression, as well as 86ing nametags, and putting pooltables in common areas, is to create meaningful connections between guest and employee. A simple introduction and handshake can lead to a deeper conversation. I'm not talking about Voltaire debates, but something more than "Here's your Coors Light, cash or room charge?"

When you're comfortable in your own skin, it shows. Think about the symbolism associated with a businessman loosening his necktie and rolling up his sleeve. He is relaxing, shedding the corporate schtick so his true personality can shine.

We've all heard about how Cosmopolitan has hired as much on personality as ability, why go through that extra effort if you're going to stifle them as soon as guests arrive?

"The point of [...] 86ing nametags [...] is to create meaningful connections between guest and employee."

dude, someone who is waiting on me could wear a nametag that was 2 feet wide and tell me their name every 2 minutes and i still wouldn't remember it.

Comments Are Closed

Subscribe via RSS

Recent Comments:

michigan2010 posted: "MGM equals cookie cutter casino. No to reason to step foot in Bellagio again. Just hope they don't screw up..."
» Sayonara Bellagio Table Game Canopies...
saharalv posted: "I wish the editors were the entire electoral college in 2016...."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...
fatbastard posted: "So many people letting a billionaire live rent free in their heads. Funny. Too bad it also detracts from the..."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...
wpsteel66 posted: "Total bummer…talk about taking the class and uniqueness away from the Bellagio…another smart move on CEO Jim and making all..."
» Sayonara Bellagio Table Game Canopies...
damania posted: "Is there a podcast?..."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...

» More Comments