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Rant: Vegas Perception vs Vegas Reality

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 20th September 2011 5:31pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 18

   

Purloined from Reddit, via Cheezburger via VT super friend RockChickX5100 comes this amusing cartoon which documents the "The Vegas Experience."

Smoke and mirrors. Perception and reality. Promises and results. $10 drink at the bar and a $100 free drink at the slot machine.

Truth. But why? Las Vegas is a city built not on sand but on lies.

Have I offended you?

Is lies too strong a word? How about we substitute marketing instead. We can't blame the casinos, it is their job to publish glossy photos of their rooms taken with wide angle lenses and lit to increase square footage. It is also their job to hype their constant ability to provide each and every guest with a transformative experience be it dining, casino, or entertainment.

It is doubtful if a resort would get much play on "Our rooms are small, smelly and inexpensive... perfect for a cheapskate" slogan. Conversely, a dump won't promise it is as luxurious as the Taj Mahal either.

The disconnect happens when supporting media regurgitates the handed down hype, peppering the discourse with sinless adjectives in the hopes of making PR hotties happy enough to keep sending content that doesn't require research and invitations to the next restaurant review.

From careless bloggers making boobish recommendations to noobs, to professional online scribes who calculatingly write only positive stories and reviews targeted at search engine keywords to the 'gag-me-with-a-stick-of-dice-if-I-ever-read-another-top-10-_________-in-Vegas-lists' blog and news posts, finding authentic, intelligent, curtain dropping discussion about Las Vegas nearly impossible.

Did you know that the casinos a) pump oxygen in b) give out free drinks c) install ugly carpeting d) put subliminal messages in the muzak to get you to gamble more?



Tagged: rant   





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Comments & Discussion:

My last trip was like the perception photos... We had a party bus, I came up about 4x on my bankroll for the trip, partied in the clubs, alas... I still do not have a 6-pack.

score!

It reminds me all of when I worked at Disneyland and would experience the wrath of every family that would become disillusioned when they walked through the gates and instead of experiencing the spacious, flawless, magical, slow-montioned happiness of TV and print ads, were bombarded with unspeakable crowds, $6 soda, unhappy children, and broken dreams.

Fortunately, I've been visiting Vegas since I was a child (I honestly don't remember my first time) and even though Vegas in the 80's was obviously very different than today, I grew up in the wonderful brash and tackiness instead of the hype, which made me appreciate the city for what it was instead of what it was trying to be.

As far as finding authentic and intelligent conversations about Las Vegas, one doesn't need to stray too far away from websites like RateVegas, FiveHundy, and VegasTripping.

Hope that last statement doesn't make me look like a kiss-ass brown-noser.

Of course Vegas highlights the positive possibilities of visiting there. Do you expect any destination to go on about "you may get sexually transmitted diseases, lose lots of money, get food poisoning, get caught hiring hookers, get pack-raped by Jersey Shore wannabees, and have a shitty hotel room" in the advertising?

My Vegas trip had pros and cons. The big con is I lost 5.5k at the tables. The pros were great staff, reasonable comps and free cigars drinks when gambling (none of which I get in Australia), a hotel I love with a great room, proximity to excellent bars and restaurants.

I don't fit into either extreme in that cartoon, and I think most Vegas travellers don't either.

^^ so you've never hi-fived a granny at the wheelie slots?

I just thought the picture was hilarious and needed to be shared. I didn't mean for it to result in anything serious. I've had both of those experiences in Vegas. When my dude and I got married, it was like the first picture. Parties, clubs, limos, nice rental cars, suite at Caesar's, etc. But when I was younger and NOT 21 my vacations ended up like the second set of pictures. Mainly because we always stayed at Excalibur on the "Vegas Family Vacations."
BTW Chuck, it's X51 not X10. :-)

Meh - We've experienced a bit of the former with some really nice afternoons at the Mandalay titty pool. And I mean some REALLY NICE AFTERNOONS there.

The latter - never happened for long. My wife and I make our own fun wherever we go. If it's not hapning - we move on - pronto.

Mostly we enjoy being with each other. And the location and action just adds to it.
Labor day weekend one of the best things we did was sit at the streetside rail at the PBR Rock Bar at noon on Monday. Drink beer and watch the freek show wander by.

Yep thats what we say when we leave. It's either going to be a Tom Waites or Donny and Marie weekend.

Thanks RockChick. This is funny.

My dad taught me a fundamental rule about Vegas: "if the house offers it to you, it's a bad deal." He was referring specifically to insurance in blackjack, but it is broadly applicable as a rule-of-thumb.

My entire Vegas-visiting life, my friends and I have done everything we can to game the system, and it's still working. Casinos getting chintzy with the beer? Fine, we'll keep a cooler stocked in our room. And even during the days of the real estate bubble, you could get a decent room for a decent price. We don't do nightclubs, and find the negatives a lot of people complain about (fat tourists slurping giant alcoholic Slurpees, douchebags) to be a source of free entertainment. I go there planning to lose money, and embrace everything from the sewer smell at the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd to porn slappers to bad 99 cent hot dogs as part of the experience. If you do this, you will always have a good time.

On the truly big stories like the CET remodel issues (none or negligent inspections at Rio) or the construction deaths at CityCenter, both the R-J and Sun respectively dug in deep. The R-J to the point that CET (Harrah's at the time) pulled their advertising.

One can argue that the serious journalists may not dig far enough, often enough. Local's tend to get blase over the minutia after a while. (Steve Wynn burps... who cares). For example, none of stories regarding the closure of Sahara mentioned that it was having issues due to terrible management that ran the place into the ground. It took very little talking with employees to find that out. It should have been part of any well-researched Sahara closing story.

Having said that, my background is tourism marketing. You'd better believe that I'll reprint press releases as long as I feel that the information isn't complete bullshit. Why reinvent the wheel? The absolute vast majority of visitors come and have a great time. So we must not be misleading them by saying "Come to Vegas and you'll have a great time".

BTW, the PR people aren't our friends. I won't call them the enemy but I personally don't have any friends in that field. Why? It is their job to lobby us for inclusion. They are after all the free press that they can get. I'm after all the advertising dollars I can get.

The whole VIP and media comp thing isn't as exciting (or influential) as perhaps some are assuming it to be. You get jaded after a while. Any blogger who is just blogging in order to attempt to get into that circle is a fool. You can't suck down enough free food and booze to compensate you for the time you spend blogging, and most Vegas bloggers aren't making jack. AND... the PR chicks aren't exactly stupid. You don't get the media invites just for having a blog. For the most part, they do their homework. You need to have some reach or influence.

I guess that I'm not seeing what the issue is. But I welcome a discussion on it.

How does an ugly carpet get me to gamble more?!

^^^@ProfessorYaffle The logic is that if the carpet is ugly you will not look at it which means you are looking at the gambling machines and their shiny flashy lights instead which in turn will entice you to empty your wallet

That pic always makes me giggle. Plus the people that actually feel that way. When my Hetero-sexual life mate (that guy ^^^) first took me to Vegas, I knew going in it would be like it is on TV. And I had to explain that to my wife when I took her on her first trip too.

But like fatbastard said, MAKE YOUR OWN FUN!!! Any town that won't cut me off and won't scoff at me when I order a Jack and Water at 10am is A-OK in my books. Even if the town is starting to look like the Jersey Shore threw up from 3000 miles away

That picture isn't far off, although there are a lot of moments (if you look for them) in Las Vegas where you may get a feel for that marketing picture (with more average looking people).

As much as the marketing helps, I'm sure it hurts, even as I started visiting regularly, I started developing fairly high opinions of properties I never stayed in or visited for very long.

Using MGM as an example, I can remember my first stay there and being concerned I might not like it, that maybe the 'younger' 'hipper' crowd would bug me (this was in 2007) and that I'd feel out of place. I remember seeing my 'do not disturb' sign in the room and it said 'recharging' and I couldn't stop laughing at how hard they were trying or thinking about the little old slot lady fully comped that was putting that out on her door.

Call it my moment of clarity in realizing that I was way too caught up in their marketing, it was a resort casino just like the rest of them on the strip and although it had some differences, anyone should be able to find something that appeals to them in a resort that size. From that point on, I've ignored the hype/complaints on places and just tried to get a feel for it myself.

It's one of the reasons I really appreciate the Monte Carlo website ads and even the Caesars commercial (one day or whatever it's called). There is a bit of realism/humor in those that show the city beyond the marketing curtain, but still dresses it up for the camera.

Perception: Rolling dice with Freddie Mercury. Reality: "Alice Cooper" is your Dealertainer.

Wait...you mean I won't be shooting craps with Freddie? I'm never visiting Vegas again *pouts*

One of these days, we'll ALL be rolling dice with Freddie.
Hallelujah.



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