Sometimes, simply traveling can be gamble.
When we arrived in Las Vegas, we made our way to the baggage claim area to pick up our bag. My wife and I watched as people jubilantly snatched up their bags and giddily raced off to check into their hotels.
As the crowd thinned, I noticed the conveyor belt stopped, leaving only two solitary bags being pushed around the metallic carousel. We stared at remaining bags that slowly circled. Our bag never emerged from the conveyor.
I started to realize that our bag wasn’t going to materialize. They lost our bag or left it in Minneapolis, I thought. I sighed. It was going to be one of those trips. I started mentally preparing myself for shopping for clothes at 1 a.m. at the local Wal-Mart.
I persuaded my confused wife to follow me to the baggage office. Half way there I heard my name being paged, asking me to come immediately to the Delta baggage office.
As I opened the door and walked in, we were greeted by the overpowering aroma of ethyl acetate, burnt rubber, and two somber Delta employees. The Delta employees explained that there was a problem with our bag. The “problem” was that bag fell off the luggage tug, was run over, and dragged for a good long distance. She waved at our severely damaged bag.
Sensing my wife’s confusion, the agent quickly tried to change the subject. “We will, of course, give you a brand new bag. Here. This one is about the same size.” She held up a new carryon bag triumphantly and removed it from the plastic. She smiled.
My wife slowly reached out to our broken, mutilated, melted bag that had been sodomized by an airport cargo trailer just minutes before.
My wife started to go through the bag, cautiously surveying the damage. She didn’t say anything. The Delta representative finally broke the awkward silence and asked if there was anything valuable in the bag. Luckily, there wasn’t – just our cherished possessions.
The acrid smell of nail polish was just that, a nail polish bottle had been crushed inside the bag. A cracked makeup case and ripped toiletries bag rounded out the damages.
We left with the new bag and travel vouchers and ambled out to the taxi stand to go to our hotel – Hooters Casino Hotel.
If Depression Was a Hotel
I had booked the hotel stay because Hooters Casino Hotel positions itself as a no-frills frugal place to stay in Las Vegas. The room rate was $22 per night ($36.95 per night after the mandatory “resort fee” is added).
The casino is small, dark, and dank. There were few people, no exuberant shouts of joy from the craps tables; just quiet, punctuated by electronic chimes from slot machines.
Walking to the elevators, I was surprised to feel water dripping on me. I looked up and saw water dripping from the ceiling, right before the entrance to the bar.
We exchanged glances and soldiered onwards in silence.
I expected the worst, but surprisingly, the room was remarkably clean and the bed was comfortable. When I pressed the power on the remote, the TV came to life.
Other things in the room were less than stellar. The AC/heater was very noisy The electrical outlet by the bed was broken. Inserting the plug from the iron would cause visible electrical arcing.
Hooters Room Service: Food Poisoning Without Seeing Hot Chicks
The next morning, my wife left early to attend a seminar, and I casually started getting ready for a full day of gambling. A full day of my own, in Las Vegas.
The first item on the agenda was to eat some breakfast. At the Hooters Casino Hotel, they have chicken wings 24 hours a day. Therefore, by applying my own tortured brand of logic, I deduced that I must order chicken wings for breakfast.
It would be the third mistake of the trip. The first was checking my bag, the second was coming to Hooters.
After 30 minutes, a knock at the door announced the arrival of my chicken wings. There was no fancy room service cart, just a guy with a tray of chicken wings. The server pushed the tray of wings into my hands and then held up the room service ticket for me to sign. I awkwardly put the tray of wings down in the room and came back the door to sign the ticket.
The room service menu stated that all room service orders are automatically charged an 18% gratuity. However, on the ticket, there was a line for an additional tip, and the server had highlighted the percentages for a tip. In my confused embarrassment, I tipped an ADDITIONAL 18%, thinking the gratuity wasn’t automatically included. I would find out later after viewing the itemized statement on checkout, I tipped twice. The double-gratuity or “double-grat” as my waiter friend used to say with a guffaw.
I started eating the wings while watching, “The Lottery Changed My Life” on TLC. Face smeared with hot wing sauce and ranch dressing, I watched fascinated by the trailer-park to riches stories that unfolded before my eyes.
I started to get a headache and my stomach started to turn.
I’m getting headache, I thought. I just need to wait it out. I’ll be fine in an hour. I watched another episode. Then another episode. Then another
After a few hours the headache got worse, followed by an increasing sense of nausea. I took a nap, thinking it would go away. On the rare instances where I’ve gotten a migraine headache just sleeping would cure it.
I woke up to find the headache and constant nausea. About the eight hour mark, the vomiting and diarrhea started. For the next several hours the misery multiplied.
I realized that this wasn’t a migraine headache. I had food poisoning. There was no fever, no chills; only the unrelenting nausea and diarrhea.
After the worst of it, my symptoms started to lessen. By 10:30 pm, I was hungry and we left to eat at Planet Hollywood. I was definitely feeling much better.
You Must Go to Security
Next morning, as I checked out, I made it a point to complain. Normally, I never complain about anything. However, I wanted to tell them I got food poisoning.
So we waited for the manager to come from the restaurant. I informed him that I got food poisoning from the wings I ordered. I gave him the room service charge ticket.
He then basically said: a) I should have complained right away, b) if there was a problem in the restaurant there would be lots of complaints, and c) I’d have to go to security to make a complaint.
“Security?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yes, security handles all of the restaurant complaints and gastrointestinal issues.”
I told him I wasn’t going to do any such thing. We were going to the airport. Besides, I wasn’t complaining to get a free meal or get anything taken off of my bill. I was trying to tell them they had a problem.
He offered me gift cards for the Hooters restaurant, where I got food poisoning. I turned him down. That was an intelligence test I didn’t want to fail.