This past week (and weekend) I traveled to Connecticut for the annual Ratex Users Group (or RUG) Conference, which was hosted by the good folks at the UCONN bookstore. The RUG conference is always both a good time and a great way to learn more about the system that we use to manage our businesses -- there are workshop sessions, discussion sessions and presentations on upcoming features that will be included in the new releases.
One of the best things about these conferences, though, is the information sharing that often occurs during breaks and lunches -- when you can simply sit down with a user of the same system from another store and talk about different strategies and approaches for your business.
During one of the social evenings, our hosts took us on a bus trip to Foxwoods Resort Casino. Not ever having been really interested in casinos, neither Francine nor I had ever been in one. So, after a great buffet dinner, I expored the casino with the cool dudes from the Waterloo University Bookstore, Randy and Lauri.
We sat down at the 25 cent machines and each put in our small bills and gave the machines a shot. It wasn't all that exciting pressing a button and watching to see if you lined up 3 symbols, so while we found it interesting, we were happy to move on after exhausting our luck. Sure, every 8 or 9 pushes of the button we'd win some small amount of coin to our pot, but mostly we slowly pissed our money away. Not really my idea of a great time -- I can think of much better ways of pissing my money away -- beer comes to mind. (Think about it this way - go into a large office or hotel building and press the call button for the elevator and see if all 3 elevator doors open at the same time -- there are your odds for winning something big)
There was a fun moment when, having deposited $5.00 into a machine, my pot was up to $9.50. I printed my ticket out so Randy could take my picture as a winner. What I don't have a picture of, of course, is a few minutes later when I moved over to the One Armed Bandit $1.00 machines and lost all of that money in about 2 minutes.
We then wandered around, discovering there were 5 cent and 2 cent and 1 cent machines. Damn, and here we were, the big high rollers, spending 25 cents per game. Randy made a comment that perhaps there were people looking at us and saying: "Damn rich Canadians, coming in here and throwing their quarters around like big shots."
At that point, we didn't bother sticking around much longer -- we came, we ate, we checked out the tons of $$ put into the building and facilities, watched even more tons of $$ being pumped into machines and at card tables, we left. I'm sad to say that a lot of the $$ being sucked out of folks was likely from many people who couldn't afford to rub two pennies together, but who sat tethered to these machines for hours, slowly dwindling away what little money they had in the hopes of walking out of there millionaires. Very sad to see -- I found that aspect of it rather depressing, which kind of takes that excitement out of a visit to the casino for me.
But, to each his own, n'est pas?
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the title of this post is in reference to CT's Nathan Hale who uttered the famous line: "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country" or perhaps " . . . that I have but one life to lose for my country" (depending on which historic document you read) before being hanged following the battle of Long Island in 1776. We stayed at the Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center on the UCONN campus, and while there learned a bit more about this fascinating American hero.