1) Am I Enjoying This?
Vegas is known for its opulence, yet every time it amazes me. The reputation of Vegas is well-known, proclaimed as Sin City, and yet somehow it always out does itself. Vegas is America’s adult playground, where fortunes are won and lost daily, marriages begun and ended nightly, and livers beaten and abused hourly.
The decision was simple: comp’d room + free flight = weekend in Vegas. We arrived on a Friday morning with plenty of time to hit the hotel pool, gamble, and hit the club. One of my other companions from Argentina and another friend, my former manager, were ready to take on Vegas… and we were already up on the house.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of the newest, hottest hotels on the strip and it did not disappoint. You might ask yourself how we managed to lock-down a $495/night room for free and with a view of the Bellagio Fountain. Here’s my first tip: work the system. Customer loyalty programs are no new concept. In exchange for your personal information and the ability to track your spending and usage habits, you sign up to earn free rewards. These extend from airlines to hotels to casino gambling. Once understood and taken advantage of, you may reap the benefits. In our case, one of our companions had signed up for the casino’s Players Card during a previous trip; no cost, just sign up and earn points. Points = free rooms, hence our trip! In addition to that, for frequent travelers, hotel points add up quickly, further offering amenities. My other friend’s Platinum status provided a free upgrade to the fountain view, free buffet tickets, and VIP line entry for the dining room. Work the system and you win.
We hit the ground running the first day, or swimming I should say, at the hotel pool. After a few hours of taking in the Las Vegas strip views, we closed down the pool around 6p. During that time we managed to make friends with an Armenian bachelorette party and, coincidentally, also ran into some friends on a bachelor party for the weekend. Things were lining up nicely.
That evening we planned on getting bottle service at the Marquee Night Club. Typically, not my style due to the outrageous prices and ridiculousness, but fortunately my buddy knew someone that could get us a table for $500; not bad for 3 guys… yet still ridiculous by everyday standards. To put things in perspective, the table next to us had a minimum of $2000; we got lucky, it helps to know people!
The following morning, we heard from the girls at the pool; they had a day bed and we had the name on the reservation, jackpot!… so I thought. Upon trying to enter, they demanded we add on another $500 bottle… shit. Not what we wanted to do. After hemming and hawing, we conceded and walked in. Worst case scenario we had to ante up and buy a bottle, but we were willing to play the odds. Chances were that the 10 person bachelorette party would be buying several bottles anyway. After 3 checkpoints, one bouncer took our ticket and let us slip in. I assumed they’d escort us to the table and add on another bottle but we just walked directly into the party without looking back; no cover, no bottle! Tip #2, meet new people. Had we not made those friends at the pool the day prior, we would have likely had to return to the not as exciting hotel pool, considering the Marquee Pool Party was sold out. Granted things won’t always work out as advantageously, but in looking back at my experiences, the best memories have come from those I’ve met unexpectedly! Once you open your mouth, life gets interesting. The pool party ensued.
Following the pool party, we headed out in search of food. (Note: it’s best not to eat or drink on the strip. If possible go off the strip, buy alcohol from chains such as Walgreens and eat at the cheaper food courts, such as the one in Planet Hollywood.) Fast-forwarding into the night, we had a similar plan in mind: meet up with my friends on the bachelor party, drop a name, and slip in. This time it worked even better. The bouncer insisted we had to wait for our group unless we wanted to put a card down for the table. That wasn’t happening! Upon waiting for the bachelor party in line, the opportunist in me saw an opening and went for it. Generally speaking, as long as you are able to go with the flow and act “as-if,” you can get away with a lot. In our case, we saw a large group entering ahead of us, blended in and walked in with them. The two guys with me caught on and quickly followed suit. No questions asked; we were in, yet again! Tip #3: be bold, be adventurous!
Though I was not entirely pleased with being at the same club for the third time in two days, I wasn’t complaining, given we didn’t pay cover once and only paid a fraction of what most would have to get our experience. We eventually met our friends inside and partied the night away. I’d elaborate more, but you know what they say, “what happens in Vegas…”
The next day had a wake up time of, oh, say about 1p. Thanks again to our upgrades, we had a 2p checkout time which was much needed! While one of my companions had to catch his flight out, the two of us remaining rounded out the trip with an afternoon at the hotel pool, sipping on Modelos and chatting with some local pool crashers. We smoked some cigars while walking the strip and threw some craps at some of the cheaper casinos – which, by the way, are much more forgiving than some of the nicer casinos – before our flights
All in all, it was an awesome trip in Vegas, put together on a whim and done for under $1000 bucks. Planning is good, but just enough to get you there and back. Everything in between can be made up as you go. Have fun along the way, meet new people, and find some adventure!
Starting something new is a challenge, not matter what you’re doing. Not only do you have to accomplish the goals of the project itself, but also learn new skills, develop relationships and build networks. Sometimes you learn the easy way; sometimes you learn the hard way.
I’ve never liked the feeling of depending on someone else, but the reality of it is that we need each other in our personal lives and in business. I’ve come to that understanding and continue to work on that. What I can’t stand is someone you depend on, not coming through for you when needed. That will get you extricated from my life rather quickly.
I very seldom provide feedback to a business, or individual for that matter, unless I feel strongly about something (positive or negative); anything in between, I could care less. If it was something I spent time writing about, I felt very strongly about it!
Of ten people bitch and complain continually about things they have no control over or can’t change; I quickly lose interest in these conversations. Perhaps this is why I’ve never been interested in politics.
In some cases though, it is useful to vent. But only if you vent, get it out, and move on. This is the case in the email below. I’ve come to work with several vendors on my recent product launch, some of whom have been pleasant, others not so much. My intention with the email sent was not to demand action, as I have given up all hope on that front, but rather to vent, express myself and move on. Likely, I expect little to no response to this email, but damn it felt good!
To whom it may concern:
The purpose of this follow-up is merely to provide feedback and perhaps in the hopes of having this issue escalated, but I have a suspicion that this will be swept under the rug as with many of the other issues I’ve had with Amazon; so perhaps this is merely a forum for me to vent as I suspect these words fall on deaf ears.
The support I’ve received for Amazon Webstore has been the worst experience I’ve had with any vendor and that includes the both technical support and customer service. This is something I’ve had much experience with as I work for a large IT consulting firm.
More times than I can count, my cases have been dismissed with poor answers, redirections, or denials of service.
In my experience, the average emailed tickets takes several days to receive a response. This has forced me to contact via phone in which most cases I receive someone that has little to no understanding of the technical details of Amazon Webstore and in most situations, I feel as the representative’s only goal is to get me off the call or shuffle me to the next person so they can close their case; just another number.
In my most recent experience, a case that took nearly a month to close out, my question was regarding the variables Amazon Webstore uses to process transactions as these need to be referenced for affiliate program coding.
The response: “Please note that seller support would not be able to provide any assistance with regards to the custom scripts and we would also not be able to assist our sellers with the tokens/values used for the code.”
That wasn’t the question, I just needed to understand how Amazon processes orders. After nearly half a dozen exchanges I resolved to use a different affiliate network, one Supported by Amazon Webstore; ShareASale.
That didn’t work either. Dozens of dicussions, emails, and hours on the phone later I had arrived no where.
In fact, one representative told me that my ShareASale Merchant ID was not in fact my ShareASale Merchant ID and that I should call ShareASale. Again misguided instructions. The result of the call was that I was told a Senior Associate would follow up the next day; I never received a call…
I will commend Orlando as he was the most helpful, but his instructions, too, were false and misunderstood.
I later found that orders[i].itemList[i].revenue was the missing piece that no one could find for me.
In the interested of being contructive, here is where Amazon needs to improve:
* As far as I can tell, there is not detailed technical instruction on how the site works and if there is documentation it is poorly written and typically out of date; you can’t outsource everthing Amazon.
* Associates need to have a better understanding of the Amazon Webstore and how it works; one representative instructed me to add the Amazon Associates webpart to my page to resolve my affiliate code implementation. That’s simply idotic.
* In addition, more resources need to be available to the associates, reading back to me the help info from the site is of no value, I can find that myself.
After all of this, I can assure you I will be taking my business elsewhere as soon as I am able to migrate my site. This has been a horrible experience and I don’t see it getting any better. Perhaps this is just a testament that a bookstore shouldn’t be providing webstore services…
Thanks for nothing.
Sometimes you just need to get it out! Don’t hold on to negative feelings.