Saturday, August 21, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Pomp and Circumstance 


I am now a certified croupier. I am qualified to work in any casino in the world.

Pretty cool eh? I graduated at the top of the class too. The best part about that was the people around me telling me that they didn't expect any less. I certainly didn't see that accolade coming, but I'm mighty glad that I got it all the same. Grades don't matter in the sense that everyone who passes the course is equally qualified to deal table games. They do matter in the sense that future employers will contact the school for references. This way, I'm guaranteed an excellent reference. Not to mention some of the instructors will be my bosses in Great Canadian Casinos which just makes my life a little easier.

I've been assigned to the Pacific National Exhibition (or the PNE for short) which is an annual fair that lasts two weeks. Most of my other classmates got more permanent assignments so at first glance, it looks like I got the short end of the stick. Truth is, I got the best damn assignment out there. Sure, I don't know where I will be posted at the end of two weeks but here's the deal. The gamblers in the permanent locations are regulars who know exactly what to expect. On the other hand, people at the PNE who enter the casino are mostly people who are fair goers first and then gamblers second. They have no expectations on my speed, or indeed anything else. It's a lot less pressure for sure. Word on the street has it that the tips are worse at the PNE because it's the regulars that are familiar with tipping dealers. However, I've got close to full time hours. My classmates that were posted to actual locations are only pulling 2-3 shifts a week on account of their newbie status. I think this will more than make up for the difference in tips.

There's just this one little thing about working at the PNE that really pisses me off. It's not even directly related to the job either. Well, here's the deal. In order to work at the casino, I will have to wear a Gaming Policy and Enforment Branch (GPEB) tag that has my picture on it. It is valid for three years. In order to work at the PNE, I will have to wear a PNE pass that has my picture on it. It is valid for two weeks. Guess which one has the better picture? My picture on the PNE pass is so amazing that I'm going to post the scanned image up there for all you people out there. If anyone reading this thinks that they will see my GPEB tag anytime soon think again. The obvious security issues aside, the picture on my GPEB is just plain wrong.

Pretty good eh?

Yesterday I went shopping for my uniform. They don't have to give me a uniform because they completely sidestepped the issue by calling it a "dress code". Technically, I provide my own clothes as long as they conform to the (ridiculously strict) dress code. If it's a uniform then the employer has to provide and maintain it. Bah Humbug. I met Amy at Metrotown so that we could but stuff together. Amy's the one with the professor husband who is currently working as a labourer. I learnt yesterday that she's a teacher herself. I really like shopping with Amy. Both our budgets are really small so we could bargain hunt unabashedly. The added bonus is that spending time with her is improving my Mandarin by leaps and bounds.

I'm very proud of the shopping that I did yesterday. All the shops right now are scrambling to get rid of summer merchandise because the fall collection is coming in. Which means that you can drive a bargain. I spent less than $100 yesterday for stuff that would've cost $300+. I got a really nice skirt for free too, that has absolutely nothing to do with my working clothes. The only thing that I have yet to buy is a bow-tie. That's the piece of clothing that I'm the most upset about having to buy. For one thing all the other casino locations provide their employees with bow ties. This means that regardless of where I will be posted after the PNE I will have absolutely no use for the bow tie. Where am I going to wear it to?! The good thing is that Moore's gives us discounts for being GCC employees, which means that I can get a bow tie for $9.99+10% off. Nonetheless I still don't think I should have to buy one at all.

Tonight I will have my first shift on the job. I'm psyched and nervous, all at once. Adrian (the guy who owns Canadian Gaming Institute) said that everyone will be nervous first shift. After the first hand we will feel better and after the first hour we will find our groove. I just hope that he's right!

Final Note: Rick didn't quit. He resigned. With two days left to go till the end of the course, I have no idea why he would. He should've just stuck it out, gotten the certificate and then quit. I mean he really didn't need this job, he had savings and pensions and everything. The certificate framed on his wall would've made an interesting conversation piece at the very least.

posted by Joie! at 11:22 a.m.


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