This is a guest post by Author Jay Rankin. When it comes to Las Vegas there is little that Jay does not know – Simon

I was the doorman at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas for six years. One of the reasons I applied for the job was because I had heard being a doorman was the highest tipping job in the city. At the time, I had no idea what earning tips for a living was about.

During training we were told how to receive a gratuity without soliciting or offending a guest. I couldn’t understand why so much time was being devoted to this subject. The whole idea and concept of my taking a dollar from someone hadn’t really registered, but in time, I had come to realize how important the meaning of receiving tips was all about.

In the beginning, I had to learn all the ‘tricks’ of subtly getting people to dig in and hand me a gratuity. I needed to get a feel for this game, and it took some time. I learned a unique way of smiling while making eye contact. I trained myself to put on a show for the crowds. I would always use people in the crowd to make others laugh. I became good at using a slight of hand trick with a dollar between my fingers. I would yell, “thank you” showing that dollar so the crowd thought everyone was handing me a tip. Then they themselves would reach in their purses and pockets and the dollars would roll in. During the event and large show breaks, my own show of spinning and sliding would begin. I also learned every inch of the city so I could answer just about any question that was asked, and there were hundreds of questions a day. I became so seasoned, that I actually arranged agendas for many of the quests. My reward… $1, $5, $20, and even $100 bills and chips handed to me in appreciation of my service whether it was for opening a door, suggesting a restaurant, or arranging an evening at one of the brothels.

Through the years I found that guests from some countries tipped better than others, some conventions threw money around more than others, some holidays were better than others.

My world was about getting people to want to give me something back in appreciation of what I was basically giving them for free.

I realized that there were a lot of people not just from Vegas, but from all over the country, whose life-blood depended upon the tips they received. All the waiters, bartenders, waitresses, hairdressers, cab drivers, bell men, valets, limo drivers, and doormen from every town in America were buying food and paying their bills from the tips they received. Even the I.R.S. in the U.S. government enacted ‘tip compliance’ laws for all who received tips for a living. So I guess its official, that earning tips for a living is a bonifide career.

Jay Rankin

Update: Jay will be on our radio panel to discuss Crime In Vegas, Then And Now on Saturday Mar/6, the link is here – Simon

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