Bingo’s Great For Social Networking – Don’t You Forget It!

Anybody fancy poking me?

No I’m not being rude. I am just one of the millions of people who are being sucked in to the world of social networking! I must admit its a great way of meeting up with old friends and finding out what’s been going on in their lives.

“Why are you telling us all this-you should be talking about bingo you doofus” I hear you cry! Well bear with me and I shall get to the point of this blog:

One of the things you can do on these sites is join up to groups with like-minded people on a variety of subjects. For example, I am a member of the Kevin Smith (Clerks/Dogma/Chasing Amy director) fan club and have joined the groups ‘unlike 99.99% of the Facebook population, I was born in the 70’s’ and also ‘I secretly want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head group’ to name but a few!

Bingo does not escape this group craze. There are countless bingo groups on these websites with players, callers and staff members all putting in there opinions on this game. Here are just some of the genuine things that have been posted on a selection of these pages:

“Won f*k all on Saturday! what a performance as well! I was late, missed the first 5 numbers, managed to catch up after running through the bingo hall in a baywatch like fashion and began dabbing like I’ve never dabbed before!” – (as a caller I always find it funny seeing people rushing back in and trying to catch up!)

“Bingo is great stuff! I go almost every Sunday with my boyfriend lol 10 chances to win £1,000 why bluddy not!” – (I totally agree, love!)

“I’ve lost my dobber-my very first dobber 🙁 ” – (altogether now….AHHHHHHH)

(And check this one out:)

“Lol, two fat ladies, yep its 88. lol.

(This is) My local bingo, but still havent been. I love bingo. but wont go coz I just have an image of me walking threw(?) the door and the rest of the people being over 60 peeing themselves… Is it like that?” (So the stereotype of bingo still lives on… when will it ever go!?)

All of this is great: people talking and chatting about there great experiences down there local club. But there is another side you can see on these pages, and it’s not very rosy. If you read between the lines on a few of these groups; especially the ones that revolve around the staff at various clubs and companies, you will find an unhappy trend. One that ties in with some of the things that have been happening in bingo in the last few months. I’ll let a variety of these statements explain my meaning:

“Is it me or with all the staffing cut backs, loss of hours, ever decreasing morale, GM’s that look like they want to hang themselves and the changes all over the company are we… sailing on a sinking ship?”

“9 years service got me 4 weeks redundancy cos of my age, its magic”

“Towards the end of my time as part of the management team I felt like I was doing an extremely thankless task on behalf of the company, employing a dangerous vicious circle – cut back staff hours and p*ss staff off, they p*ss customers off because of their attitude, the good staff leave, customers don’t come back, so you have to cut back some more…”

Now, I have purposefully left out the clubs and group names in question because I don’t want to appear that I am victimising anybody or any one company. But the fact of the matter is it seems to me that there are a lot of unhappy bingo staff out there. Even discounting the ‘bitter ex-employee’ rants, the message is loud and clear: something is up in bingo clubs across the land.

If the industry is not careful the ‘annus horribulus’ of 2007 will bleed over into 2008. Double taxation, the smoking ban, club closures, dwindling players-things are bad I know! Staff are feeling low and feeling the pinch as bingo companies tighten the purse strings. But this ripple effect is apparent and it is beginning to impact at the most important level: the clubs, staff and the players themselves. I feel things are going to get worse before they get better if this is not realised and acted upon.

However we must ride out this storm. I am one of the strongest advocates of this great game and I say to all of you out there-bingo is one of the best pastimes there is: a friendly social atmosphere, cheap food and drink, and you could even win a million! I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else (unless the ‘oiling the ladies up’ at the Playboy mansion job is up for grabs!)

In the words of that great pop group D:Ream “Things can only get better!” and I shall leave all of you out there with some words of advice to turn those frowns upside down!

If you are a bingo player: support your local club; even if it means going without a fag for a couple of hours!

If you are a staff member: If you are getting frustrated talk to your superiors. They know how you feel and are in the same boat too!

And to the big wigs, whether you own one club or one hundred clubs: Keep your eye on the ball! Forget about the figures and the profit margins and keeping the share holders happy. Concentrate on the bingo and the players and you can’t go wrong in the long term!

Well that’s another rant over. Feel free to comment and I’ll see you next time in Brett’s Corner!

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