Monday, April 26, 2010

Dear MGM,

The following is a letter I drafted to the MGM. I think it pretty much speaks for itself...

To whom it may concern-

My name is (omitted) and I have been a cab driver in Las Vegas for 6 years. I had mentioned previously on my twitter page ( and on my blog ( that I was actively boycotting your property and a number of my readers inquired as to why that was. Upon this inquiry it occurred to me that in the interest of fairness perhaps I should inform you, the powers that be at The MGM Grand, of my issues as well so that you may have an opportunity to address them. That is the purpose of this letter.

As you can probably guess, my issue concerns the doormen at your property. It has been my experience that the group of individuals in charge of assisting your guests requesting taxi service are amongst the most unprofessional, disrespectful and dishonest individuals that I have ever worked with. …And I’m a cab driver.

It’s baffling that a major resort such as yours wouldn’t concern itself with its employees using guests as pawns in their side-money game. The number of acts that I continuously witnessed included-
-Counting money in plain view
-The unnecessary accosting, slander and disrespect of cab drivers
-Accepting tips from limousine drivers thus creating an incentive to illegally divert taxi seeking patrons into limos
-Purposely misleading guests in regards to the actual costs of a taxi
-Purposely slowing down long lines (show-break) of taxi seeking guests
-Allowing limo drivers to “work” the line of taxi seeking guests
-Questioning of every guests as to their destination only as a means of extracting taxi seeking guests wishing to be transported to gentlemen’s clubs and diverting them into limousines- culminating with the limo driver splitting the proceeds from the club referral fee with the doorman.

Most of the above exists strictly as a means to perpetuate the diversion of taxi seeking customers into limousines in exchange for money. These practices are as undesirable as they are illegal and without question not consistent with any form of genuine hospitality. It’s hard to believe that any guest of your hotel would feel welcomed and well served while being subjugated by your employees in this manner. Undoubtedly, this is the type of “customer service” one keeps in mind when choosing where to stay when visiting our City in the future.

I began my boycott almost 5 months ago and I have not picked up a passenger from your property since. On multiple occasions since then, I have been approached by a doorman on behalf of a guest at your hotel requesting my services as a cab and I refuse every time. Considering the past, it would be wrong for me to expect you to take any real action to remedy this problem. However in not doing so, it would be wrong for you to expect me to have anything positive to say about your property. Or to make any recommendation of it whatsoever.

When somebody asks me what my favorite property in town is you don‘t really think I‘m going to say The MGM Grand do you? When somebody asks me to recommend a hotel do you think I say The MGM? When somebody asks me where I like to stay do you think I say The MGM? When somebody asks me what the best show in town is do you think I tell them about one that plays at The MGM? When somebody asks me what the best restaurant in town is do you think I tell them about a place at The MGM? When somebody asks me what the best nightlife spot is do you think I tell them about a place at The MGM? When somebody asks me what’s the best casino to gamble at do you think I tell them The MGM? Of course I don’t.

Conversely, when someone asks me what my least favorite hotel is, I tell them The MGM Grand. When somebody asks me what’s the most overrated hotel in town, I tell them The MGM. When somebody asks me what casino has the worst odds and will take all of their money, I tell them The MGM.

Believe it or not a vast number of Las Vegas visitors, and for that matter my readers, depend on their cab driver for information and undoubtedly many follow our advice. If this is not a concern for you then by all means, continue doing what you’re doing.

Your reply is appreciated and will be posted in response to this inquiry.



In a related note, my boycott has already gotten media attention!

As luck would have it, after dropping off at the Monte Carlo one night a couple of weeks ago I decided to dead head over to THE Hotel. I think a concert or something was letting out. When I arrived, there were quite a few people waiting and no cabs. But for some reason I parked on the stand and got out. I think maybe I threw something away maybe. I don't know. But as I was getting back in my cab a dude walks up to me and introduces himself as Doug Elfman, who I knew to be a prominent local reporter for the RJ.

Doug asked me for an interview as he was doing a piece on how the IRS is going to start tracking club payouts. I allowed him to do his thing and I answered his questions and believe he was relieved by my willingness to articulate the cabbies point of view. Then I took it further and offered him some things he hadn't thought of which included my current bout with the MGM and how that connected to his story.

Mr. Elfman, being the quality reporter that he is, took my ideas and ran with them and turned out what I believe to be a completely awesome and factual piece.

You can read that here:IRS targets strip clubs, taxis over bonuses


aburtch said...

One person does have the power to change things! Nice work.

Notorono said...

Eloquent and beautiful prose as always, I whole heartedly advocate your boycott of the MGM. Kindly consider me as a new recruit for the cause, I too will now be boycotting the MGM.

Anonymous said...

If you felt the MGM indeed had the best show, best rooms, best gambling, would you lie to your customers because of your gripe with the doormen?

If so, are you not also providing inferior service to your customers?

Christina RN LMT said...

Excellent, as always, Andy! Strangely enough, I don't miss Vegas one bit. :D

MrFunkMD said...

That's an interesting question anony @ 11:37

I think that calling what you've described as "inferior service" is a bit of a stretch. We're talking about something that is completely subjective after all. Thankfully the point is moot because in all honestly the MGM does not have the best of anything.

Nevertheless to entertain your question- if I did believe the MGM to have the best of something, would I reiterate that to the public?

To my family, friends or customers who I liked, I would tell them the best place no matter what. I want them to have the best time. The other 99% of the regular customers, no fucking way. Especially when there are a plethora of quality alternatives. My recommendation has value and it's a privilege. The only time I consider this inferior service is if we are void of quality options.

If I took you to a place that sucked, just to spite the MGM,... that's where the line is I think.

Vestige said...


Anonymous said...

I have never been to Vegas but it is always cool to get some of the inside information! Thats some pretty good cash these guys are making...

Angela said...

I enjoy your blog so much, and this post was great! I've been to Vegas several times, and cab drivers are the true convention and visitors bureau for me. What my driver says goes. The way a property treats you is the same way they'll treat me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So were you the driver who said he would take a customer to the highest paying strip club?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Las Vegas Courtesan said...

Even as a girl in a completely different line of work... I even have my own inner boycott of the MGM. I do not agree with their constant harassment of patrons who they assume are working girls but in fact, are not... I see this as a blanket stereotype the MGM Grand has on girls who decide to go out on their own but have no ulterior motives. Even as a girl meeting my friends at a club or for dinner, I feel the eye of security walking around. I have even had as many as 4 security men watching me as I got a coffee at Starbucks before a show. I have never been 86'ed from the MGM Grand by the way so I have no past with them.

I've heard way too many stories from that hotel that was caused by security, valet, hosts, and concierges so that I just never step foot in there. People ask me about the clubs to which I tell them they are has-beens, clients ask me about rooms and I tell them they aren't worth the price (they really aren't), and any one who asks me where they should stay I pretty much point them to anywhere but the MGM Grand (and Palazzo/Venetian). They ask me why and I tell them how the price isn't worth it and neither is the hassle if they want to see me.

Anonymous said...

All this from a man who is in a field not known for their own ethical standards or high morals.. Long Hauling, taking the long route and my favorite, "Oh, there's a wreck on the back road, so I need to use the (clogged) strip to get you there."

sevencard2003 said...

i was banned at the mirage years ago for looking for money in the machines, but thats not why i was thrown out of the mgm itself. they checked me one day, and seen id been 86ed from the mgm prior. why? because a hooker ripped me off of $100, (stole it instead of hanging out with me at the poker table) and tried to walk out the door. i tried to stop her, and she seemed to know the bellman, she handed him what looked like a tip, and got into a cab, and he told security that i was "harrassing a female guest" i told security what really happened, and he took the bellmans word over mine, and said the camera showed i was trying to grab her coat. and who knows, they may have known about the old mirage 86 also, but they didnt mention that to me. so yeah a few years later the poker room checked with security when they thought i looked familiar, and yeah i got thrown out again because of the hooker/bellman incident.

i hate their hookers and bellmen.

Anonymous said...

Its too bad that MGM resorts owns half the Strip.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not you are talking about a minority of cab drivers. The majority of cab drivers ae honest. Probably a safe bet you've never even taken a cab in Las Vegas.

Unknown said...

Excellent, as always, Andy! Strangely enough, I don't miss Vegas one bit. :D

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