Marquis de Sade Software ("We Put a Touch of Sadism in Gambling") recently opened its own on line casino, and its founder, Clyde Hockleberry, invited me to spend a day at its Customer Support Department.
"You would think that people who select a site called 'The Sadist's Casino' would know they are going to be tortured," Clyde said, "but apparently some idiots actually expect to be treated fairly here -- and that's where Customer Support comes in."
"You mean that Customer Service reverses the unfair policies of the Operations Department?" I asked.
"Don't be ridiculous," said Clyde. "Customer Service just makes certain that people understand that they haven't got a chance at The Sadist's Casino.
A phone rang and I started to pick it up.
"What are you doing?" asked Clyde. "That phone has only rung 4 times. We never answer the phone until at least the 15th ring."
With a look of expectant glee on his face, Clyde waited until sufficient time had passed and then answered.
"Customer Support. How can we disappoint you? Hmmm. Yes. I understand. You were playing blackjack and the dealer got 21 sixteen times in a row and then pulled a 19 -- and you think there is a problem. Well, you are right. There is no way that you the dealer should have gotten a 19 until at least the 30th deal. We will have to look into it."
He slammed down the phone and turned to me, "Actually, I blame the Customer Support people at casinos like Mapau and King Tut's. Those wimps have really spoiled the suckers. Now they feel they have the right to complain when we mistreat them."
The phone rang again and after waiting the required period, Clyde picked it up.
"What would I care that your winnings haven't be sent to you?" Clyde asked in amazement. "That's not my problem. That's YOUR problem. Do I call you and complain when my foot is hurting?"
"You have a bad foot?" I asked him.
"Yes," Clyde said, "it is an old injury -- I got it kicking a customer who dared show up in person to ask for his money."
When Clyde picked up the phone a third time and heard who it was, a frown immediately covered his face.
"It's one of those no-good bleeding heart do-gooder reporters, he whispered to me. "She's trying to ruin all the fun by keeping us honest."
"Nancy, Sweetie, BABY," he said into the telephone. "It's always great to hear from you. How can I help you?...Wait. I will check on the account...Ah, yes, here it is. Frank Ferndoc of Hannibal, Missouri. I am sorry to tell you that Ferndoc is a crook and that is why we are not paying him. Yes, I know that he deposited $1000 and won another $2000. I remember that day well. Our software was all screwed up and giving customers the blackjack hands that were supposed to be reserved for the dealer. It was a catastrophe. But that is not the reason we didn't pay Ferndoc. We stopped all payments to him because he wasn't playing legally. You see, it is not legal to gamble on line in Missouri.
"We have taken past complaints about us to heart and now we are strictly honest. That means we don't break Missouri state law. Of course, 'gambling' means that you have a chance to win or to lose. By not paying, we make certain that people there have no chance of winning at all. That way they are not gambling. We have even named our new honesty policy after you -- we call it the 'Nancy Rule.'"
He turned to me and I saw that a big smile had replaced the frown.
"THAT should keep her furious for a few days," he laughed.
"Do you have trouble with all the gambling sites?" I asked.
"Not so much with the sites themselves," Clyde answered. "It is all the creeps who write in complaining about how we treat them which bothers me. I don't know which annoys me most -- those who don't give me the courtesy of trying to fix their problems before they go public with them or those who waste my time by making me turn them down and then post their letters.
"But the sites themselves are fine," he continued. "Of course, there are some we like more than others. 'Gambling.com' is sort of neutral but I don't like the idea of 'Gambling Community' -- it is frightening to think of a whole community of gamblers out there comparing notes about us. 'Got2Bet' is wonderful! I love the notion of people who have got to bet, but 'Lucky Gambler' is a horrible idea. The Sadist's Casino is dedicated to making certain that there is no such thing as a lucky gambler."
"How do you get along with the other casinos?" I asked him.
"We have used to have great relations with a few of them," Clyde said. "They had policies very similar to ours. Unfortunately, most have gone out of business. I can't figure out why. The others complain about us and say that we are giving the industry a bad name. That's ridiculous! What is bad about the name 'Sadist'"?
The phone rang again.
"The Sadist's Casino, chief Sadist talking. You say that you were playing and that you hit a jackpot on our slots but it didn't pay off? How do I know you are telling me the truth? I have the feeling that you are one of those guys who call up all the casinos when they lose and try to trick their way into some money. Yeah, I know all about cheats like you! Why should I trust you? So forget about getting paid -- you're not going to rip me off. But look, now that I have you on the phone, Your Holiness, I was wondering if we could work out some arrangement where The Sadist Casino can offer Absolution as a sign on bonus..."