Dinner and Bingo
Dear Aunt Bingo:
I need your advice on how to get friends and family to go with me to Bingo.
Of course, I love playing Bingo and have for many years, and already have a handful of people I sometimes go with. But I know a bunch more people who I think would get a kick out of it if they just went one time.
The thing is, the people I would ask are not couch potato homebodies, but folks who like to go out and do things. Movies, dining out, sports games, shopping—they are always out and about doing something. I just can’t seem to get them past their bias that Bingo is boring and just for old people. It is so frustrating!
Do you have any tips I can try to nudge these guys into going to Bingo with me just to see if they actually might enjoy it? Thank you.
My first thought is to combine a Bingo outing with an activity you know they will enjoy, such as dining out. Pick a restaurant near a Bingo hall, invite them to an early dinner and suggest you tag on a trip to Bingo afterward. You can suggest dinner and Bingo at the start or wait until you’re at the restaurant having a nice time and propose a trip to Bingo then. (Big smile: “C’mon, it’ll be fun, and it’s just up the street!”)
Another trick might be to link it to a special occasion—your birthday, an anniversary, etc.—and get them to ask you what you would like to do for your special day. You can soften the blow by again making it a combo outing like dinner and Bingo or a movie and Bingo. The important thing is that it would be hard for them to say no to the birthday girl.
Even if you do get them into the Bingo hall, there’s no guarantee that they will enjoy themselves, and you should be prepared for them to roll their eyes and groan “Never again.”
But on the upside, you will finally know once and for all if they are “Bingo people” or not. And who knows? They may just fall in love with it! —Aunt Bingo
Dear Aunt Bingo,
I read in your column a while ago about a player who had trouble with not being able to sit at a table because of seat saving. It seems to me that Bingo halls universally should declare once and for all that seat saving is not allowed, or at least create some sort of official policy about the practice.
At the hall I go to the most often, seat saving is still done. Seats are saved by putting purses, jackets, daubers or other personal items on tables and chairs.
But… this is only permitted so long as there are multiple empty seats available elsewhere in the hall. Once the hall begins getting crowded, if there are still blocks of unclaimed saved seats, the Bingo manager announces the end of seat saving and all remaining saved seats become available.
There are exceptions. For example, workers at the hall who become players once the Bingo session begins are permitted to reserve seats. But technically that is not seat saving because they buy their Bingo paper and put it at the table where they will be playing.
Even with this system, there are occasional arguments from players who save seats for friends who end up arriving late. Luckily, the manager doesn’t put up with it and steps in when trouble begins.
Elizabeth J., New York
Enforcing such hall rules as seat saving is a great example of just how challenging it is to be a Bingo hall manager. He or she is juggling 101 different things while Bingo is in session, and the last thing they want to deal with is two senior citizens bickering over a folding chair.
A zero seat-saving policy may be a bit extreme, but limitations like the ones you describe are smart management. I would add to that limiting the number of seats a person can save, to end this trend of reserving entire tables.
By far, the best idea is ending all seat saving at a pre-set time before Bingo begins, so that the responsibility for filling those seats is left to the clock. Miss the deadline and you’re out of luck. —Aunt Bingo
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, WA 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.
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