Sylvia and I arrived in Las Vegas last night for the Keller Williams real estate convention. Neither of us has been to Las Vegas in our 15 years of marriage, and we have no other reason to come here since we don’t drink, gamble or smoke. Since our arrival, we have spent more time standing in massive lines and waiting than we have in over 20 years living in Austin. I’m not joking.
First, we waited for our luggage at the airport – over an hour at the carousel. We were grateful that our bag finally appeared. Then we waited about another hour in a long serpentine line for a cab ride to our hotel. I’m not a time/motion expert, but it doesn’t take an urban planning engineer to see that the method employed to get people out of the airport and into cabs is extremely inefficient in Las Vegas, or at least it was on this night. It would work well to herd cattle into the backs of trucks, but it’s not the best way to move large numbers of people into cabs.
By the time we got to our hotel, checked in and up to our room, it had been 6 hours since we left Austin, and we stunk like cigarette smoke from walking through the casino/lobby of the Excalibur Hotel. In addition to free cigarette stinch, the Excalibur priovides loud freeway noise and ocassional sirens at no extra charge. The good folks at Excalibur have also thoughtfully unburdened us from the responsibility of having to deal with a coffee pot in the morning, as there is not one in the room.
This morning, Sylvia waited 30 minutes in line for a cup of coffee and we waited an hour to get on a shuttle bus to the Mandalay Convention Center. Once there, we waited again more than an hour in a huge line of conventioneers checking in, getting our convention nametags and bags of stuff, then off to a 10:30 AM welcome session. After the morning welcome event, we waited another hour in a line to get our special red Keller Williams Sneakers, which are supposed to help our feet from getting tired on the hard tile surfaces of the convention center and to demonstrate our Keller Williams pride. After we put on our bright red new shoes, it was 12:30PM and we were hungry (having missed breakfast due to our unexpected time spent waiting in lines) but soon realized that all of the eating places had waits of over 1 hour or more – for lunch!
Walking was difficult without bumping into others. It much resembled exiting a large sports arena after a big game or a rock concert. We walked not in long strides, but in stutter-shuffling, cow-herd style. In addition to the 12,000 Keller Williams agents, there are 14,000 Veterinarians attending a convention at Mandalay. It’s a lot of people to say the least. There are no water fountains to be found, and smoking seems to be permitted everywhere. We really, really miss our beloved Austin Texas!!
We decided to walk back toward our hotel and look for food on the way. This was about a 2 mile indoor walk through an incredible maze starting at the Mandalay complex, through the Luxur Hotel (where we found a Quiznos and waited in line only about 25 minutes to order, then about another 10 minutes for an empty table to become available), and on through to the Excalibur. After the long walk with my new shoes, I have a fresh blister on the baby toe of my right foot. I’ll be switching back to my drab brown loafers for the rest of the time here. Sylvia’s shoes fit her much better though,
and they look really cool.
We are puzzled that Las Vegas, clearly a top convention destination, doesn’t have better food and water delivery systems for the masses. But now that we know what to expect, we can make adjustments and pack up snacks and water to carry with us between meals.
As we walked back we discussed ditching the convention altogether and flying to San Francisco for the remaining 3 days of our trip. Maybe we’re just not cut out for the Las Vegas convention scene, we thought. Maybe we’d benefit more from a romantic getaway instead of training to become cattle. Pragmatism wins out though and we’ve decided to stick it out. We have met some really nice people standing in all those lines, and the kick-off party tonight should be fun with a live band and new friends.
Tomorrow, we have a full slate of workshops and real estate classes to attend, which hopefully will help us to become better at helping our buyers and sellers, that being the entire reason we are here.
To be continued …