The best part of getting older is having more stories. A to Z – B is for Bingo

B is for Bingo

Now I worked in the Bingo industry for 20 years and have many stories, not all the stories will appear here, (I have 24 letters to cover).

Now I worked in 2 different bingo halls, (both the same company, just different towns), now both were very different (and only 8 miles apart). so i’m going to split my stories into some side headings. I must point out a bingo hall (if you have never been to one) is very different to what people expect or think they know. both the ones I worked in had seating for 1400 people + (and I have seen them full!) Imagine lots of seats, A stage, A full cafe, 2 bars, neon lights. It is more like a quite version of a bowling alley. Gone are the days of fold up chairs and a large tea urn.

Just to point out I will not be using real names of customers or staff.

Customers

Bingo Customers are some of the strangest people you may ever meet. We had 2 bars and normally at the bar you find a gap and wait to be served. Well not at the bingo. They queue!!! in lines!! its very odd.

As I have said we had over 1400 seats. I remember a chap came in to do a survey of the building, (it might have been for Fire Regulations I don’t really remember) I do know it was in the morning before we opened the doors (We opened at 11am and the first game was at 12:30pm but there would be a queue at 11). The doors opened and a little old lady came in. The place was empty but this chap had decided to find a spot to sit and finish his paperwork. This old dear walked straight up to him and told him to move as he was sat in her spot. 1400 seats what are the chances? well 1400 to 1 I guess.

When the bingo was about to start we used to play music so people would know the games were about to start. I remember a lady running past because the music was playing and she didn’t want to miss the first number. She was in her fifties and a customer I knew and liked. She was quite a large lady and as she ran past her pants fell! She was running through Book Sales (that’s where we sold the bingo books) with her trousers around her ankles. As I said she was quite large but had the smallest thong you have ever seen. (Well I couldn’t see it! It was hidden in a place I don’t want to talk about.) A work colleague was walking the other way and got a different view to me. He was only a young lad and got the shock of his life. She then sat at a chair near to us trying to mark off the numbers while also dragging her pants up.

People love bingo. I’ve seen fights, riots, and people ignore them because they want the bingo to continue. I remember an old bloke having (possibly I’m not a doctor) a heart attack, He collapsed from his chair, The caller asked for help over the mic. Now if anything happens we ask for the caller to continue calling as its stops panic. we arrived at this bloke and called an ambulance as you do. Because the bingo numbers had once again started to be called, his wife was to busy playing bingo to pay any attention to her husband being removed on a stretcher.

Bad People

Now Bingo isnt just about fun and games. I have had to deal with some pretty bad people to.

I got called to the fruit machine arcade. My friend had come to meet me after work so we could have a beer after work. I was picking up rubbish left around the club. and a customer who I knew very well came to me and said “Karl,they is a guy in the arcade having a wank” Now what would you do in this situation? I sent my friend to have a look and check all the ladies where ok. (Bingo is more women than men). The next day I checked all the cameras and yes he was!! He came (no pun intended) in ever Monday so We spoke in the Monday meeting and confirmed he needed barring. Now I was Duty Manager on a Monday (I hate situations like this). One of my fellow managers agreed that if he came in before she left she would tell him he was barred. Well, As she was finishing and stood in the foyar waiting for her lift he turned up. Now this Gentleman (I use that title loosely) was, well let me say not of english origin and it wasn’t his first language. I then had the honour of explaining why he couldn’t come in to the building. The problem is he didn’t understand fully, So I had to explain my graphiclie than I wanted to. I had to basically say, “no you can’t come in because the last life you was playing with yourself in front of other people” He then left. My work colleague was pissing her sides in the background.

Once a chap and his girlfriend (I presume) walked in the front door and came to the counter to ask is we could split a £20 in to two £10 notes. As the person behind the counter handed over the two £10 notes the chap grabbed the notes and ran away. (I must add keeping the £20) me and another member of staff started to chase him (and caught him) Gripping this pleasant (I use that phrase loosely) man we brought him back to the foyar to await the police. He then told us if we didn’t let him go he would bite us and that he was HIV + We didn’t let him go (and he didn’t bite anyone thankfully).

Staff

The staff at both bingo halls I worked have mostly be amazing, but some have not been.

When I first started I was a car park attendant, there was 3 of us that covered the full week, one of my colleagues really didn’t like working Sunday night as this was his usual night on the beer with his pals. We did not finish until 11pm, So one Sunday he decided to get a head start (he didn’t like turning up to meet his pals sober) So he brought a load of wine to work and proceeded to drink during his shift. As it came to the end of the evening this car park attendant had to go inside for the locking up procedure. Now he was very pissed by this time, and I don’t know how but managed to mess up the telephone system and call a Supervisor at home. The Supervisor not being able to get any sense hung up and rang back and the General manager answered (I’m not sure this car park attendant realised how to answer the phone at this point) Lets just say he wasn’t in work the next day or any after that.

Now I have many more stories from my bingo days and they will show up in the next 24 letters I’m sure

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A is for Alistair