Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Want Some Bingo Tickets?
Twice in the last several weeks, I have volunteered my time at the local Bingo hall. In exchange for my time selling tickets, I received a discount on my daughter's volleyball team fee.
There were about sixty people in attendance and from 5:30 to 9 p.m., my job was to walk around the room and sell tickets for various games and raffles. Many of the people who were at my first session were also at the second session, several weeks apart. Apparently Bingo is quite entertaining to these folks.
The tickets were simple enough at first. Each ticket sold for a dollar. As I walked around the room, people would either ask, "I'd like some tickets" or they would motion for me to come over. What I wasn't aware of, was that each ticket had different strategies for winning. For example, a "B row" ticket had to turn up the numbers seven and eleven to win. "Treasure Island" required a two in the first number to win. Apparently this was explained while I was hanging up my coat and putting on my Bingo apron.
I quickly learned that I was missing some information the first time someone asked, "What's the numbers?" Since I had no clue what was being asked, I didn't understand the question and asked the person to repeat it, explaining that I was deaf. "What numbers am I looking for to win?" she grumbled. I had to quickly scramble to gather the information and figure out what I was supposed to know.
Bingo is serious business. A large amount of money is spent among just a few participants. Many of the regulars brought in colored Bingo bottles to stamp their cards with, often carried in a round Bingo bag with a slot for each bottle. One lady actually had a small bag on wheels. A few patrons display lucky charms to increase their luck. Some of the older folks brought in their dinner and read the newspaper in between games. One couple played cards while simultaneously stamping their Bingo cards-- talk about multi-tasking!
It was interesting dealing with so many different people. Most of time, selling the tickets went without incident as I was able to lipread the majority of the requests. If I didn't understand the amount, I would look at the amount of money being tossed over and then confirm the number of tickets verbally. There were a few people who automatically took me down a few IQ notches when I would explain that I was deaf and needed a question repeated. They would become impatient and avoid buying tickets from me. Others adapted by holding up their fingers to show the amount they wanted whenever I would come near. One guy seemed to feel sorry for me, he responded with a sad-looking "Oh..." when I explained that I was deaf.
And he probably bought more tickets than he wanted to.