It was a sad day, Nov 1, (my anniversary, by the way) 2006 when the Stardust Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip closed its doors. On March 13, 2007, my old stomping ground, my oasis in the desert, was imploded to make room for Echelon Place, William Boyd’s answer to the new-age of Las Vegas ultra-resorts popping up along the Las Vegas Strip.
Completion date for Echelon Place was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but construction came to a halt in August 2008. Boyd Gaming announced in 2009 that construction will be suspended for 3-5 years. Apparently my generous contributions fell a bit short of the $4 billion dollar price tag.
I can’t help but gloat when I read about the economic issues facing Echelon. Call me crazy, but I much prefer a bit of history and familiarity compared to a fast-paced impersonal screwing from my casino. I liked the Stardust as it was. I liked being on a first name basis with many of the employees. I liked being catered to.
It was a gradual turn-around. A friend and I flew out for the millennium, and it was at that time that I began to notice changes. The employees were becoming anxious about the future. The maitre d at William B’s (probably the best restaurant in Vegas) came over at dinner and said good-bye. He was leaving after years of dedicated service, as were Wanda, Marie, Jorge, Linda, and Chris. Their disappointment was obvious, but they could see the writing on the wall. The personal treatment of employees, the camaraderie and dedication to service and comfort was fading, shoved aside by fierce competition and survival instincts.
Yeah, I get it. It’s all about the money, but just once I’d love to see someone, in a financial position to do so, as Boyd Gaming was (are you kidding me?!!) stand up and say “No, we’re not taking that road. We’re not interested in the ebb and flow of hit and runners. We depend on loyalty and we reward it. We might take a hit from time to time, but we believe in catering to those who have supported us throughout many years of success”. Just once…
I use the Stardust Resort and Casino purely as an example. I joke about the old “Stardump”, reflecting on the countless trips there, “Ralph’s”, my part in the million dollar stick-up, and the tower I adamantly claim I built with my losses. My life doesn’t revolve around whether Echelon Place is built or not. I could care less. What I am pointing to is the attitude of today, which reflects that bigger is always better and that loyalty is overrated.
A broader example of the danger of taking a wrecking ball to anything and everything that doesn’t sparkle with state of the art technology and design might be as simple as one phrase we all have used many times, regretfully. “Gee, I wish I hadn’t thrown that away.”
Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish had it right when they wrote the song “Stardust”.
“…the stardust of yesterday, the music of the years gone by.”
Source: Personal Experience