Last night, my third at the Rio, the safe in my room stopped working. I had returned from a late-night poker session and was putting my valuables away, but after unlocking the safe and inserting my wallet and other items, it wouldn’t lock. In fact, the numbers on the keypad did nothing and the display remained blank. It was too late to call for someone to come fix it, so I went to sleep, hoping that whatever was wrong with it would magically be repaired when I woke up.

It wasn’t, so I called the hotel operator to report the problem and she said, “I’ll transfer you to Safe Assistance. But first, is there anything else I can help you with?” What kind of question is that? I’m not sitting here in my room making a list of things. This is the thing I need dealt with right now, not some tangential issue like, “Oh, and I don’t like the color of the carpet.”

That’s what I was saying inside my head. Meanwhile, my mouth replied, “No, just someone to fix the safe, please.” She then transferred me to hold-hell. We’ve all been there, where you can’t speak to a human being, but are reminded every 30 seconds how important your call is. Oh, and by the way, it’s being monitored for customer service purposes.

No, it’s not. There’s no one monitoring every call. They might be recording it so they can use the audio later as justification for firing someone, but it’s like the surveillance cameras in the casino — it would be impossible for a human to watch everything that’s going on at every minute. Besides, if they were monitoring this call, they would have noticed that I stayed on hold for five minutes without anyone picking up.

The same thing happened to me yesterday afternoon. I tried to make a reservation for dinner at Martorano’s, the very good Italian place here. But when I called the Rio’s restaurant reservations number, I could not get through to a living, breathing person — despite my call being very important to them. While I was waiting, I used the Open Table app on my iPhone and reserved a table for four at Martorano’s in about 40 seconds.

Back to the safe story. Frustrated by my inability to reach a Safe Assistance Technician, I hung up and called the front desk. After another minute of recorded prompts about how much the Rio appreciated my call and how important I was — gee, this must be how high-rolling VIPs are treated! — a woman finally picked up. I explained my dilemma. She asked if the safe was open or still locked with my stuff inside. I told her I’d taken everything out and it was unlocked. She informed me that someone would come by some time later today to fix it, and I wouldn’t have to be in the room.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I have hidden my few valuables as if they were the Passover afikomen, and hope none of the children find it before the Safe Assistance Technician can effect repairs, which probably involves nothing more than putting in a new battery. I’m sure it won’t be long, because my business is so important to the Rio.