the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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Casino carpets

This article about casino carpets being so ugly (via) gives an amusing insight into human nature. The article points to an exhibition of ugly carpets and ended off speculating why carpets are designed to be so ugly, with a not unreasonable suspicion that they're there to encourage gambling, much like the lack of windows and clocks. Fair enough, but then some bloke mailed in to say:

I have a friend who teaches at Cornell's famous School of Hotel Administration; she has a lot of casino designer contacts. According to her, the carpets are deliberately designed to obscure and camouflage gambling chips that have fallen onto the floor. The casinos sweep up a huge number of these every night. So the carpets are just another source of revenue.

Which is exactly the kind of explanation people delight in, because it affirms our belief that we're victims of greedy predators. As a fun experiment pick up a newspaper or visit the BBC website and see what proportion of articles are written in a way that is based on this premise.

Then along came someone to say no, it's actually an oft-repeated urban myth, and carpets are bright and intricate because they hide wear and tear. And as for the 'evul casinos scooping up dropped chips' argument, there was this comment:
I also asked one of my best friends, who works at the Wynn and went to school with me about it. She responded, "Trust me, if someone drops a chip and can't find it, they're not letting it go. They're coming to me demanding compensation."

I think it's altogether more plausible that most people in casinos count their chips very carefully, are likely to go to great lengths to find their chips if they drop them, and would scream blue murder if they think any have gone missing (due to theft or otherwise). Yet we're willing to believe that casino-goers are simpletons who can't hang onto their chips, because that fits in with our far-preferred sense of victimhood.

{2010.09.04 - 08:05}

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