Quoted from timarnold:
Tim here at the PHOF.
I understand more than anyone the frustration felt over games that are down, but you should keep in mind several factors working aginst us.
SHEER VOLUME-With e huge amount of traffic we have playing the machines 80 hours a week every week of the year, ANY kind of a quality standard is a very fasst MOVING TARGET that is hard for those who do not work 365 a year to understand. About half the people who offer advise say that we should close one day a week, or for a whole week and do nothing but get caught up. That's not how it works in retail. You have to be open when people want to arrive.
SURGE- Customer volume can change from peak to bottom by a factor of 3, often in as little as a day or 2 on holiday weeks. This makes it hard to control what gets fixed and in what order. I will admit to using a "dead games bank" system of failure management. WHen it gets busy, you let some EMs sit for a while and concentrate on newer more popular machines.
SIDESHOWS - While pinball has always been and always will be the BIG TENT in our circus, the side shows earn LOTS of money that we use to subsidise our beloved flipper machines. Selling soft drinks, candy, merch, and most importantly, CRANE MACHINES make it possible forr us to continue to offer a HUGE "value menu" of 25 cent pinball machines. These other offerings do take a considable amount of time. If we did away with the sideshows, you would have to pay 50-75-1.00 to play the older stuff. Be careful, you might get what you wish for.....
"But I would gladly pay more to play old machine!" BULLSHIT! Americans have always shopped on price, not on quality. The screams of pain would be endless and loud! By letting the punters pull the freight for the players, we can find a middle path that serves both.
DESIGN - These machines were only built, like everything else in our economy, to be as good as they need to be. "Five to ten, then buy it again!" is the manufactures mantra. To keep older stuff working past this point is a fools errend. It means constant frustration and disapointment, fixing the same problems over and over. Our "mantra" here at the PHOF is "If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!' We are the GODS THAT WALK THE EARTH because we get very close to doing the impossible every day.
COVID - Continues to hamper our efforts in a thousand ways each and every day. We can't get the things we need from the outside, and on the inside,the tourist economy we depend on for customer base is still below what it used to be.
LEGAL PROBLEMS - Of which I am limited by our advise of council NOT to discuss, only some of which if generally known, is a NIGHTMARE! I just wrote a $80,000 dollar check to our legal team yesterday to cover the cost of a 3 day trial of a matter only our close advisors even know about. COnstant meetings, zoom calls, angry picket lines on our sidewalk... the headaches are endless and draining. "There are too many broken games!" comes the cry from the pinball community. All I can offer in reply is the sound of TINY TINY VIOLINS.....
LACK OF CRUCIAL SKILLS - Not to sound like an old man here, but kids (Anyone younger than me) do not have mechanical and logical skills needed to analise and solve complex problems. Gone are the culture of kids taking apart and tinkering with stuff which wires your brain on how to work thru a problem. Now the solution to every broken gizmo is to throw it away and BUY A NEW ONE! Forget about communicating.Speaking in complete sentances with out stammering or describing a problem with simple technical terms is not to be found. I can tell a newbie to go "Put a 45 degree bend about 5 MM up on a #6-32 machine screw." and they look at me like I'm from Mars!
MOTIVATION - Working outside the usual for-profit world is both a blessing and a curse. Our staff is very motivated to perform, but easily pulled away by the need to provide time and money for their own self interest.
TIM IS GONNA DO IT HIS WAY - This project would not have come as far as it has without a LOT of compromise, innovation and help FROM THE OUTSIDE. I go out of my every day to consider opinions and ideas from others. Sadly, at the end of the day, SOMEBODY has to make descions on things, and a lot of the time, that person is me. I fuck up a LOT, but please consider the alternitive, ANARCHY. I have seen many failures over the years of business because NOBODY was in charge. LVPCC is still mostly a "Timocrocy", but is moving towards a more active and involved Board of Dirrectors with more advise and ideas from the outside.
PLANNING - I have almost given up. It just doesn't work anymore. You get a plan and a direction, and a day later, you rip it up and start again. I am NOT giving up on our values or our mission, buit I am having to learn to just take things as they come a lot of the time. These are NOT predictable times.
PORANGE - Off topic for a second before I go, our longtime store mascot, POOR ORANGE has been retired . He has been moving slow, the other cats have been mean to him, so Sophie and her dad have taken him into their home where he will sit in the sun and stare off into space.
LUCK - In closing, I would like to point out the PHOF has had a lot of LUCK! Things have gone South in a lot of ways, but a loads of stuff has gone very well, without us doing anything! Every day is an ADVENTURE, every customer is a FOOL!, and who knows what will happen NEXT!