As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, this week is the Photoshop World convention in Las Vegas and I’m here for a week of fun and learning! But after only a few hours in town, I’ve already got a whopper of a story to tell! Screw the whole “what happens in Vegas…” crap.
So Photoshop World is at the Mandalay Bay and thousands of photographers will be converging there from all over the world. In fact they’re sold out. So I had to stay next door at Luxor.
Well, I checked in and dropped off my stuff in my room, then grabbed my camera to go walk and take some photos on the strip. Of course, the Excalibur is the first hotel on the way down the strip, and I’ve taken photos of it literally every time I’ve been in Las Vegas. But this time I took some photos OUTSIDE the hotel, and as I was going to walk through the hotel to get something to eat, a security guard stopped me before I could enter.
He wanted to know my name, where I was staying, and my room number! He told me it was because I was taking photos of the outside of the building! And claimed it was for “homeland security”.
As you might imaging, I thought this was absurd and appalling. But I figured, what the hell… if they don’t want my money!
By this time there were no fewer than 4 “security guards” right on top of me, attempting to intimidate me. Meanwhile, I’m trying to peacefully leave the property, but they keep harassing me. If that’s not bad enough, one little guy starts following me, and begins reading to me from a card!
Yep, you guessed it! He gave me a “do not trespass” and told me he’ll have me arrested if I come back on their property! :-)
Oh, I should mention that other people were of course taking photos of the hotel at the same time. As I’m sure millions of people have.
What I find most interesting is, how are they going to deal with the hoards of Photoshop attendees? I even tried explaining it to them, but they were not interested in listening. So, officially I’m never allowed in that property again because I took the following 13 photos of it from the outside while walking by! I figure that makes these the most dangerous and valuable photos on Earth!
Now, if there is any good news, it’s that when I got back to the Luxor in the evening I went down to the front desk to address the issue. After talking to the service manager, he called over the security manager. After talking to the security manager, he thought it was ridiculous and he called the Excalibur security manager (thanks for the help Kevin!). We both met the Exclibur manger in a neutral walkway that connects the two casinos.
After telling the story again, Excalibur’s security manager also couldn’t believe it. He was very apologetic and asked if I would come over and write a statement for him so that he could address it with the people on the other shift (thanks Michael!), which I did.
As of this moment, I’m still banned, and will not ever set foot in Excalibur, Luxor or Mandalay Bay after this trip. However, I’ve given them all of my information so we’ll see if they contact me as I’ve requested. I asked for a written apology that specifically states that I am NOT banned from the property. Otherwise I will not risk being thrown in jail.
I will tell you, it was one of the most insulting things ever in my life. Being treated like a bloody criminal for taking a few photos, which is standard practice for anyone in Vegas, simply sucks. That doesn’t take into account the anger, or all my wasted time trying to later resolve the matter. There is nothing they can do to make it up to me, so now I’m going to tell this story every chance I get to as many people as possible. And I think you should too!