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Author Topic: Another AP Atrocity - Diane C let go  (Read 2163 times)
Chris Szulc
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« on: November 23, 2012, 10:38:14 PM »

Ever since the contract negotiations at the beginning of this year's meet and the decline in service towards horsemen, horseplayers, and fans, I've developed a bitter taste for AP. No, this isn't just another bashing AP thread and believe me I have problems with HAW that I brought up here before.

Anyway, it looks like it only gets worse. AP Management decided to wait til a few months into the off-season to fire Diane Collopy, the Customer Service Rep for the Season Boxholders at AP, and notify us rather quietly. I was a season boxholder for this year and last year and she was the absolute BEST at helping us out, being an intermediary between the awful Levy foodservice, helping horsemen with extra boxes, etc.. Even if you weren't a season boxholder, and you've sat upstairs you've probably dealt with her or at least seen her. Extremely helpful always in making sure our needs and desires were met and I know she contributed a lot to AP by way of sales and customer retention, being there since 2004.

Just extremely sad to see a long-time employee go in the interest of saving a few bucks. Petrillo ghastly attributed the lay off to the fact they are going to lose "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in dark-time revenue with the IRB date changes. We pay $3-4,000 each for the box and tickets (and there are 140~ boxholders =$500k in revenue that she was directly responsible for), and now the position is being "combined with another" which anyway as we all know means less service. For this and other reasons I will not be renewing next year, and I know of a handful of others that will not either.

Anyway, in addition to wanting to shed light on this, I also wanted to see if anyone knew of any customer service positions inside or out of the racing industry that she may bring her 30+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to. Please let me know and I can pass along her email and resume.

Thanks,

Chris

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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 11:54:02 PM »

Sure an awful lot of fallout from the one mean-minded and vindictive act of excluding the Illinois Derby from the KY Derby prep schedule. But, gotta keep up those dividends for the corporation's biggest stockholder who's desperately short of wealth as it is, even if it does mean short-changing the actual "good customers" who still bother to show up live and in person at your facility. 
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 12:15:43 AM »

It really doesn't surprise me at all!

Some people just don't get it- you are only as good as your people.
They think you can replace A with B & nothing will change.
Just the short sighted attitude that permeates the corporate Arlington Park..

Keep raising those insane food prices.. $5.00 for a slice of crap thin crust burnt pizza.
Keep taking away all the perks from the ARC
Keep scaling back on customer service..but keep Howard Tudberry & has 6 figure salary for doing what?HuhHuhHuh
Keep giving us crappy 6 horse races & ever shrinking field size

The object is to get people IN the facility not to force them away- & AP seems to be doing a great job of that thumbs down thumbs down

Next we are going to find out that AP has got rid of Jessica & replaced her with Arli the mascot.

AP happens to be the nicest racing facility I have ever been to but it is starting to smell like rotten  cheese cheese
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 12:21:50 AM »

The object is to get people IN the facility not to force them away- & AP seems to be doing a great job of that thumbs down thumbs down

It's not just AP. Every racetrack these days is making it more attractive for existing horseplayers to stay home and play online. I think they want us all out to make room on the main floors and in the parking lot for the oldsters on oxygen gambling away their SS checks. Sure seems to be a lot more money in it for them.
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 12:28:30 AM »

It amazes me..

In my business, you better believe I am calling my best customers & those that buy from me every season if just to say thank you...Maybe to see if there is anything I can do to improve customer service etc...

It seems like these tracks are so oblivious to the real world & the massive choice of gambling options for us players......

ARC members used to get free preferred parking- a nice little perk to get the daily horse players a little closer...not anymore no more free parking
Taking into account that this lot is wide open almost everyday sans fathers day, mothers day, 4th of july, arl million


As Judge Smails said.."Youll get nothing & like it!"
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jimk
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 06:53:51 AM »

And don't forget the surcharge if you want to bring in an order of egg-rolls next summer.
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 07:00:22 AM »

Diane was great but to be fair, we got our first email from her that the position was being eliminated a few weeks ago.  From what I could see on the website, they want the person in the new position to aggressively sell those boxes to the business community.  I'm not going to say the CDI is wrong for wanting to sell the boxes to corporations, but I'll be gone if they think they can drastically increase pricing on current box holders - whether it's in the form of food or lease prices.
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 10:54:06 AM »

they need to install dirt to be taken seriously as a nationwide track. they have 1 race a year, the million on 1 day the card is first class...
so does pimlico...pimilico has 1 meet that doesn't even run a month.

DD may have had his day, he made a spetacular claim to working together in 1985 with the miracle million, but is diverted into thining that slot machines and the same old same old will get him into the 21st century.

he surrounds himself today with the same old folks that made the track what it was in 1985, and they need to get past that now. i dont know diane, but i do think that they track needs a new set of people who can make the track a nationwide destination as part of a tourist stop, its a remarkable structure that almost hides among the horizon with its back to the tollway, if you didn't know it was there, you would not look for it. dirt track, lights. more advertising locally to the 13 nillion people in the 3 counties, and a lot less of a expectation of excessive profits and winning the pick 6 with the stock price.
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TheRedMile
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 11:56:48 AM »

this is a little off topic but still has to do with the way ap has operated since dd took over
others have praised him and even given him awards for rebuilding ap after the fire but i disagree with the praise
from the very moment he took over imo the customer service has either been bad or overpriced for the product received.if you were a twin spires member you had to use more points for anything in il vs in or ky
yrs ago in the face of low attendance what did he do ? elimanated grandstand admission and raised prices to clubhouse prices and added a usesless program which had zero pps in them
yes arlington is a beautiful building but try charging admission on an off day and see how many people line up to pay to look at the inside of the building.
add in all the surcharges that were added to help ap rebuild and we receive this in return
the turf course is world class but with the addition of the poly the track has become maybe a 3rd rate racing program at best in many eyes
thats too bad as we always made 2-3 trips at least a week (100 mile rountrip)going back to the old bulding
i love live racing especially with large crowds but ap is not worth the time and effort anymore even on million day   
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 12:35:32 PM »

     Which is why I haven't been there in two years.  Oh, I miss going to the races live, but I don't miss being taken advantage of.  I can sit at home and pass Arlington's races on my computer.  It is my belief that no racetrack should receive slots, especially Arlington.  There are too many tracks and not enough horses.  Illinois continues to be a second citizen when it comes to horseracing. Arlington continues to diappoint.
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2012, 06:58:54 PM »

dirt track = better product = maiking the PEOPLE happy.

i truely believe at one point in time he wanted to make a difference and make the people happy, it doesn't seem to be his interest now, and will not be his legacy.

get rid of the crap, get better horses, and a better crowds and a happier customer base. they keep shoving that 3rd rate formless pollycrap bullshit at us , and it just doesn't play anymore, I haven't been there in a couple of years, million day is too crowded , and the rest of the graded dirt races don't attract any national horses worth going out there to see, they get grade 3 pollytrack ponies, no one has heard of. The last dirt older horse besides giant oak worth seeing there was perfect drift. the only day they get animals you want to gawlk at is million day...pimlico has the preakness card.
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Chris Szulc
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2012, 07:19:12 PM »

Diane was great but to be fair, we got our first email from her that the position was being eliminated a few weeks ago.  From what I could see on the website, they want the person in the new position to aggressively sell those boxes to the business community.  

Understand that a bit that as a business they need to increase sales, but they also need to balance that and customer retention. After all, it is far cheaper in nearly all businesses to retain business rather than search for new clients. I know firsthand of many box holders fed up with management and the Levy food service, and this could be the last straw for them. So there goes keeping your current clientele happy. Bet prices go up next year too...
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2012, 11:35:06 PM »

BTW

last year they actually started charging sales tax on food purchases head shake head shake

The $4.50 order of fries  was now like $4.83.
The $4.00 bottle of water was like $4.33...I left my food at the counter & walked away.


CHARGING SALES TAX ON OVER PRICED FOOD!!!! ONLY ARLINGTON COULD EVEN COME UP WITH THAT censor

It would be like going to a Sox or Cubs game & paying sales tax on the already overpriced food......that is supposed to be built into the price not added at the register...

what a joke
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pamwaggy
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2012, 11:42:11 PM »

This is just an OTB but here is an example what we have here in California.  

Today we got a flyer saying:  "We will be open for racing on DEC. 21st thru the 23rd from 12:00 to 7:30 Tentavily.

Then there is a long worded sign on the "Winner's Circle" door that has these errors.  "eligible," "ledgable" and "consulation."

I know this is just a small concern but come on!  If you haven't been through fifth grade, how can you run an OTB?
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2012, 08:31:24 AM »

Personally, I love dirt but I'd bet that if you went out on the biggest day at AP and polled every person in the place, maybe 10% would know that that thing that isn't grass, also is not dirt.   Changing to dirt might help attract a very small number of players to AP but it would not save AP.

AP needs the casino money and/or a corporate plan to infuse money that would raise purses and attract better horses.  You would also see the service level going up and the prices coming down.  The horseplayers would have to put up with the casino people but as long as granny doesn't get in my way, I refuse to intentionally run her down with my car (accidents do happen).   People like Diane would then be well paid employees of a well run track.

This isn't the 1930s anymore, there are far too many sports and gaming interests to attract the public to dole out their money and potentially lose enough to support racing.    A business is a business no matter what we all think, it's DDs business and he can support it for fun at his cost or choose to turn it over to developers who will turn it into condos and a strip mall with Gameworks, a few hot restaurant chains and the usual crap you find at those places.  I'm tempted to say that Arlington International has outgrown Arlington Park.   When I was a lad, AP was rural, overgrown lawns and trees, you felt like you were in the country, now you could be in Los Angeles California for all you knew.   Maybe that would another option, move AP out further Northwest or somewhere civilzation has yet to hit.   If we ever get a bullet train, make it way out where it's an event to get there for the family.  The real horsemen will show up to watch them the others will bet from home.
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2012, 09:19:59 AM »

Personally, I love dirt but I'd bet that if you went out on the biggest day at AP and polled every person in the place, maybe 10% would know that that thing that isn't grass, also is not dirt.   Changing to dirt might help attract a very small number of players to AP but it would not save AP.

Mr. D closed his track for lack of profits when it DID have a dirt track.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2012, 09:37:43 AM »

Terry - Do you seriously think that AP is a huge profit center?    If so, you are great at researching that kind of info, please let me see the numbers.  

I admit I am not close to this kind of information but my impression is that Mr. D does it more for the love of horses and a little for the prestige.  I would guess that profits from AP are far lower on his priority list.
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2012, 09:38:55 AM »

i think thats the point, he has surrounded himslef with this friends and longtime cohorts, which is fine, but perhaps it is time to find a younger group that can market to the new generation. the next generation (18-35) is quite different from his, (65-75) not better or worse, different in how they do things, electronice control their entire schedules.

if dd can't make money in a community of 3 counties and 13 million people that supports a pro football team 2 baseball teams, basketball ,and hockey..its a MAJOR sports market , one of the biggest in the world, i put forth it s the management of AP that are the issue , not the market the track sits in. can he be of consul and make a big check just to answer questions once ina while ?...at some point this has to happen, or is he sacrificing everything to get the dividends out ansd the mazimun stock price, so he can get the casino, and then cash out ?, without a  real management succession paln ?
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2012, 09:40:15 AM »

Dirt/Poly has nothing to do with it, the best horses, riders and trainers always follow the purse money.
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2012, 09:50:00 AM »

if dd can't make money in a community of 3 counties and 13 million people that supports a pro football team 2 baseball teams, basketball ,and hockey..its a MAJOR sports market , one of the biggest in the world,

I won't disagree that someone new is needed to infuse new blood into racing but I think it unfair to compare Arlington to other sports.   Where is your Nascar racing in Illinois and what kind of beautiful race track do they have?   How many people do you envision wearing Arlington Park jerseys?  That ain't going to happen.   Even the White Sox struggle to attract crowds when they are winning and close to the playoffs.   I was at the Cell for that makeup game against Detroit and half the stadium was empty.   It is not as simple as you would make it.
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2012, 09:57:14 AM »

35th and the dan ryan is not willow road and and route 53..

its a different kind of neighborhood , with a different kind of client.

if you market spending 100 bucks at wrigley filed, and 20 bucks to park, to spending 100 bucks at AP , free parking, and the potential to go home with 1000 dollars to that group of north side implant dreamers from every nook and cranny in the midwest that call that overfilled shot glass of an area home, you can't not nake money.

going to AP is a dam fun time when the horses are world class and the RACING is fair...pollytrack is a lot like corn syrup and the coca cola drink, its sorta tastes the same without the real ingredients it once had, but its not really the same thing.
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2012, 11:09:35 AM »

I always thought Diane was very thoughtful and helpful.  She had a tough job, some people will never be happy and love to complain.  If they are planning to make this more of a marketing position, they'll go young and cute like most companies do today.  I read of one place that only hires former college cheerleaders for their outside sales.
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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2012, 11:45:30 AM »

Terry - Do you seriously think that AP is a huge profit center?    If so, you are great at researching that kind of info, please let me see the numbers.  

I'm only going on what he said when he closed the place. Losing money, can't make money, blah blah.
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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2012, 11:51:46 AM »

if you market spending 100 bucks at wrigley filed, and 20 bucks to park, to spending 100 bucks at AP , free parking, and the potential to go home with 1000 dollars to that group of north side implant dreamers from every nook and cranny in the midwest that call that overfilled shot glass of an area home, you can't not nake money.

And that would be why Cubs games sell out (at the beginning of the season, pre-stinkola), it is hard to get Cubs season tickets, and there's usually always a big crowd down there on game day when the weather is nice, versus what AP gets. Because this just sells itself.

Quote
going to AP is a dam fun time when the horses are world class and the RACING is fair...pollytrack is a lot like corn syrup and the coca cola drink, its sorta tastes the same without the real ingredients it once had, but its not really the same thing.

And as proof, dirt is what makes the meets at Keeneland and Del Mar so popular.
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« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2012, 01:02:13 PM »


And as proof, dirt is what makes the meets at Keeneland and Del Mar so popular.


Poly might keep the best dirt horses away, but it won't keep the crowds away.  I've had Cubs' season tickets since 1983, and for most of the 80's they only opened the upper deck on weekends.  It wasn't til Harry's "fun at the old ball park" promoting kicked in that Wrigley became a destination, with the game being secondary.  We need a fun at the track promoter. I started coming to AP in the 70's to gamble and fell in love with racing.  We don't have gambling exclusivity any more, so we need another hook to expose people to our sport.  A reasonably priced experience with fields large enough for novices to make some money betting to show might be a good place to start.
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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2012, 10:20:32 PM »

Tapping my nose at Beobob, BINGO!!!  If they could win on show bets or maybe an exotic wager that would pay off part of their student loan, young people may come.

And I'd expect that what younger bettors would prefer would be free admission, $2 beers and $2 hotdogs.   If the track had a casino many more people could attend and enjoy a day at the track and maybe, just maybe learn racing and become a degenerate gambler like me.

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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2012, 12:18:36 PM »


Diane was great. I had a box for another of years but gave it up a few years ago. She was still helpful even after we gave it up. Its hared to find people like her.
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2012, 12:37:57 PM »



It is refreshing to finally have an intelligent conversation with someone.  Whether he was responsible or not, after several years of Harry's "can't beat fun at the old ball park" being broadcast nationwide on WGN, Wrigley and the neighborhood became as much of a draw as the Cubs.  As more people came, the sleepy neighborhood bars became trendy nightspots, and more and more bars and restaurants flooded the area.

The homosexual angle is an interesting one, I never realized that 3 million plus would come together for a sing a long.  I would have thought basketball would be their game.
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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2012, 01:21:11 PM »

The homosexual angle is an interesting one, I never realized that 3 million plus would come together for a sing a long.  I would have thought basketball would be their game.

I hate to defend Cubs fans in any way, shape, or form, but Secretariat's claim is just top flight idiotic.  head shake
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"There are no $7500 maiden claimers, state-bred or otherwise, at Arlington."
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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2012, 08:32:12 PM »

Terry

Welcome back from the dark side. maroon
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« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2012, 08:33:19 AM »

Did anyone else hear Gil Carmichael is leaving Arlington  ?
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« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2012, 09:52:26 AM »

Did anyone else hear Gil Carmichael is leaving Arlington  ?
Yes, I heard that the other day.
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« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2012, 10:23:16 AM »

He should have walked the plank them Arlington otbs are a disgrace.......they haven't spent any money in years.......that Elgin location is a joke.....
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« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2012, 01:46:20 PM »

Had no money in budget for improvements..
All extra $ was spent on perfecting the recipe for PARKCORN & dry cleaning ARLI MASCOT uniform
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Chris Szulc
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« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2012, 06:02:39 PM »

Who is Gil Carmichael? Managed OTBs? He leave on his own or was let go?
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« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2012, 06:24:22 PM »

Oh my god if they get rid of Juan the floor sweeper on the second floor I am out for good!
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