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Issue Date: Vol. 47, No.11, November 2007, Posted On: 11/26/2007


Redemption Training Manual Combines Expertise, Simplicity And Real Examples


Marcus Webb

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — “I got tired of having to re-teach the same basic principles of redemption operation every time we hired a new manager – so I wrote a book,” said Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants, the noted FEC company that operates fun centers from New York to Nevada.

The result of Getlan’s efforts is How Much is that Doggie in the Showcase? (117 pp./Little Smiles are Big Business for You/$24.95).

The paperback book is an easy-to-read yet immensely practical handbook on basic redemption concepts. It states some fundamental truths up front. “Redemption is a complex subject, based on simple principles,” writes Getlan. “Give your guests value. Treat them fairly. Help them win. Give them reasons to return.”

Each of the 13 short chapters consists of a quick story that illustrates the chapter’s purpose, followed by a simple explanation of concepts, a recap of main points and training exercises. The book begins with “Redemption 101,” and is followed by chapters that cover merchandise categories, prize selection, markups and perceived value, purchasing, displays, rewards for skill, game selection and layout, equipment maintenance, percentage calculations, tickets and tokens, and security issues.

How Much is that Doggie in the Showcase? drives home the basic tradecraft of redemption operations in simple yet forceful language. For example, quite a few industry members have a problem understanding the nuances of perceived value: the difference between the wholesale cost of a prize and the apparent “retail” cost to the customer as expressed in tickets. Readers will receive a clear and sensible 500-word explanation from Getlan – presented in the context of a fictionalized conversation between two arcade staffers.

Getlan knows that part of the confusion about this (and some other key concepts) arises because different experts have different interpretations of key terms and values, as do different customers. The author’s willingness to acknowledge these differing views adds credibility without undermining his ability to offer clear principles that will prove helpful for operators, redemption managers and their personnel.

The guide also is strengthened by its inclusion of verbatim quotes from a variety of industry experts, beginning with his father and uncle (both highly experienced operators) and extending to respected practitioners in the field.

Of course, a book can only go so far in teaching the principles and practices of successful redemption operations, as Getlan himself is quick to acknowledge. “Nothing will replace continuous hands-on learning; it is vital to the success of any business,” he writes.

But for those who operate redemption games, cranes and other coin-operated equipment – or who plan to do so – in an arcade, FEC or other venue, How Much is that Doggie in the Showcase? should prove an immensely valuable tool.

At $24.95, the book is well below the $50 to $100 price often charged for specialized business manuals. Larger operators may wish to purchase multiple copies to ensure that staff members will always have this superb resource close at hand. Orders can be placed at trafford.com. It will also be for sale at the bookstore at this month’s IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, FL.


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