Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 80

Cast of Characters:
Paul: age 37
Mal: my wife
“Brad”: a customer and friend


“Brad” (not his real name) was a good customer and a good friend of mine. He had been shopping at my collectible store for quite a few years and we had spent some good times together. When the “Foxwoods” casino opened in the early 90’s Brad asked me to take him there so we could experience this exciting place together. I had no clue that this would eventually ruin his life!

Brad was in his mid-50’s and he was a responsible, hard-working guy with a really good job but he certainly couldn’t afford to risk losing money in a casino every week. But that’s what he did. There were some weeks that he went there multiple times. There were times when he’d get out of work, head for the casino, and he wouldn’t leave the casino until it was time for him to go back to work and I had no idea that this was happening.

A bunch of us, including Brad, got together and planned to meet at the casino for the day. We had fun gambling together and we all urged Brad to quit while he was slightly ahead and after a lot of coaxing he agreed to stop gambling and drive back home. We found out a few days later that he driven right back to the casino after we all separated in Worcester and he lost hundreds of dollars. Within a year all of Brad’s credit cards were completely at their maximum limit and his car had been repossessed. He now had to walk to work! He came to my store one day and he explained that he needed help. I encouraged him to seek help from “Gamblers Anonymous” and he seemed willing to try it. Brad convinced me that his gambling days were over.

I’m quite sure that Brad stayed away from gambling for the next year or so, but it wasn’t long before I began to hear rumors that he was taking trips to the casino with many of the employees at the company where he worked. Brad continued to shop for comic books and trading cards at my store but he didn’t visit my store quite as often as he used to and he certainly didn’t spend as much money on these hobbies. He never mentioned to me that he was gambling again. When I tried to call Brad to offer him some help, I found that his telephone had been disconnected. I wrote two letters urging him to call me, (collect if he had to), but he didn’t respond. I just recently heard that Brad has now lost his home because of his addiction to gambling. I no longer underestimate the clever marketing and psychology used by casinos and the potentially overwhelming possibility of addiction to gambling that affects many people. Brad’s life has been ruined and I’ve apparently lost a friend.

Next chapter: My friend Brian and I create “Classic Toys Trading Cards.”

1 comment:

  1. I feel so badly for those with a gambling addiction. I have a very good regular customer at The Other Job who has had to declare bankruptcy because of her addiction to the slot; she's smart, funny...and very lonely. Sigh.