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Two sides to slot machine incident

In July I went on a Mr. Lucky casino cruise out of Tarpon Springs with my senior citizens club.

A man was playing a slot machine. He got up and left and I sat down. I put in a dollar and hit the jackpot. With that, an attendant came up and took all the money I won.

I asked to speak to the captain or person in charge, but nobody would tell me anything.

I went home and explained what happened to my son. He called the cruise ship and they said they would call him back after they investigated the incident. They never called.

Two weeks later my daughter called the cruise line. Again she was told someone would be in touch within a week. No call ever came.

What happened was not fair. Because I am an old man, I should not be disregarded. The cruise line should return to me the money I won from that jackpot. Michael Arcarola

Response: We got four letters from Celebration Cruises in response to your complaint.

According to slot technician Cass Cassidy, this is what occurred aboard the Mr. Lucky:

Another passenger had been playing two slot machines. A knowledgeable gambler, this passenger knew not to leave his machine unattended with credits left in it. At one point, he asked Cassidy to watch his machines for a few minutes.

You were sitting alongside one of the machines, which had 36 credits in it at the time, and you reached over and started pressing "play two credits." Cassidy said he blocked the machine and said, "Sir, those are someone else's credits you are playing and I am watching this machine for him until he returns. If you want to play this machine, I need to cash out his credits first."

Cassidy said he then pushed the "cash out" button to release the other passenger's credits.

There was no jackpot hit, Cassidy said. The "jackpot" was really the other customer's accumulated credits.

You said you put a dollar in the machine and, although he did not see you do that, Cassidy said he gave you a dollar. You accepted it. You then continued playing the machine for some time before you got up and started an argument, insinuating that Cassidy took your jackpot.

He tried to explain, but you were belligerent, Cassidy said. When you demanded to see the captain, he told you the captain was upstairs, but the person you needed to see was the casino manager. You went upstairs and never came back.

A second letter, this one from cruise manager, Teddy Vavoulis, said he told you to see either the casino manager or captain with your problem, both of whom were accessible. He also said you were obnoxious and loud.

Celebration Cruise's office manager Alexcia Brown wrote to say her office tried numerous times to explain to you and your children what happened aboard Mr. Lucky.

At one point, she said, the company's vice president personally called and set up a meeting with you, the casino manager, cruise manager, slot technician and the other passenger involved. You agreed to be there. Everybody showed up for the meeting, she said, except you.

The casino is governed by regulations, said Celebration Cruise General Manager B.J. Blackmon. Whether you were 28 or 82 makes no difference. The result would have been the same.

Mother Goose tapes needed

I bought a Mother Goose Storyteller tape player at a yard sale but have been unable to find the tapes that play in it.

It's called a Lullabye Luv Storyteller, Kidstar, a division of Monogram Models Inc. made in Korea. Can you get any more information for me? Doris Roe

Response: Write to Skilcraft, Division of Revell-Monogram Models, Inc., 8601 Waukegan Road, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

Order needed a name

I ordered $8.62 worth of vitamin pills from Puritan's Pride in November 1993 but never got them. I didn't write to the company because I forgot to save the address. Should I try to get those pills or forget it? T.B.

Response: Puritan's Pride found your order blank for $8.62 worth of vitamins dated November 1993 in its "no-name" file. You forgot to put your name and address on the order form. Your name and address were on your check, but checks and orders are separated and sent to different places.

Hope you have your vitamins by now.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Upon request, names will not be published.

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