During my childhood my Mum's job was at the local bingo hall, she was the caller and I used to think that was pretty cool. She always came home with loads of exciting stories and gossip, and she made some pretty cool relationships with some of the regular Bingo players.
When I was 16 my Mum got me a part-time job at the same bingo hall, and I started my first ever job, I loved it, probably the best job I've ever had. It was fun, it was a community of its own, and I enjoyed going into work. The regulars were part of the furniture and you quickly got to know all about them and their lives.
For some of the customers the only time they got to socialize was when they came to bingo, and as staff we got to know some of the regulars pretty well; they enjoyed talking to us, to share their life stories, or just to tell us what they were up to. Anything for a nitter-natter, I still have a hanky that a regular made for me.
We had the regulars that came on the same day every week no matter what, the same session, either afternoon or evening, they would get their cheap meals from the bingo hall cafe, sit on the same seat they sat at for years - we had a couple of occasions where someone else sat in 'their' seat and well, all hell would break loose, the 'newbies' refused to move, but the regulars would refuse to sit anywhere else until they got their seat. - It was all fun and games, but some customers take it very seriously, bingo was their life.
Once a game would start, it went all very quiet, heads down and in full concentration mode; any noise and you would get sshh'd, even if you had to sneeze, you would get sshh'd. Then suddenly someone would shout at the top of their voice 'HERE', often making you jump, and it continues through the night, some winning some not.
It was very exciting when we had a national game win in our bingo hall - The nation game win was a large prize (90k), with many different bingo halls connecting up together for this one game, one location would call the numbers and the winner from any of the participating halls would call out to win the big prize; if our local hall won it would always end up in the local newspaper.
I never had the guts like my Mum to be a bingo caller, so I worked on the floor, or behind the counter selling the books, and after a couple of years, I was the one counting all the bingo book sales and organizing the money prizes for that session - I loved the responsibility. Then I left college and got my first full-time job and had to leave the bingo hall, although, I do now attend as a customer, I haven't been in a while, but when I do go, I go with friends, if we win we share the winnings and we have a fun night.