Last night I was invited by the NJ Devils to come check out their locker set up and how their security and event staff handle game day. It was a NJ Devils pre season game and there were only about 4,000 folks there. It was also the first NJD game of the pre season/season so, I'll compare this to a soft opening. I asked my buddy @readtheapple(Randy) who is the Devils fan to come with me since he knows the "Rock" better then I do. I am a Rangers fan so they know they would not get a "Homer" report about the arena.
The Devils have a new no backpack policy like the Mets at Citi Field. This ban was enacted by the NHL league wide and the Devils installed lockers to help out the fans that do come to the arena and brought a backpack. I like the fact that this was done during the pre season and not halfway through like at Citi Field. I am not a big fan of security theater but if you have to have it done at least it should be done in a pleasant way. The lockers are right outside Ford Tower near the Martin Brodeur statue. By the way being a Rangers fan this is driving me nuts typing about Brodeur having a statue. Anyway here's what the Locker's look like.
I got there early and this was one of the locker areas set up by the Ford Tower. They reminded me of the lockers you might find at a them park. They have small and large sizes. The prices were $6 for a smaller one and $8 for the larger sized one(debit and credit cards, no cash). The great things about the these lockers is that they actually hold the backpack and it's entire contents so you don't have to unpack its contents and put them inside a clear bag too take inside the venue like at Citi Field. Yep. That's right in Citi Field the lockers don't fit a lot of backpacks that are full of contents. You have to put the empty backpacks in the lockers while you still drag around your stuff in clear plastic bags. The security member who checked out the inside of the bag before I went to the locker kiosk (very easy to use by the way)welcomed us to The Rock and told us to have a great night. This is what I am talking about. You can do security and be nice to the fans coming into the venue. We walked into the front doors, did the walk through metal detectors and my Apple watch pinged. "Hi sir, do you mind covering your watch and walk through again." I walk through and hear, " Thank you. Enjoy your night." What ever happened to those mandated Metal Detectors at Citi Field? Remember those?
What's this? Signs to stop people from walking down to their seats during play? The Mets really need these.
Randy and I got turned around at one point while we were walking around a spot at the arena that Randy had never been before. The in game promotions producer saw that we were lost, came over and asked us if we needed help. She didn't have to do this, but with a smile walked us up to the level we needed to be at while pleasantly chatting with us and got us to where we needed to go.
It seemed like every staff member in the arena was pleasant. They were helpful. There were smiles. They seemed happy to help. Even if they hated being there, you couldn't tell. I was watching all the interactions of the ticket reps, the ushers, and just the staff, where you could see that they knew a lot of the "regulars" that go to the games. Some weren't even season ticket holders. On the way out vendors and other Prudential Center staff all said have a good night or get home safe. I walked out of the Ford Tower back to my locker and grabbed my bag after punching in my pin and was out in 15 seconds. I know this was a pre season game but I also went to the Rock two years ago and the staff back then was the same way. Very pleasant to be at the game.
I am not going to throw all the staff at Citi Field under the bus with the comparison to the staff at The Rock. There are some great folks at Citi Field but there are some really miserable folks there that shouldn't be dealing with the public. I have covered it all before but it is really nice to go to a place where you are a paying customer and feel appreciated that you are there. I know the folks at Citi Field that I deal with are trying to sort this out and will probably get it all figured out for next season. Hopefully I can write a post like this next season about Citi Field and how it's staff have improved customer service wise.