One strip club’s innovative way of keeping staff and dancers employed during the coronavirus shutdown.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when Coronavirus shutdowns put your business on hiatus, think outside the box.
That’s what Shon Boulden, the boss of the Lucky Devil Lounge strip club in Portland, Oregon has done after all the restaurants, bars and clubs in the state were shuttered to try to stem to spread of Covid-19. With his business closed and his dancers – all free agents rather than salaried employees – suddenly out of work and facing a bleak future, he had to think fast.
Corona panic had already seen attendances dropping – strippers were making less than half their usual wages as customers stayed away. What’s more, people are more concerned with the basics right now – how to get food when delivery slots are booked weeks in advance and supermarkets are an exercise in how not to socially distance. So Boulden had a brainstorm – if the customers won’t come to you, why not go to them, and take food with you? So was born Boober Eats.
For $30, a customer can order a delivery of fast food from the club’s menu – no healthy market shop is available, obviously – to be brought to their home by two strippers, who will then perform a quick dance on the doorstep (which might raise a few eyebrows with the neighbours). The initial plan was for the girls to be topless, but Boulden decided that this might be a bit risky all round, so now they will be wearing pasties (not to mention gloves and masks), making this more a teasing burlesque delivery than the lapdancing that the club usually provides. A security guard is also on hand to make sure no one transgresses the six-foot distancing rules.
As dancer Brodie Grody (pictured top) commented:
“We have to send a photo of our temperature to our boss before we show up. We’re constantly washing hands, wearing gloves and masks. We’re not allowed into the kitchen or the bar. After every delivery, we throw our gloves in the trash and put on new ones. When we deliver, we knock, stand back and let the customer come out. If they want a photo that’s fine, but they have to stand either six feet in front of or behind us.”
As employment diversions go, this is not the perfect solution – with the $30 payments being split between employees, it clearly isn’t going to replace an eager punter showering a dancer with ten-dollar bills. And the fact that three people have to travel in the same car is probably not the ideal solution either. But given the alternative – that is, no money for anyone – then it’s better than nothing in desperate times. Other clubs around the world, facing a similar loss of income and possible financial ruin for both owners and employees, might want to look at this as an idea. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks that this is a concept that could well survive the unpleasantness and live on as a daytime money-maker for dancers.
Photos: Christine Dong