I like variety.

So much, that I’ll brave a strip club to get it.

The bad music. The tawdry dresses. The expensive drinks. The aggressive dancers, waitresses, “massage girls.” The dominating TV screens. The silicone.

If I were to run a strip club – and I have had that fantasy more than once – here’s how it would work:

[warning: all this was written with a few scotches in me, and I’m not second-guessing or editing myself]

  1. Dancers would be salaried. They would participate in the “take” each night. The would not pay to dance. They would not have to (or be permitted to) “tip out” bouncers, DJs, owners.
  2. Admission prices would be high. High enough to entitle patrons to a reasonable number of dances. Dances so purchased would be useable on subsequent nights, if a patron wished to “bank” them. Perhaps there would be a couple of tiers: people could buy a one-dance entrance, a five-dance entrance, ten, twenty-five, fifty. But all such dances would be bought from a cashier, not from the dancers.
  3. No. Silicone.
  4. Dancers would be instructed to choose from some categories of dress: street clothes, the gym, clubbing, glamor, uniforms. They would be instructed to get naked, or rather, to strip to bra and panties or maybe topless, very s-l-o-w-l-y. Maybe one item of clothing for each two songs. Maybe three songs.
  5. Lap dances and massages would last two songs.
  6. The “VIP Room” would be priced according to demand. On a slow night? It would be cheap. On a busy night? Expensive. In any event, dancers would be paid the same, no matter what – no “bonus” for time in the VIP room. I want no upselling.
  7. Or maybe not. Maybe the VIP Room would be a bit more like it is now. Or maybe something else. I’ll think on it.

Starbucks would be my model. They treat their employees well enough that they’re happy, that they’re interested in the business doing well. In spite of their monotonous, uninteresting work. Upselling is left to the design; the interactions between patrons and workers is pure, untainted by perverse (or simply different) incentives.

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