A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Breaking news this week from the New York Post, with a revelation that will shock absolutely
everyone no one.
High end nightclubs in New York City have been fleecing their patrons.
On overpriced, watered down drinks? Well, no. Oh. Door fees? Not this time. Um. Insanely expensive bottle service arrangements? No. Hang on. Mandatory coat check costs? Uh uh. Ok fine. Give up?
Operations fees. Bam. Some of them range anywhere from an extra 3 percent to a whopping 22 percent.
EMM Group and Tao Group, which own
nightmarish, soulless voids and pits of despair in which one might find oneself doubting the worth of ones very own existence hotspots SL, Finale, Tenjune, Bow, and Tao, Lavo, and Avenue, respectively, are under investigation by the city for unlawful and unethical practices.
From the Post:
“Even if listed on a menu or receipt, surcharges are illegal in New York,” said Consumer Affairs spokeswoman Abigail Lootens.
“Consumers may not be charged for something they did not ask for and receive.”
The club owners, of course, defend their surcharges, claiming they cover credit card charges and “offset a variety of ever-changing costs that affect our particular business.”
Oh, that actually makes sense. I had always thought that the 500% mark-up on booze offset some of those costs, but it’s their particular business. Not their general business. Specifically, it’s impossible to discuss in definitive detail all the non-specific vagaries of this particular particularity. You see. Club ownership is complicated that way.
The other argument, of course, is that these surcharges ”were just the price patrons pay to be seen in their swanky digs,” posits the Post. One might also argue that once you’ve agreed to pay $300 for a bottle of $60 vodka (plus the luxuries of a waitress, reserved seating which you must aggressively defend from interlopers, and all the seltzer and cranberry juice you can drink!), you are probably not going to be the type to wonder why there’s an extra 3% on your bill. Nor are you the type to care.
Then again, as they say, this is how the rich stay rich. And the dumb stay rich. The drunk, unfortunately, are not very well known for their ability to stay rich.
I wish I could say stories like this make me realize how happy I am never to have been a fan of club-going. But the fact is this is just the foam at the top of the poorly-poured $250 champagne glass. I am grateful for this all the time. Whenever I am in a taxi driving through the Meatpacking District and see a line of freezing women waiting in tiny dresses to get into a sweaty, packed club. Whenever I see a girl faceplant after a stiletto gets caught in a cobblestone. Whenever I see a bunch of expensively-dressed dudes preparing to fight out on the sidewalk over a misconstrued look, or a girl sobbing without a coat on or a bunch of people trolling the streets looking for a place that will actually let them in.
Carrie Bradshaw, the bruise you left on this city will never truly fade. Will it?