KANSAS CITY, Mo - To quote embattled singer Britney Spears: "Oops, Kansas City's 'Power and Light District' has done it again."
The commercial entertainment cluster known for booting DJ Jazzy Jeff off stage and establishing dress codes many believe are discriminatory has once again infuriated the masses by starting a new policy that requires customers to pay a $10 cover charge just to enter the common area located between the restaurants and bars.
And get this: They're not accepting cash. You must have either a credit or debit card. No exceptions.
“I think it's very discriminative because some people just don't have credit cards. They should be able to pay with cash and should be able to sit down and have a good meal without having to pay a cover charge to get in,” said Gerry Hinshaw, a regular customer.
“I don't like it at all. It should just be open for the public. They shouldn't charge. It's not right.”
The new rule takes effect only on Friday nights after midnight and Saturday nights after 11:00 p.m. Many blacks are already labeling the move racist. While others are simply miffed over the entrance fee.
“I think you are going to lose business,” said Korey Hollinshead, also a regular customer. “You know, I used to come down here all the time and, you know, you can just walk in the lobby area and it would be free. But now, with the cover charge, I don't agree with it.
“Everybody should have a card but everybody doesn't. So, say if your account is low, I am going to come with my card and I can't get in. I have cash in my pocket but you are not going to take it?”
Power and Light officials said the method of payment change was implemented strictly as a business move to generate more traffic so people will spend more money.
As for the refusal to accept cash?
Officials cited safety concerns in claiming it's very dangerous for customers to have large amounts of cash inside the common area.
Given the fact a sizeable segment of the African-American community lacks credit and/or debit cards, should the payment plan be construed as racism?
Maybe. But it's also a great business move.
Allow me to expound.
By accepting credit and debit cards during the peak hours of the weekend, the district will rid itself of massive thug activity while increasing the participation of law-abiding, working class patrons.
Yes, I said "thugs."
And this is clearly a ploy against them.
Let's not kid ourselves. Hoodlums are every nightclub's kryptonite. And the property owners have flat had enough.
The Cordish Management Company, responsible for the daily operations of the 'Power and Light District,' is on to something. And the method, in my humble opinion, should be adopted by every black nightlife establishment across the USA.
See, credit and debit cards are good for more than just payment. They're also quite helpful in tracking down the account holder's information and rendering violators financially responsible for any damages that may occur.
Most hotels are strictly credit card only for these reasons. Yet, I haven't heard one discrimination claim in protest. If you mess up a hotel room, the management team has the authority to charge your credit card for incidentals.
It's genius. And black business owners should consider doing the same.
Most African-Americans I talk to lament the lack of peaceful nightclubs within the urban community. They say when a decent, successful enterprise finally arises, a roughneck will conveniently show up, raise complete hell and shut the joint down.
Pardon my candidness, but thugs have put more blacks out of business than the IRS.
And the 'Power and Light District' is doing its very best to avoid becoming the next Westport.
Kansas City's Country Club Plaza is fighting the same war. If the infamous 'Flash Mob' raids weren't enough, merchants had to combat a slew of five-finger-discounts tied to urban youth eating meals and running out the front door before the bill was paid.
Legally, the district's payment plan would be an open and shut case. Credit and debit cards are fairly easy to acquire; regardless your financial status or skin pigmentation.
Besides, there are far too many loopholes in paying cash. By forcing a thug to hand over his picture ID and credit card, the business owner has effectively stripped him of his anonymity while taking his money at the same time.
If the thug feels offended and leaves, the owner loses nothing and gains a peace of mind.
Like I said, it's a great business move. Black property owners should consider jumping on board.
After all, thugs and accountability don't mix.
Wayne Hodges, an MBA from St. Mary University, is the Editor-in-Chief of “Mass Appeal News.” He also serves as a contributing writer to YourBlackWorld.com, he’s a Democrat reporter for the Examiner, and he’s a film critic with ILoveBlackMovies.com. Wayne welcomes your comments 24/7 at email@example.com