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A $29,000 tab at a strip club? Oh yeah, it’s possible

Earlier this week, I came across a story on the Las Vegas Sun Web site about James Hackett of Andover, Mass., who is challenging a $29,512 credit-card bill for a night at a Las Vegas strip club. He filed a lawsuit on Friday disputing the amount. That figure breaks down to a $4,000 bar tab, and more than $25,000 for “unexplained services” from six different strippers. I’ll do my best to try to explain what I suspect “unexplained services” to be. Of course, I don’t know all of the facts, but based on my experience I’ll do my best to explain how this kind of bill could have been rung up in a single evening.

To quickly explain the bar tab, individual drinks at a strip club are expensive, ranging from about $10 to $20 each. This is expected. However, at that rate, the person making the orders would have purchased 200 to 400 drinks in six hours, or about 33 to 66 drinks per hour. That is not including gratuity. I’d profile him as a good tipper, so with this formula he’d be buying fewer than 33 to 66 drinks per hour. Still, he’d need a lot of help to drink that much.

A more reasonable explanation for the bar tab would be that he purchased bottle service, which would break down to a little less than $700 per hour in six hours. Bottles of alcohol at a strip club can easily go for several hundred dollars each. With gratuity, the $4,000 charge can be explained in just a few bottles. Since the charges were made late on the night of October 11th, a Saturday night during busy convention season (technically early Sunday morning), it would be safe to assume that there were many people buzzing around helping him drink those bottles.

And the $25,000 for strippers? Easy. I suspect that since there were six strippers that walked away with a piece of the pie, the charges were for their hourly company. They couldn’t possibly have all dog piled onto him in a group lap dance for six hours. There were probably lap dances, certainly, but strippers don’t make that kind of money from just lap dances. Keeping our minds out of the gutter, strippers make that kind of money by negotiating hourly rates for their company, not by doing a million dances. That $25,000 would buy 1,250 individual, standard $20 lap dances. At 2 to 3 minutes per song, that would be about 41 to 62.5 hours of lap dances. Clearly, that didn’t happen.

As independent contractors, strippers can negotiate any price for their services, or even their mere presence. They easily could have gotten the customer to agree, after a few drinks, to buy out their entire shift to hang out with him. I’ve seen strippers sitting with sleeping customers in VIP rooms after the guy has paid for their time. At just under $700 per girl, per hour, an agreeable drunken man could easily find himself wiped out. Each girl would have made a bit over $4,000 for the night, which is completely reasonable for a night at work. I’ve seen a single customer do this for a group of strippers before. It’s not unheard of. Hell, I remember one time when a customer rang up a $40,000 charge in a single evening.

Anyway, I have no idea what happened in this case, of course. I am only speculating. My question is, where is the surveillance footage of all of this?

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