Inside America’s most technologically friendly strip club
The Toy Chest on Ford Rd. in Detroit, Michigan is your typical upscale strip club with one noticeable difference.
“In addition to having simply the best eye candy around, they have sophisticated and worldly lovelies — with accents to die for – that are as adept at working the stripper pole as they are at carrying on a conversation that will have you feeling a real connection almost instantly,” a review in Real Detroit Weekly reads. A testimonial from an unnamed patron that’s featured on the establishment’s Web site goes a bit further: “My favorite part of the evening was this girl on girl kissing contest! Wow! Hot women they were. There was some stiff competition if you know what I mean.” A recording when you’re on hold waiting to make a reservation explains the Toy Chest is the best place for birthday parties. (See also: divorce celebrations.)
In other words, it offers beautiful women, bar food, and guys ogling girls. It is a regular adult establishment as far as these types of places go. Except for one thing. The Toy Chest boasts complimentary WiFi for its customers.
Think about that for a second. The goal of a strip club is to get men to pay attention to the women who are taking their clothes off on stage or walking around the floor offering up dances. The idea is not to let dudes bury themselves in their phones, their iPads, or their laptops. And yet, the Toy Chest not only let’s them do so, but it encourages them to surf the Web. According to Scott, one of the managers, the club isn’t the only one around with WiFi. In fact, they added it “seven or eight years ago” to keep pace.
“I think we were even behind on that compared to a lot of clubs. It was time for us to get into this century and just go with the flow,” he said over the phone. (For what it’s worth, I couldn’t find any other clubs in the area that had WiFi, nor could Scott name any. I suspect it’s rarer than he believes.)
According to the manager, a small percentage of the people who come to Toy Chest bring laptops, but some definitely do and cruise on the Internet with wild abandon. That said, he hasn’t seen any problems with WiFi causing distractions, which, quite frankly, is a bit of a relief. If we get to a point where work (or your fantasy team) trumps a beautiful woman standing in front of you – especially when said work is being done in a strip club – we’ve all lost.
Scott also doesn’t believe that having wireless in a strip club is particularly strange. “There’s WiFi everywhere. I don’t think it’s any more odd having it here than it would be at a donut shop or a McDonald’s,” he said. The majority of the population might not agree – it’s a little bit weirder than having WiFi at a donut shop, though I’m not sure why a donut shop would really need WiFi, either – but he has a point: “People spend time here. They want to be able to keep up with stuff, to be able to get some work done, and maybe have a way to get out of the office a little bit more.”
And so, life goes on inside the Toy Chest, wireless Internet and all. People eat, they work, they watch the women take off their tops. Hopefully, they do more of the latter than anything else. But this being 2012, they also play on their smartphones.
“People are on their phones all the time,” Scott says. “I don’t know if they are on the WiFi or not, but maybe some of those wouldn’t come in if we didn’t have it.”
Does that mean having WiFi might actually be good for business?
“Oh yeah,” Scott said.
Toy Chest provides a space to work if one needs to, but it also provides a way to get away. Strip clubs are there to offer a break from reality, a place where the women are gorgeous and interested in you, where the light is soft and the drinks are strong. The Detroit establishment is no different. Just read another testimonial written by Michael from Albany, NY:
“I saw a dwarf being tossed through the air, safely I might add. I can’t believe how engulfed I was in this. My one cocktail turned into a few more. I couldn’t believe the excitement and the energy in the room from such an interesting and clever idea. The waitress informed me that they do different contests all the time. I was actually curious to know what they could do for an encore.”
Were this a typical club, Michael from Albany might be out of luck. But at the Toy Chest, it’s not hard to picture him whipping out his iPad and offering up some suggestions.