Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Putting it on plastic and getting hooked in Philly

I knew this went on, but have never seen it in print.This is how some people choose to run their businesses.

I believe this is a slippery slope.

What you do is offer the girl a $250 tip after you've done your business. This is how you let her know what you're looking for and that you can pay for it. She won't come out and tell you that she's holding at first; she'll hint that for $250 extra, you'll be a happy man. Thirty of the $250 is an actual gratuity on the fuck; the other $220 buys you an eight ball of high-quality powder coke. Sure, that's expensive, even for good blow, but you haven't heard the best part. Seriously, this is going to fucking kill you:

The whole thing goes on your credit card.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT That's right: powder on plastic. She takes your card, puts it on this portable hand processor she carts around in her purse, places a carbon credit form over top and gives it a swipe. Then, she plugs it into the nearest phone jack and calls in your card to make sure it's good. Thirty days later, your statement comes back with a transaction from the discreetly named "Ludlow Clinic." It's the kind of name that might not raise too many eyebrows on an expense report. If you're a convention-goer, you might be able to talk your wife out of her concerns by assuring her of a late-night stop at an out-of-town pharmacy

Here's some simple arithmetic: $220 x 4 = $880 in one night. Maybe that much blow will last you a couple of days, but it doesn't take too long to burn down a $10,000 line of credit. And that's just the coke.

Once you've factored in all the fucks and tips, you're looking at some major financial damage. In fact, by the end of that ugly and out-of-control month and a half, John calls his favorite girl over and asks her for the standard $220 eight ball on arrival (it's out in the open by this point). She runs his card through her little doodad then says the words he had hoped never to hear:

"It's denied, baby."

A flash of anger. "Fucking run it again."

One could say that cocaine and hookers are a classic combination. For a certain kind of man, they're like dinner and a movie, a regular staple of the entertainment diet. When you add credit to the equation, though, you add an unpredictable variable that a lot of guys can't control.

This is not one of those drugs that active users have an easy time walking away from at the end of the night. If there's more space on your credit card, and there's a naked woman dangling a baggy full of blow in your face and telling you to keep going, you're going to keep going.

So, what is this Ludlow Clinic that allegedly dispatches out-call girls with shoulder bags packed full of eight balls and credit card scanners to horny cokeheads in Center City? Is it part of a larger operation that supplies coke and hookers citywide? Are there similar operations working right now in other cities around the country?

The out-call girl with credit card capacity is old news, as are call girls who sell cocaine on the job. It was just a matter of time until escort services got ballsy enough to do both.

A little Web research reveals that the Ludlow Clinic is a storied Center City massage parlor that closes and reopens under a different name with every new Vice Squad crackdown. The oldest reference to it online is in this paper in an August 1995 article titled "No Mo' Hos." It detailed District Attorney Lynne Abraham's crackdown on brothels after the high-profile shuttering of a legendary Sansom Street brothel called Bella Feminina. In the story, an employee of what was then called the Gentleman's Retreat at 1800 Ludlow declined to comment on what went on there, but it was common knowledge that they offered a little more than the massage service they advertised.

What we have here is a long-established prostitution provider that may be paving the way for Philadelphia-area escort services with what is a larger, recent shift in the escort business model. The Ludlow Clinic is simply keeping step with the current nationwide convergence between escort services and drug delivery.

In an interview with the Independent News of Pensacola, one of the ring's prostitutes reported, "They pressure you to do illegal actions, things against your own beliefs. There was violence. There was drugs. People would call just for drugs. They'd say, 'Are you a party girl?' and pay the escort fee, just to get drugs."

Quotes from the Transaction by Jeff Deeney of the Philadelphia City Paper.

It is outrageous that these agencies pressure the girls to do this. I wonder why some of these girls do not leave these agencies, and work elsewhere.

I am aware that some agencies ask their girls whether they party, but my understanding was if the girl does not, she will not be penalised for it. Yes, it is a fact that escorts make more money on those types of bookings.

I think visiting clients who take drugs is one thing, as I have mentioned here. Selling the drugs to the clients is a different matter altogether.

Is serving time for this worth it?

So, is this a new business model?

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Is it a new business model?

Not really, because it is typical of businesses of all kinds in the US to use sneaky sales tactics to get customers hooked on a service that will increase in price in the near future, or to make it necessary to purchase something you don't want so as to get something you do want. Cable TV marketing is a good case in point.

Interesting use of the word "party". I have noticed for a long time that in the USA the word "party" is frequently used as a euphemism for getting drunk or using recreational drugs. Another example of deceptive marketing by the alcohol and drugs industries.

As far as credit cards go, I once had a coporate (government) credit card, but it was severely limited as to the type of Merchant Category Code (MCC) that could be used, as well as having limits on single purchases. This meant that I could not have used the card to call a Sex Hotline, or something like that.

Any corporation that does not have such controls on its travel expense credit cards is pathetic.

Now it is possible that these Coke and Condom Clinics might provide a fake Merchant Category, but I would have thought that it would be a relatively simple thing in that case for law enforcement to track this and charge them with something like RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) violations which can get you up to 20 years in prison plus confiscation of ill-gotten gains.
James B,

Thank you for your comments. I did not realise that employers could limit the Merchant category code. That is amazing.

Yes, most agencies, accept credit cards.

Some clients prefer to charge to their business cards, as it is billed as entertainment,lol.
Well, if the coporate card allows itself to be used for "entertainment" then really the coporation is colluding in this usage of the card.

I suspect that this may occur more when the card holder is an owner of the business in question than when the card holder is an employee.
James B,

My understanding and experience, is that a number of men at certain levels in their professions; have these perks,lol.
I guess they do!

A guy I used to know, who was extremely intelligent (or so it seemed to me at the time) was the Head of Information Technology (i.e. computers to you and me) for the Florida Dept. of Children and Families and was fired after accepting a massage paid for by a contractor. The STUPID thing was that he wrote about this in his official state e-mail, which he, of all people should have known was a public record. This is mentioned in the story here
James B,

Thank you for that link. I read it and think that they overreacted with your colleague. It sounds like the company policies, are rigid.
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