Commodore Ballroom faces online backlash over switch to all-cashless payment – BC

One of Vancouver’s premier music venues is facing online backlash after announcing it was shifting entirely to cashless payments earlier this week.

The Commodore Ballroom announced the change Monday via multiple social media accounts.

The venue said it would accept all major credit and debit cards, and would not have an ATM on site, but offered no other details about the shift.


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Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom celebrates 90 years of music – Dec 3, 2020

The online reaction was swift, posts on Facebook and Instagram racking up hundreds of comments, most of them negative.

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“This is really disappointing, Commodore. It’s an exclusionary policy that prevents some people from participating in events,” one commenter on Facebook wrote.

“Cash is legal tender in Canada, if it’s because of employee theft fix your policies. Cash is king and no one can track your movements when you pay cash. Unlike debit, credit, arrive can etc. Welcome to the book 1984,” added another.

“What about the merch vendors that take cash this will affect their sales if no one can get cash at the venue,” wrote one commenter on Instagram.

“I’m sure the staff are against this. Maybe reconsider based on that. If they are better with that idea then all good. But personally as a bartender I 100% would not be into this,” another wrote.

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Numerous responses threatened to no longer attend the venue over policy.

Live Nation, which operates the Commodore, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Morgan Ayres, CEO of Vancouver-based Pinnacle Hospitality Consulting, said the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move towards cashless payment, but that it still remains uncommon in the nightclub industry and the Granville Entertainment District.

Even so, he said the technology is attractive because it allows companies to streamline their cash-out procedures, saving money on labor and reconciling their accounting.

Read more:

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While Ayres said the backlash could hurt the nightclub in the beginning, in the longer term he predicted it would not have a major impact.

“Customers always adapt, this is the way of the future. Canada is pushing towards a cashless society — by 2030, cash purchases are estimated to make up only 10 percent of money spent in Canada,” he told Global News.

“Some demographics are reluctant to change, but the nightclub industry generally attracts a younger crowd.”

The venerable nightclub’s long history, strong brand and regular lineup of popular acts will also likely protect it from any backlash, he said.

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Ayers said if he was left with any questions, it would be about how the club’s staff feel about the change — which now creates a digital record of all the tips they receive.

He said it also remains to be seen how cashless payments will affect those tips.

“Are customers more inclined to tip more or less with cashless payments?” he asked

“We’re seeing suggested tips go as high as 25%. Will there be a customer backlash due to this?”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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