- Written by Hart Beet Staff
"No Griggs for You!"
COLUMBIA, Mo 12/10/15 (Beet Bite) -- Columbia is once again living up to its slogan -- "What you Unexpect" -- with the latest wacky word coming out of the Business Loop CID: that area businesses will ban residents who vote against the CID sales tax today.
Armed with voter identifications because of a procedural loophole, Loop Community Improvement District (CID) retailers can check a master list at checkout.
Residents who vote for the tax will be allowed to shop with special "thank you" deals. Residents who vote "no" will be turned away. If the area's 14 voters approve it, the tax will fund upgrades to properties -- and the $70,000 salary (plus perks) of Loop CID director Carrie Gartner.
Bans are a popular counter-offensive move in Columbia, which has seen local government ban smoking and try to ban drinking in Douglass Park, cigarette and e-cig sales to the under-21 crowd, and offensive memes.
In a rare Heart Beat interview that cost a basket of flowers and dinner for two at the restaurant of her choice, Gartner likened the ban plan to Santa's List.
"You know what they say about Santa knowing who's been naughty and nice," Gartner said. "Thanks to that voter ID list, our business members will know who's been naughty and nice, too."
The Loop CID Board of Directors also approved a lifetime ban on "that meddling Jen Henderson," Gartner explained.
Business and land owners had tried to gerrymander out anyone residing in the Loop CID's boundaries so they would have sole say-so about the tax. But Henderson revealed she lived in the area, foiling the plan. After Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren certified thirteen more voters, Henderson became the voice of anti-CID tax forces.
"In case she tries to sneak in somewhere, our new surveillance system warns members with a #JenHen text alert," Gartner said. "Twitter, too."
To confirm this story, the Columbia Heart Beat sent two groups of "secret shoppers" to Business Loop establishments. One group wore "Vote Yes!" buttons. The other group wore "Vote No!" buttons, with background photos of Henderson's face from her Daily Show appearance.
"Yes" voting secret shoppers were welcomed with discounts, holiday gift certificates, and at Dave Griggs Flooring America, the opportunity to sit on Griggs' lap. One of the Loop CID's driving forces, Griggs was dressed as ol' Saint Nick himself.
"Carpet your Ho Ho Home!" he exclaimed, passing out candy canes and generous discounts.
Area businesses turned away our "no" vote secret shoppers with an abrupt spiel that reminded some of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Only this time, it was the Loop Nazi.
"No fridge for you!" said a man at an appliance store.
"No soup for you!" both grocery stores exclaimed, as we tried to buy two cans of Campbell's.
"No strip for you!" barked a bouncer at Club Vogue, where our "yes" voting secret shopper got a free lap dance.
"The Loop Nazi. I like that," Gartner said, after we forwarded the results of our Secret Shopper survey.