Downtown Lafayette is chockablock full of pocket monsters — and people, mostly young, trying to capture them. Swanky retail center Parc Lafayette was as well, until Thursday when it said “Bye, Felicia” to Pokemon Go, the wildly popular game that has folks all over the civilized world thrown into deeper thrall to their smartphones than most of us of a certain age ever imagined possible. It’s a tale of two districts: Downtown, which has embraced the weird, and a retail-reliant South Lafayette mainstreamed by the edge-smoothing emery board of the almighty dollar.
According to a story in today’s Advertiser, amid complaints from some of the development’s retailers about “strange-looking people” — that’s from an actual quote — loitering about the upscale retail center’s statuary and fountains, management contacted Niantic, the app’s developer, and asked it to remove Parc Lafayette from the game. (Pokemon Go involves using an app on one’s smartphone in a virtual reality environment to find and capture Pokemons, or pocket monsters, in order to train them and fight them against other users’ Pokemons — or something like that. Since the game’s ascension into American fad culture a few weeks ago, Downtown Lafayette and similar locations have been teeming with people walking around staring pie-eyed into their phones as they hunt for the virtual creatures. It’s an international phenomenon that has prompted sites like the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., to ask Niantic to remove it from the game for obvious reasons.)
The Advertiser articles notes complaints from some retailers about loitering and traffic problems — and those “strange-looking people” — related to Pokemon Go players seeking their quarry among the development’s marble grandeur, but the article also quotes some retailers and their employees who say the proliferation of players was good for business. Paul Ayo, proprietor of E’s Kitchen, used the lure of Pokemon Go as a marketing tool to reel in shoppers, and he was incensed enough by the development’s decision to nix the game that he posted an angry rant about it on Facebook: “Dear retailers out there, it is not your job to decide whether somebody is capable of shopping at your store,” the extravagantly goateed entrepreneur says in the video. “Quit pre-judging and deciding that somebody isn’t worth coming into your store. I don’t care who you are, how you make your money or what you do, if you want to buy something from my store, that is why I am here.”
Read The Advertiser article here.