“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
In Iowa bars rarely have cover charges. If they do, it’s usually a couple bucks and is related to a special event. Live music, New Years, theme night, things like that. Even in college towns loaded with future alcoholics the bars are cheap. Sometimes they’ll even do promotions. Dollar beer, or endless champagne night aren’t unheard of.
Over the weekend I decided to go to the Laugh Factory. Being under 21, there wasn’t much available for me to do otherwise. I stood in line, bought my ticket, and went inside.
About ten minutes into the show a waitress asked if I wanted anything to drink. I replied “no.” She then informed me that there was a two drink minimum.
Having never been to a place with a “x number of drinks” minimum, I erroneously believed that my entrance fee had included two complimentary beverages.
Not wanting to be rude, I asked for orange juice.
Fifteen minutes later I ordered another.
When the waitress came around again, I decided to get one more. If the establishment was nice enough to give me free drinks, I might as well buy something.
When last call was announced, I ordered one final orange juice. “Might as well let them break even,” I thought.
Then the bill came.
Four small glasses of Tropicana orange juice. Nothing fancy, no alcohol, no food. Total cost: $32 plus tax. Mentally I turned into my father, “$32 for orange juice from a carton! That’s a ripoff.”
Though I’m usually fiscally prudent, I try and avoid being frugal. No one likes a frugal guy.
I paid my bill and left a healthy tip.
In the past I’d heard guys complain about the high cost of nightlife in their city. I’ve heard dudes mention that a Saturday night in Los Angles can easily end with a couple hundred dollar bar tab. And that’s just for a regular guy. Whenever someone complained about bars and clubs being scams, I imagined them as a stereotypical dork making excuses for shortcomings. I had never realized how much they were being charged by these places.
My four 8oz. glasses of orange juice, and admission fee totaled over $50. Adding in cab fare, the late night meal I ate, and various tips I gave; I spent well over a hundred dollars in less than eight hours.
Moral of the story: I’m glad I don’t drink, otherwise I’d probably be broke. Also, the city and, almost, everything in it is expensive.