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Let’s set the scene. It’s 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, and you and your friends have just arrived at your local drinking establishment. As you walk in the door, autopilot takes over and you all instinctively approach the bar. The first person to touch the bar turns to the group and says the same words you’ve been hearing every weekend since you turned 21.
“This round’s on me. What do you guys want?”
It’s a situation we’ve all been in countless times, and at this point, it’s just second nature. Your friend group trades off rounds until everyone’s sufficiently drunk because that’s just how our society works. Well, I’m sick of it. I’ve been legally drinking for half a decade, and I’m officially done buying rounds. Here’s why.
I’m a cheap drinker. I enjoy most alcohols and beers, and if we’re being honest, I’m usually at the bar to get drunk, not have a culinary experience. I drink Coors Light, well liquors, and occasionally, whatever drinks are on special. I’m a simple man like that. However, I understand that not everyone is like this. Some of my friends like craft beers. Some like cocktails that don’t taste like rubbing alcohol. And I respect that. Unfortunately, because of this discrepancy in taste, every time I go round-for-round with my friends, I’m spending more than I have to.
Instead of my tab reflecting the 8-12 cheap drinks I drank, when I buy rounds for the boys, it now reflects the average of everyone’s drink preferences. And when you’re on the low end of the average, that’s not ideal.
“Why don’t you just order more expensive drinks so you’re getting your money’s worth?” You may ask.
Well, the issue isn’t the disparity of the drinks. I’m not mad at my friends for ordering nicer drinks than I. I’m not arguing against the wealth distribution in this country. I’m not making a statement. I just want my bar tabs to be cheaper, and since I don’t particularly care about the quality of my booze, there’s no reason for me not to cut back on my biggest expense. I just want to drink cheap drinks, and I want my bank account to reflect that decision.
Are there times when buying rounds make sense? Of course. If we’re at a packed club where it takes 10 minutes to get a drink, by all means, let’s do rounds. If the crew needs some shots to perk us up, I’ll be the first to suggest a round. If we’re at a table, we should absolutely be splitting the bill evenly. I’m not a monster. But the other 80% of the time, why do we have to have our drink orders linked in such a way?
I’m an adult. I can drink my drink and buy another one, on my own, without a buddy system. In fact, I prefer it that way. Maybe I’m just more independent and mature than my peers. Maybe I’m tired of waiting around for my friends to finish their double-IPA brews because I slammed my Coors Light in roughly 120 seconds. Whatever the reason, buying rounds just seems unnecessary.
Sure, it sounds like getting five drinks at the same time is faster and easier than each person breaking off to purchase their own drinks, but that’s only true if your crew is made up of robots who are always in sync. The truth is, people drink at different speeds, and making everyone get those drinks all together just doesn’t work. Inevitably, some of the group will have to wait, with no booze in their hands, like common peasants, while others have to chug at an unenjoyable pace to get everyone on the same page.
And how do you keep the rounds consistently fair? Do you make sure it’s the same people every time you buy a round? What if one of you is hitting it off with someone on the dance floor? What if someone’s taking a shit in the bathroom? You could justify the first one by saying they’re already getting lucky and they won’t mind getting skipped, but the latter? Imagine coming out of the bathroom, thighs burning from hover-squatting over the fetid bar toilet, and seeing all your friends taking a shot together at the bar without you. That’s just cruel. Fights have been started over less. And things are only going to get sloppier as everyone gets drunk.
People are going to get left out. People are going to try and weasel out of their turn. Some asshole is going to order a tray of bullshit expensive bombs for the crew and then complain about how much they were. And sure, all of these problems can be solved with throwing more money than you need to at the bar, but that’s the problem. If I have to choose between being a cheap asshole or spending too much money, I’m always going to go with the latter, which leads back to my original (and frankly, biggest) issue with buying rounds – It’s costing me too much money.
I’m done buying drinks in solidarity with my friends. I’m putting my own drinks on my own tab and spending my own money. It’s time to grow up. I’m done buying rounds. .