>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
October 9, 2005

Essential New Word of the Day:
beerwake \bir’wejk\ n (2001) :the pattern of empty beer bottles one sees the morning after a magnificent house party that accurately maps out a single drinker's movements over the course of the night — a good beerwake might start in the kitchen, travel through the patio, take a detour toward the bathroom, and wind up in the bedroom.

We’ve all been there. It’s late and you’re having a good time. Maybe you’re hitting the bottle because a crime lord has just brutally murdered your partner, days before his retirement. Or maybe you’re drinking until the amorphous fatty in the corner turns into a supermodel. In any event, you’re not ready to stop drinking, but your wallet definitely says otherwise. Well, just because you suck at money management, there’s no reasonwhy your good time should end. In this article, I will show you various ways, most of them legal, to drink for free. I’ve also included the likelihood that each will work, expressed as a percentage and calculated through years of empiric, hooch-fueled research. Oh yeah, science is my bitch now.

Make no mistake, this is a very important subject. I love to drink. In fact, to accurately convey just how much I enjoy the sauce, every single letter in this sentence would have to be wearing a lampshade and swilling from a beer bong. But unfortunately, as Earth’s greatest costumed defender, I don’t make that much money. Now, I realize that, as someone who has the time to browse an internet comedy site, you’re probably not all that worried about disposable income. Well, good for you. But trust me, fate is fickle. One day, you might be snorting cocaine off a golden hooker’s chest through an emerald-studded hundred dollar bill, and the next day, nothing. So you need to be prepared for that.

“It’s really best not to think of it as stealing. Drinking is bad for you, so every time you liberate a beverage, you’re doing someone a favor.”

(N.B. This article assumes that the person attempting to score booze is male. If you’re a woman, and you need advice on how to drink for free, you might consider liposuction and a facelift, for starters.)

1) Begging/mooching
Chance of success: 35%/52%, plus or minus 5% depending on your charisma

If you’re really serious about drinking for free, you have to check your ego at the door. Fortunately, this is easier than it sounds. If pride is a problem, show up to the bar in track pants and a t-shirt with adorable kittens on it. You may not get past the bouncer, but if you do, you’re halfway to getting soused on someone else’s dime. One effective trick is to pretend that you’re retarded. The kitty t-shirt will help with that too, by the way. Most bargoers will be sensitive to the needs of a thirsty subnormal. The only problem with this ploy is that you run the risk of being bought a chocolate milk or ginger ale, and what good is that? If you’re quick, you can signal the bartender to add some vodka when nobody’s looking. Don’t forget to drool some of your drink back up to reinforce your awesome disguise.

You’re better off trying to mooch off of your friends. They’re probably used to your cheap ass by now anyway. Try to exploit their inherent cruelty. If possible, try to mention the scene from The Goonies where the gang makes Chunk take off his shirt and dance around before letting him into the house. Subtly hint that, like Chunk, you would be perfectly happy to degrade yourself in exchange for a mere drink. At this point, you might find yourself licking the floor under the barstools, or hitting on lumbering sloshporks. Don’t be tempted to give up. Your dignity is a small price to pay for 5 to 7 ounces of the good stuff.

2) Stealing/Foraging
Chance of success 12%/98%

Remember kids, unless you want to be drinking all your meals through a straw as well, you don’t want to be stealing from the bar. Your target is an inattentive patron. If he or she lets the guard down for a moment, you have yourself a drink of your very own. Be sure to get rid of the evidence quickly. It’s really best not to think of it as stealing. Drinking is bad for you, so every time you liberate a beverage, you’re doing someone a favor. However, this method of acquisition is high-risk. You need to have some kind of cover story in case you’re caught in the act. Maybe tell your mark you saw some strange guy slipping her mickey. Your chivalry may be rewarded with something better than a drink…and if you get invited back to her place, you’ve earned the right to raid the liquor cabinet while she’s on the can.

A much safer, if slightly more disgusting, option is to gather other people’s discarded drinks and mix your own. On the plus side, you’re unlikely to get beaten to death with a pool cue. On the other hand, a half ounce each of vodka, gin, rum, Jack Daniels, and backwashed saliva does not make for a very appealing cocktail, no matter how much lipstick is on the glass you forage. No one said it would be easy. But if you have the stomach to make this method work for you, then thanks for reading my article, Charles Bronson.

3) Deception
Chance of success: 71%

Ever since the days of the caveman, it has been every guy’s duty to buy his buddy a drink on his birthday. However, no such rule exists for complete strangers. This generally leaves the thirsty cheapskate with two options: either convince a complete stranger that you are in fact lifelong pals, or else convince your friends that it’s your birthday. The second option is far easier, trust me. It may require you to plant some deceptive seeds beforehand, but such effort will pay good dividends. Fortunately for you, most guys can’t be bothered to remember when birthdays actually fall, but I still wouldn’t try this ploy more than twice a year, not including your actual birthday. And be warned, the presence of even one woman who knows you will send you home sober and probably friendless.

Other lies can get you liquored up without too many questions. The trick is to elicit sympathy and be creative. Now, no one in their right mind is going to believe that your dog just died, but no one would think twice about your tale of debilitating anal fissures resulting from a failed experiment in homo butt sex. Embellish your story as needed by disclosing how you were caught and disowned by your religious father, who was just diagnosed with Alzheimers. Whether the drinks come from sympathy or just to provide a distraction while your mark makes a run for it is irrelevant.

4) Gambling
Chance of success: 50%

Here’s an area where you need to be careful. If you can’t afford to buy yourself a drink, you certainly can’t afford one for somebody else. You’re already a tightwad, so only you can decide whether your reputation can take the added strain of being a cheat and a weasel as well. Your best option is to make a proposition bet. A proposition bet is one in which you convince some gullible idiot that you can apparently break the laws of physics, and you don’t have to stake anything. Unfortunately, the kind of mark who would take you up on this is more likely to be found at a unicorn convention, so you may need to search the bar for a while. When you have found your mark, try to establish that you have mystical powers, and for a drink, you’ll demonstrate said powers by, say, tying a cigarette in a knot. You may have to shop your powers around, but eventually someone will bite. Wrap the plastic film of the cigarette box tightly around one cigarette and tie it in a knot. Drink. Repeat. Or, you may want to go a more a traditional route. Bring a deck of cards to the bar and try some three-card monte (note: only do this if you habitually wear a fedora and your first name is the name of a city).

Depending on where you live, a casino is always a good choice. Many casinos will ply their patrons with free drinks, all the better to impair their gambling judgment. The kicker is, you have to be ostensibly gambling in order to reap this benefit. Well, that can be a problem, but places like Vegas often have video poker built right into the bar. I have found that it’s easy to present the illusion of gambling by repeatedly inserting money and cashing out without actually placing a bet. Casino bartenders are too busy and surly to notice these shenanigans.

5) Charity/Religion
Chance of Success: 15%/99%

Bars exist to make profits for sleazy businessmen who wouldn’t think twice about stealing your MedicAlert bracelet and selling it as food to a starving orphan. But the “trickle-down” theory of economics, as I understand it, clearly indicates that the bar owes you a freebie every now and then for being such a loyal customer. Most bartenders are going to disagree with you on this point, but stick to your guns and appeal to their humanity. Surely some of them have to have charitable souls. I can’t say for sure, but I think charity might have some kind of connection to religion. If you can find a religious bartender, push this angle hard. God is practically ordering him to give you a drink, and it’s fire and brimstone if he doesn’t.

If that doesn’t work, put your newfound religious fervor to work at a local church. Now as a fine young mensch, I don’t know exactly how this works, but apparently, communion services include a bit of wine. If you’re Jewish, or Buddhist, or even an atheist, this might be a little conflicting, but the good news is that alcohol consumption is a virtual certainty. If you time it right, you could hit a string of churches in a row and get a really good start to your morning. Just watch out for the pansy sects that serve grape juice.

6) Make your own
Chance of success: 1%

You can always bring some grapes to the bar and hope they’ll ferment over the course of an evening, but I wouldn’t count on it. Try adding some Windex to help it along. If nothing else, you should be able to score some sympathy booze when you’re hospitalized. If not, your stunt is sure to get you invited to Moonshine Day at your local society for drunken cheap retards.