“Some students predicted that they will keep the club packed and sweaty, if only for lack of a better option. George’s Garage—a restaurant that was once a popular venue for Greek crush parties and formals—closed its doors in July, further depleting students’ options for drinking and dancing in the wee hours of the morning.” —“Shooters Raises Fee” in The Chronicle, Aug. 25, 2009
A modest courtroom lit by the afternoon sunshine flooding through the small, simple panes of tall, cathedral windows.
Bailiff: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! All rise for the honorable Judge presiding. Case 1173, High Council of Frat vs. Shooters II.
Judge: Read off the charges!
Bailiff: Read off the charges!
Clerk: Shooters II is charged with the following: price gouging, unfair competition and (under her breath) stripping dignity.
Judge: Let the plaintiff address the court.
A young man wearing whale-print Nantucket Reds and a blue-and-white striped shirt stands up as he removes his Ray Bans, letting his Vineyard Vines croakies catch them against his broad chest.
Fratstar 1: Your Honor, we are here today to expose the antitrust practices of Shooters II, a Western-style saloon that has recently muscled out George’s Garage, a serious competitor—
Suit: Objection! The commotion over George’s closing is mostly from guys who regularly ordered $30 steaks on their girlfriend’s food points.
Judge: Sustained. Those steaks were delicious and will be sorely missed.
Murmurs of agreement come from the crowd.
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Fratstar 1: To continue! With George’s out of the way, Shooters quietly doubled its cover charges before the incoming freshmen noticed. Then, citing the cost of securing such items, the bar began selling forgotten cell phones back to students at cost, or, in most unfortunate cases, to the highest bidder.
More murmurs of agreement from the crowd.
Fratstar 1: Johnny, why don’t you take over.
Fratstar 2, wearing a yellow polo meant to match his partner, stands and walks over to an large chart placed on an easel.
Fratstar 2: As you can see, our research shows that money spent directly correlates to fratmospheric pressure. Here in green we can see that, prior to the price hike, a relatively high fratmospheric pressure could be achieved for as little as $12 per person. Now, displayed here in red, we see a steeper slant. Achieving a pressure of 40 Belushis tonight costs upward of $25.
Suit: Objection! The prosecution is blatantly using pseudo-science and pretty colors to lure us in to their confidences.
Judge: Overruled. Clearly they are using the methods they are most familiar with.
Fratstar 2: Thank you, Your Honor. He takes a sip from a Solo cup before continuing. Now in a moment, the defense will argue that these increased fees merely cover the cost of the extra security we have seen at the bar. What they won’t mention, however, is that these chaperones are mostly there to separate consenting adults under the auspices of H1-No-Fun. It’s despicable that Shooters would use such sanitary excuses to inhibit the promiscuity of Duke students after a hard week of classes.
* * *
Suit: We’d like to call a witness to the stand, Your Honor. The defense calls Katherine Harrison.
A freshman girl places her hand over an iPhone, with Safari open to a cached JuicyCampus thread.
Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Katherine: As much as I remember.
Suit: Could you please tell the jury what you did Thursday night?
Katherine: Well, we had a girl’s pregame in Katie’s room and listened to “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Got a Feeling” on repeat. Kathy brought Blueberry Smirnoff in Vitamin Water bottles. We took some pictures of ourselves in the mirror. Once I had four drinks, we...
Fratstar 2: Objection! Those pictures were not found on Facebook.
Katherine: Oh, I totally de-tagged them the next morning before I went to Alpine to get my Fro-Yo. I don’t want McKinsey seeing those.
Crowd chuckles and sighs in lament.
Judge: Overruled. It’s clear you have your priorities in order, sweetheart. Please continue.
Katherine: So then we went over to Charlie’s room in Edens and well, we all know that Kelsey totally has a thing for his roommate Mitch and well...
Suit: Katherine, dear, if you don’t mind, could we get to the case at hand? When did you get to Shooters?
Katherine: Around 12:30. I don’t really remember paying a cover... maybe it was that boy. Anyway I hooked up on the D-floor with this gorgeous guy from my EOS class. A slightly nervous look comes over her face as she glances worriedly at the iPhone and then back at the Suit. Well, actually we were closer to the entrance of the bathrooms. There were some security guards separating people that were too close on the D-floor. It was like Footloose or something.
The crowd chuckles at her reference and this puts a smile and sense of ease back in her expression.
Suit: And Katherine, dear, for the record, how were you feeling the next day?
Katherine snaps out of her search for friendly faces and fixes her eyes on some imaginary point at the back of the courthouse.
Katherine: The next morning I suffered from flu-like symptoms: runny nose and a cough.
Suit, smiling: Thank you. That will be all, honey.
* * *
ALE Officer: Yes, well, Matt was clearly intoxicated. I found him vomiting in the bathroom. When I confronted him, he proceeded to drop his bottle of Amstel Light, unzip his fly and piss all over the floor. I laughed before cuffing him up against the wall.
Laughter from the crowd. Fratstar 1 hands Fratstar 2 a piece of paper.
Fratstar 2: According to the numbers I have here, Shooters II has paid as much as $5,000 per night in fines to ALE. Is this correct?
ALE Officer: Yes, it is. The transaction costs of these fines has become so high we were at one point considering collecting money at the door, but we figured that would lead to a nasty round of downsizing in the office.
Fratstar 2: I see.
* * *
Suit: In conclusion, Your Honor, what we have here is a group of rowdy college students upset over the realities of a struggling economy and unwilling to accept the harsh changes they must impose on their hedonistic lifestyles. Facing mounting fines from North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement, Shooters II increased its prices to hire security that not only caught underage drinkers, but helped to stop the spread of an pandemic that could have wiped out the country.
Judge: Thank you. You certainly have lived up to your wardrobe. And now the plaintiff?
Fratstar 1: What we have here, Your Honor, is a case of exploitation. Our generation, suffering from social strains and intense pressures to perform at our best all the time, needs an outlet—somewhere to let loose at the end of a grueling week. Somewhere to feel every curve of a woman’s glistening body. We have a right to enter this place for a reasonable price and without fear of being separated from the cutie we saw at the Loop once, the one we finally got to make out with. To curtail this Guttentag-given freedom is to pull out the sweat-drenched Dionysian revelry that inconveniently supports our famously accomplished, yet under-touched student body.