I would argue in favor of lowering the drinking age for the next 754 words if I could, but this isn’t Public Speaking and I’m one fake I.D. over that law by now (just kidding, officer).
However, being an estimated 12 months away from walking into a bar legally is a frustrating place to be. During Christmas break of my freshman year my mom asked, “So, how’s the ‘Ville?” I then had to remind her that 3.2 percent beer was outlawed for 18-year-olds decades ago.
But this brings up a good point. She asked what I thought of Aggieville, and I couldn’t tell her because I hadn’t been. Sure, I had gone to a couple of the shops and eaten at Kite’s maybe once. But other than that, I had no idea what Aggieville was like – especially at night. And neither did my law-abiding peers.
Sure, there are a handful of opportunities for minors in Aggieville, like at Johnny Kaw’s, Dirty Dawgs and Tubby’s where they ask for a cover charge and mark an “X” on your hands with a sharpie.
K-State is a prime business opportunity for bars and restaurants in Aggieville to stay minor-friendly.
There are 23 bars in Aggieville. Only three out of those 23 accept minors’ business, and two out of those three only do so on select times and days of the week. So, let’s do some math. Traditional freshman and sophomore students are between the ages of 18-20. This means that, based on K-State’s 2014 fall enrollment statistics, roughly 40 percent of students have access to 11.5 percent of the fun in Aggieville on most weekend nights. That also means that 88.5 percent of the Aggieville bars are missing out on 40 percent (roughly) of the potential student customers K-State has to offer.
Granted, minors can’t buy alcohol and, from a business perspective, that might not seem like a risk worth taking. However, the demand is high. The Union Programming Council movies are great and house parties can be cool, but freshmen are finally out from under the wings of their parents. They want to play with the big dogs now, and they are willing to pay.
If bars allowed minors entry on weekend nights and required a $5-$10 cover charge, that’s $5-$10 straight profit for every minor walking through the door. Once you account for product, labor and potential overhead, a lot of legal customers don’t offer that much dough. Soon enough you’ll be making enough to hire someone to clean up the vomit for you, managers. Think about it.
Not only do minors like pretending we’re big kids, but we like to eat. We may not be able to order Fireball Whisky, but we like cheese balls. More money for you, bars, as long as the kitchen is open.
We also have friends. And siblings. And parents. On more than 13.5 accounts throughout my first two years as a K-State student, I’ve had a friend or family member come to visit on the weekends. After the sun sets, my age restricts our social opportunities to the movie theater or house parties. Mom doesn’t like house parties; there’s no frozen margaritas.
Since Aggieville is one business district altogether, attracting minors at night is a good way to reel them in during the day. The more minors traffic Aggieville’s sidewalks, the more likely they are to come back to buy a bouquet for their friend’s birthday that they saw in ACME Gift’s window last Saturday night.
Last week, I was talking with friends about Halloween costumes and mentioned that we should go check out Rockstar and Rogers. They asked who Roger is. (I forgot the store had recently moved, but regardless, my friends still hadn’t heard of it until now.) They said they didn’t know about the store because they had never traveled father than Varsity Donuts into the Aggieville.
Allowing minors into bars is a prime moneymaking opportunity for all Aggieville establishments. Yeah, the Bluemont Hotel is cool, but I bet more freshmen girls would rather go to a bar on Saturday night than the football season-ticket holding alumni staying in that ridiculously nice hotel. Aggieville could benefit from the money minors bring, and they should be accommodated too.
Laura Meyers is a sophomore in mass communications.