Five Dollar

Five Dollar - JTIt’s funny the way people flock to a good deal in America. I think to myself all the time, “They’re having a sale, I have to at least browse” when in reality I wouldn’t even be in that store to begin with.

While at the beach with friends, I noticed a tent being set up. “Normal”, I thought. “It’s a beach, people want shade.” Laying on my stomach, lifting my head every few minutes to catch a breath of sea air, I noticed that beach patrons were attracted to the tent. They were swarming like bees around a hive; holding fresh dollar bills in their hands, ready to hand over. My friends and I started to question what was happening over there – “maybe a stripper?” giggled my gay best friend.

A scrawny boy, maybe 15 years old, walked over to the beach towels to the right of us where his friends were sprawled out. Sipping a straw from a coconut, he handed it over to the high schoolers next to him, and with the goofiest grin I’ve ever seen, shouted, “Try it! There’s vodka in it!”

I started laughing, primarily because the splendor of this kid’s obvious first drink was hilarious, but also because the man at the tent clearly was not checking ID’s. The coconut drink seller also discernibly did not obtain a liquor license, which made the situation captivating when the beach police started lurking.

45 minutes later, a Long Island police car drove up onto the sand and emptied every container at the tent, disassembled the overhead sun protection, and escorted the man into the cop car. While watching the entire breakdown, my friends and I realized the method of the man’s selling process – he was mixing fruit juice inside of a coconut, and adding a shot-sized bottle of alcohol. The price to tan, bikini lad girls and guys? $5, pocket change.

We gaggle to good deals, sometimes so much that I think the concept of saving money is psychologically ingrained into our thinking patterns. Even if we know it’s wrong, we will still hand over cash in order to save some in the long run. Both wrong and right at the same time, debatably.

By Chelsea Buranich
Photo taken by Jason Tompa

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