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Cheap beer is akin to tap water.
It’s a free-for-all, but everyone should help pay the water bill.

Good beer is different.
Generally speaking, you can have one, perhaps two, without asking.

The Last Beer rule is inviolable.
The last beer of any pack goes to the buyer.

You may not crack the seal of a roommate’s bottle of good liquor.
Only he can open it. Then it’s fair game, so long as it’s left in the open.

You have the right to hide good liquor from your roommates.
Once the bars and liquor stores close, however, the household becomes a lifeboat adrift upon a wide and terrible sea and the hoarding of provisions will be frowned upon.

Stocking booze you know your roommates despise is a perfectly acceptable strategy.
It’ll stick around longer and if they do drink it—and they will—you may revel in their pain.

A socialist system, where roommates make a weekly pilgrimage to the liquor store to split the bill, appears utterly fair.
However, the roommate who hates single malt Scotch and loves Natty Ice may come away feeling cheated.

A free market system, where roommates buy whatever they want, is very convenient.
So long as you don’t mind being screwed.

If you reckon you’re buying the majority of the booze, feel free to behave in a lordly fashion.
Isn’t it wonderful that the peasants have such a generous master?

Every roommate will think he’s buying the majority of the booze.
You always remember buying booze. Drinking it—not so much.

Don’t think your roommate will be impressed that your magnificent drinking prowess allowed you to guzzle his entire handle of liquor in a single evening.
It’s akin to telling him you had to wreck his uninsured Porsche to win the weekly demolition derby.

A roommate cannot be held responsible for breaking something while drunk, so long as the owner of the object is also drunk.
So long as you’re both on the playing field, it’s a team foul.

Get a liquor pig.
A liquor pig is any container that can hold coins. At the end of the day, whatever change in your collective pockets goes into the liquor pig. When the pig is full—and only then—trade in the change and spend the sum entirely on alcohol. This serves to create a common goal and a sense of community spirit in the household.

The more roommates in the household, the less these rules will be followed.
Three or more roommates means you can always blame some other party for your shameful behavior.

Any and all of these rules can be overridden by standing treaties between roommates.
A life lesson to remember: if you’re playing by the rules someone is probably screwing you.

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Frank Kelly Rich
Editor/Publisher of Modern Drunkard Magazine.