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How Was Your Weekend? - Turning Small Talk Into Real Talk

By Kristen Krebs

Students who participated in UMD's Pub Crawl last Friday had some interesting responses to classmates' polite small talk on Monday morning. Nick Vetsch captured a small audience as he explained to his classmates that the students were stranded when the scheduled bus ride home never showed up.

Time: 8 a.m.
Day: Tuesday
Class: Conflict Management
Student #1- How was your weekend?
Student #2- I went on the Pub Crawl with a bunch of my buddies and the bus never came back to get anybody. There were a bunch of drunken kids sitting outside Frankie's at 2:00 a.m. waiting for a ride home.

It was 2 a.m. and Vetsch was sitting outside on a sidewalk in Superior. He thought back to the ten dollars he paid to participate in UMD's Pub Crawl, which included a ride to Frankie's Tavern in Superior (check), a blue t-shirt to commemorate the event (check), and a ride back home (….).

The irony of the situation had slapped him across the face. His rationale for participating in the Pub Crawl was the guaranteed ride home after the night of drinks.

After bar hopping on Tower Avenue in Superior, Nick and his crew ended up back at Frankie's. At 1:30 a.m. Vetsch cleared up his tab at Frankie's and joined his girlfriend outside to wait for the first of two bus successions.

The first bus was to come at 1:30 and pick up at least half of the students. The second rotation was to pick up the remaining students just after 2:00 a.m., when the bars closed.

Vetsch and the group intending to ride the 1:30 bus waited on the sidewalk outside the bar, joking about the bus not showing up. After about 15 minutes Vetsch and his crew gave up and joined the others on the crawl back inside Frankie's.

At that point, Vetsch was still optimistic about the night. He and other pub crawlers decided they would wait until the bar closed and take the 2:00 bus instead. He drank a couple more beers and ignored the fact that his guaranteed (and paid for) ride had not yet come.

“When the bar closed reality set in because they literally kicked us out on the street, and there was no bus to pick us up? Vetsch said.

They waited for a while, maybe because they were hanging on to hope that the bus was still coming, or maybe because their state of intoxication prevented them from taking further action.

As he sat on the sidewalk, Vetsch looked around and remembered they were all wearing the same shirt. Eighty blue shirts unified a group of eighty drunken students waiting for a ride that was never going to come.

“We were all joking about how we were going to get home and then we actually had to make a decision? Vetsch said.

Vetsch ended up calling his older brother, who agreed to drive from Duluth to Superior to pick up Vetsch and a couple of his friends, despite being woken from sleep.

“He felt bad for us,? Vetsch said.

Erbert's and Gerbert's, across the street from Frankie's Tavern, housed most of the pub crawlers as they waited for their rides home. Almost everyone bought a sandwich while they waited.

After 2:30 a.m., cabs began to line up outside the restaurant and the crowd of blue shirts began to get smaller.

As Vetsch compared his two rides of the night he said the way to the bar, on the bus, was careless and fun, the ride home with his brother was explanatory and apologetic.

Although he didn’t make it home until 3:15 and it was not by way of a bus, Vetsch did return safely, accomplishing the purpose of the Pub Crawl.

The Pub Crawl was sponsored by the UMD Student Association. When contacted, a representative gave the following information about the night's mishap.

The Student Association hired one bus company to pick the students up and different one to drop them off. The reason for this is that the company that brought students to the bars did not want to, for insurance reasons, have to drop off students at more than one location when returning to Duluth.

The Student Association confirmed the trip with both companies earlier in the week. However, on the night of the event the company that was supposed to pick up students from Superior had a scheduling error. They took complete responsibility for the mishap, and are in the process of arranging a reimbursement from the company so that they are able to refund part of the student’s ten dollar fee.