Supriya Yelimeli / Daily Nexus

A staple of the student body’s diet is the food of Chipotle knock-off, Freebirds. The establishment hosts a variety of pseudo-Mexican foods like burritos, tacos and quesadillas. As one could guess based on the restaurant’s popularity, many find the food delicious — irresistible even. So irresistible that many wish to patronize Freebirds late at night in an inebriated state. Therein lies the hard-hitting story of how Freebirds, a pillar of Isla Vista eateries, began overcharging students too drunk to notice.

This indelible infraction is one step too far. When I finally decided that enough was enough, I went around campus to uncover the truth and see what students think about the scandal I hoped to create.

The consensus was immediate: Everyone knew that Freebirds overcharged drunk students. At this point it had become part of school lore, an unwritten right of passage for new students. One student we talked to claimed to have multiple receipts that prove she was overcharged multiple times when she went drunk.

However, she, along with the others affected, said they are fine with it. It seems that students on campus not only know about Freebirds’ overcharging, but also are content with inaction.

I wasn’t, however, so in a bold step for my investigation I sent a fellow reporter undercover to Freebirds drunk to see if he would be overcharged. This portion of the investigation started with him drinking a few beers, but quickly spiraled out of control and lead to him drinking Bailey’s out of a shoe.

With my subject drunk, the task of getting to Freebirds commenced. I wasn’t quite sure that my friend — I mean subject — was drunk enough, but my doubts quickly vanished when during the walk to the dining establishment he almost fought a bum in an alley that smelled like industrial grade laundry detergent.

To save the integrity of the investigation and my subject’s face, I was able to pull him away and get him to Freebirds safely. Outside, I instructed him to make the only right choice and get the nachos with chicken. From the window I watched as he hobbled in and ordered his food.

Predictably, he messed up and instead got a veggie burrito bowl like some sort of communist, but the food was not the goal of the mission — the receipt was. I looked at it to see that contrary to popular belief he was charged the correct amount. It seems that in this instance a drunk patron was not overcharged. That being said, the amount of people who say they have is too big to ignore. While this article has ended, my investigation to uncover the truth hasn’t. I will not stop until Freebirds no longer overcharges students just because they are tossed as fuck.


Lukas Abetie moonlights as both a detective and a Freebired quality assurance analyst.