The men arrive at Tunnel nightclub. Bateman notices that all of the men outside are wearing tuxedos, with the exception of a single homeless beggar. Van Patten approaches the beggar, waving a dollar bill in front of his face and then whisking it away into his own pocket, laughing. McDermott is talking to Van Patten, complaining about Bateman’s distaste for the pizzas at Pastels. As he listens, Bateman fingers a blade in his pocket, imagining cutting and gutting McDermott right then and there. As they move into the club, the men take stock of the attractiveness of the women around them, joking about the ideal “hardbody” (“maybe a close personal acquaintance to Donald Trump”). McDermott comments that the club’s “skanky chicks” make him worry about disease, but Van Patten assures him they can’t catch that.
The scene outside of the nightclub – homeless beggars and rich men in tuxedos – amplifies the class differences at play in the novel. Bateman and his friends think people without money have such little value that, not only do they not care about them, they delight in tormenting them for their own sick entertainment. In this shocking introduction of the book’s theme of violence, Bateman suddenly contemplates the murder (an act he’s come prepared for) of one of his closest friends over an opinion on pizza. He has no affection for a friend in his inner circle and seems so disconnected from others that a small attack on his ego could illicit such violence from him. The comment that the ideal woman would be a friend of Donald Trump not only shows how much Bateman and his friends idolize Trump, but how much their opinion of a woman is tied to the men she hangs around (or sleeps) with.
Inside, McDermott and Van Patten take a pair of VIP passes they were given at the door and enter a private area. Bateman signals to Price that they should purchase cocaine; they go in search of Ted Madison, a drug dealer. After confusing a few other men for Madison, they find their man and make their purchase. The whole time, even when Bateman goes to get him a drink, Price has been mesmerized by a pair of lit-up train tracks that are a fixture of the underground nightclub. Eventually Bateman is able to pull him away, and the two head for the men’s room to do their drugs. Price is shaking just trying to open the envelope, and the two are shocked to find that they got less than they paid for. What’s more, when they try the drugs, they are incredibly disappointed in the quality. The two argue back and forth before using their platinum credit cards to quickly snort the entire gram.
Bateman and his friends have quite a partying habit; they’re big cocaine users when they’re at clubs and bars. Later on, however, this drug habit will spill over into other areas of Bateman’s life. Their experience buying the drugs shows both a level of entitlement and a lack of tact: they are shocked that they did not get the finest quality of drugs for their money. They believe that they deserve the best because they are able and willing to pay the most, however they’re wrong in this instance – the nightclub drug dealer seems willing to take full advantage of their affluence and rips them off.
Bateman brings them over to the bar, where he purchases them two new drinks – but the attractive bartender, whose university Bateman tries to guess, tells him his drink tickets are no longer valid. The music playing feels long, dull, and overbearing to Bateman. Price tells him that he’s “leaving,” and Bateman stumbles into Paul Owen, asking him about the Fisher account. Owen quickly runs off, spotting another colleague, and Bateman finds McDermott and Van Patten again. Suddenly, McDermott points to the tracks above the dance floor: there’s Price, standing above the crowd staring out. Bateman rushes as close to him as he can get, just in time to hear him shout “Goodbye! Fuckers!” It’s like no one else in the club notices. The three remaining friends quickly leave the nightclub. They attempt to make plans for the next day, but all of their schedules are packed.
This is another instance of Bateman thinking his status can get him more than it can: the drink tickets he’s been given, which should entitle him to a free drink, are useless after a certain hour. Even though he’s special enough to have a drink ticket, his status only goes so far in the club. Price’s moment up above the club on the train tracks is a strange, almost-hallucinatory moment. The evening’s drinking and drug use could be either the cause of Price’s behavior or of Bateman and McDermott seeing what they see – after all, no one else seems to.