If you’re the type to get sauced and open up your laptop, I’ve got a warning for you. And, no, it’s not that your drunken tweets and status updates are annoying and, frankly, embarrassing at this age, but that’s worth mentioning, too.
The problem is that you’re not only prolific on social media while your inhibitions are artificially lowered, you’re also more likely to go shopping. That’s a potential problem for you and a boon for retailers, according to a recent trend piece in the New York Times. As with any trend piece, this one toes the line between reporting reality and inventing reality, and by toeing the line between nonfiction and fiction, you can have a lot more fun.
Speaking to sources from Ohio, Brooklyn, and Australia, the Times concludes that people absolutely love online shopping especially when they’re hammered, and that retailers are responding by posting deals later on in the evening, when you’re more likely to be sozzled. The risk here is that you’ll buy something outrageously expensive with the very same ease that you reluctantly nod to your increasingly attractive bartender that, yes, you would like another round.
“While reliable data is hard to come by,” acknowledges the Times (which is likely what kicked this story back to trend piece territory), “retailers say they have their suspicions based on anecdotal evidence and traffic patterns on their websites — and some are adjusting their promotions accordingly.” Executives at both eBay and Gilt Groupe acknowledged that drinking likely plays a role in their traffic patterns, on record.
As someone who can only bring himself to purchase airplane tickets after a couple drinks, I’d have to agree that the Times story’s thesis might be worth considering; both the Internet and alcohol tend to lower inhibitions, and therefore is it not a completely reasonable fear that the two might pair up and facilitate some boneheaded purchases? They have worked in tandem to make countless regrettable tweets and blog comments, so why not purchases, too? As more and more retailers move to quicker payment options — ones that don’t require fumbling with credit cards and entering a 12-digit number — this seems like a reasonable premise, no matter how absurd it may be.
If a tightfisted man like myself is prone to decisions like this — even if it’s only for airplane tickets I already planned on buying — is there not significantly more money to be made off of those less mindful of their wallets?
If we believe the Times’ assertion that many sales are being pushed later into the night, or earlier into the morning, in an effort to capture this demographic, then we must come to the unfortunate conclusion that – for the first time ever in the history of the world – your drinking habit could become a financial liability! Imagine that!
Close That Tab
And here is the reason why you likely don’t have anything to worry about.
If you weren’t previously prone to making stupid purchases in general, it isn’t terribly likely that you’ll do so when you’re, as the British say, “tired and emotional” — it’s probably the going out and drinking itself that adds up. So while drunk shopping poses a threat for those prone both to impulsive shopping and compulsive drinking, there’s a more obvious budget line item here worth considering: booze. It’s expensive, especially when you leave the house to have it.
Don’t believe me? I challenge any sociable twenty-something living in a big city to sign up for a Mint.com account, see exactly what portion of their monthly budget goes towards nightlife activities, and not immediately reconsider every decision they have made in their lives.
So perhaps instead of installing a breathalyzer on your computer or making New Year’s resolutions to give up drinking entirely, if you care about your money, you should resolve to invite your friends over for a drink instead of going to the bar. Maybe cook them some food! You won’t have to deal with besotted strangers, and you won’t have to leave a tip. Plus, it’s cold! Make your friends come to you.
And best of all, with friends around, you probably won’t be shopping online, buying Groupons for Delaware beach getaways you’ll never actually take. And you’ll be forced to comply with resolution numbers two and three: to keep your apartment cleaner and learn how to cook. You’ll be a better friend, a better cook, and a better person. And you’ll save tons of money.