Retailers Making it Easier for SWI:  Shopping While Intoxicated

But every mommy does it!  So it’s ok if I do it too!!  And by “it” I mean “Shopping Under the Influence”.  Maybe some of us do it so much or so often, that it’s not even considered as something “bad”, “abnormal “ or “unusual”.  And in fact, even The New York Times has recently “discovered” this “latest trend” and reported on this little nugget of joy in an oft-cited article (although, with all due respect, reverence and submission to The New York Times, The Onion actually beat y’all to the punch by about 13 years). 

Apparently, in the “Grass is Green and Water is Wet” school of thought, retailers have learned that their sites’ traffic patterns increase after work and are even starting to target their promotional sales offerings later in the evening.  Retailers are attributing this phenomenon to “drinking while clicking”.  Ignore (please) that other and less anecdotal reasons for increased sales in the evening hours might just consist of: being at home, not working, and/or the kids have finally shut the fuck up and have gone to sleep.  Other than that, it MUST be because of the alcohol.  So let’s pretend that inebriation is the root cause.

Why does this feel so good?  This is easy.  There are several reasons:

1.     The feeling of being productive.  You came home, you drank and then you did something!  Otherwise, drinking while just sitting around doing the house and doing nothing already has its own phrase (since Shopping Under the Influence is now taken).  That phrase is  “Alcoholism”.  And by God, that is NOT YOU!!  “Can an alcoholic do this??” (Soft clicking sound made by your delicate little mouse or the swipe of your trackpad is heard in the background).  “Hell no.  So there!  That’s not me!”

2.     The wonderful little surprise you get in the mail either the next day or the next week (anecdotally speaking, I would suspect that the speed of your selected shipping method is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed.  I’m guessing a Correlation Coefficient of 1.0.  Call it the “Drinker's Correlation of Shipping Speed Law”.  Consider it a gift from to your sober self from your drunken self.

3.     The feeling of making a GOOD choice – “Look! You judgmental little bastards!  I drank, I didn’t get behind the wheel of a car AND I just contributed to this great country’s economic recovery and growth!”  Additionally, this is a much better alternative than doing something really crazy and stupid like drinking and dialing/texting your ex.  Alternatively, think about the typical ways woman can get into trouble while they are out on the town and tying one on:  unprotected sex, STDs, pregnancy, assault . . . etc.  On a risk-equivalency scale, this approaches watching Fantasia at home with your kids during one of their many sick days.

 However, where there are pros, there must be cons, and I do see the downside (for which I will shoo away with the appropriate rebuttal):

1.     The potential negative financial impact – buying things you can’t afford.  Phooey.  With the exception of eBay (and even then you can always e-mail the seller the next day with a mea culpa), almost every PHYSICAL item (obviously not porn) you buy online can be returned (except for maybe whatever one guy bought while SWI who later Tweeted, “I drunk a bit last night, stayed up too late watching election, went online shopping and may have accidentally bought Greece.”)  If this “trend” continues, maybe we can expect to see new “Reasons for Return” options on our shipping labels including, but not limited to:

   ¨ Size

   ¨ Color

   ¨ Fit

   ¨ Damaged

   ¨ Just Didn’t Like It

   ¨ The Wine Made Me Do It

2.     The painful blow to the ego that results when your “purchase” consists of a membership and all of your messages and “winks” to perfect strangers have, days later, gone unreturned and/or unreciprocated.

3.     That’s all I could think of.

In some blog post somewhere at some time, I read that Gmail has a feature you can enable that helps you from sending an e-mail when you've had too much to drink by presenting you with five basic math problems to solve within 60 seconds before it will allow to you actually “Send”.  This SEEMS like a simple solution towards preventing drinkers from accidentally making purchases.  However, I also read that it's easier to disable this “security” feature rather than to solve the math problems.  Oh well.  “A” for effort.

Should we consider “Shopping While Intoxicated” an example of, or a commentary on, the overall level of the degradation of our materialistic, consumerist and capitalistic society??  Are we so far gone that we are now combining our addictions – drinking and shopping??  If so, what is the solution??  Instead of handing over your car keys, do you hand over your credit card??  What about people (like me) who have their credit card number (and expiration date and security code) memorized?  Should they only Shop while Intoxicated with a friend who has good taste (pun intended)?  Should we be attaching a Breathalyzer to our computer’s USB port so that all e-mail, social networking and retailers’ online sites can’t be accessed unless you blow less than a 0.08??  Or, should we just form a “support” group (possibly something called “Chicks, Clicks and Hics”) in which we secretly enable each other by sharing links??

Charities figured this out years ago – combine alcohol and a sense of friendly (bitchy) competition and you get higher bids and greater profits on auction items.  Just go to an opening at an art gallery.  Wine and Champaign?  Yes!  Diet Coke and Potato Chips??  Not so much. Casinos . . . .well, that’s a no brainer.  Steve Wynn is a billionaire.  

© Two too smart, smartass mommies 2011