Retail Websites Admit They Sort Of Encourage Drunk-Buying

Alcohol doesn’t make you do anything. But a few glasses of wine sure can quiet that voice in the back of your head that tries to tell you, “We don’t actually need that Tim Tebow Fathead wall sticker,” or whatever regrettable impulse buy you might be on the verge of making. And online retailers admit that those occasional after-work happy hours or the extra couple of drops of vodka in your homemade Bloody Mary that sometimes work out to their benefit.

The president of e-tailer Gilt Groupe tells the NY Times that it is adding more late-night sales (i.e., post-9 p.m.), because, “Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying.”

Meanwhile eBay’s VP for mobile tells the paper that intoxication is “absolutely” a factor in the fact that the auction site’s busiest hours are between 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in each time zone. “[I]f you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood,” he says.

The Times also rounds up some recent online sales that could be taking advantage of a buyer’s post-work buzz:

from 6 to 9 p.m., a limited-quantity sale on fashions at Neiman Marcus; at 7:38 p.m., a promotion for three-day stays at Loews hotels; at 8:44 p.m., a promotion by Gilt for macaroons and faux-fur blankets; and at 2:23 a.m., an offer by Saks for a $2,000 gift card with purchase.

We wanted to see how easily swayed by ethyl alcohol our readers were, so here’s a poll to respond to while you’re hopefully still sober:

Online Merchants Home in on Imbibing Consumers [NY Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Does Craig’s List adult services count? Wait, wait, my vote was:

    I’ve never bought, but I’ve come close to making an intoxicated impulse buy

  2. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever drunk bought anything but boredom has pushed me toward making purchases many times.

    Spending money is like taking a good hit and when it’s Saturday night and you’re bored – Amazon comes a callin’.

    Drunk/bored spending is just like a booty call, you promise yourself you won’t do it but cave in the end anyway.

  3. comedian says:

    Man With Complete Mama’s Family Video Library Never Going On eBay Drunk Again,1592/

  4. Cat says:

    It’s just a damn good thing for me that the internets weren’t invented in 1979.

  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Uhhh, wouldn’t eBay’s busiest times be because the auction ends XX many days after it is started, usually at the same time it is listed?

    • JeremieNX says:

      For eBay, I always “stalk” the auction and NEVER bid until the last few seconds.

    • pk says:

      Most eBay items have a “Buy it Now” option these days.

    • madanthony says:

      I typically list auctions at night, because I have a day job and that’s when I have time to list stuff. Despite eBay’s attempts to pretend they are a mainstream retailer, I suspect that a large portion of their sellers are part-timers/hobbyists like me who list at the same time.

  6. dakeypoo says:

    One of my buddies went to a boat show drunk. He ended up buying a $30,000 boat, and didn’t remember a thing the next day. Still has the boat.

    • BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

      That makes me laugh… well done drunk buddy, well done.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      Seems like that should have been some sort of sign to him to stop drinking.

    • TorontoConsumer says:

      Around Christmas, my father’s accountant got drunk and bought everyone in his firm (around a dozen people) one of those mini ovens you see sold on informercials late at night as gifts. Apparently he didn’t tell anyone the true reason they got such strange gifts, just handed them out without explanation.

  7. Tiffymonster says:

    Never drunk bought anything, probably since I can count the number of times I drink a year on one hand and even then its just 1 drink but I did go through a deal obsession period with one of the major hot deals sites and found myself purchasing plenty of really stupid things that I didnt need because they were 80% off. Anyone need a pizza oven?

  8. TouchMyMonkey says:

    When I’m drinking, I’m usually watching TV, not surfing eBay.

  9. The Lone Gunman says:

    My guess is that when drunk-buying, porn would be at the top of the list–primarily after the bars close in the wee hours of the morning.

    • Cat says:

      “The Lone Gunman”
      It all makes sense now.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Pssh… I can do a lot of things drunk if I’m really used to them while sober (not using cars or heavy machinery- I mean like the routine of getting ready for bed or using my computer). This means I can find free virus-free porn even if I’m falling down from 3 AMFs and a few spare shots.

  10. SmokeyBacon says:

    I haven’t drunk bought anything because I kind of just go from ok to sick without the fun drunk part most of the time. So looking at the computer at that point just sounds barf inducing. I never would have thought to go online and shop while drinking (which is probably a good thing).

  11. CubeRat says:

    One Christmas, when my sis-in-law’s meds were being adjusted, we all got these huge gift boxes filled with lots of gourmet treats. Family members just thought our brother had run out of time and did mass internet purchase/mailing. He didn‚Äôt know anything about it until he started getting all the thank you notes and calls. Then he checked his cc bill; she had ordered over 50 of these for family/friends. When my brother called the company, they still had quite a few orders pending because they didn‚Äôt have the complete address for mailing. (Those, he was able to cancel).

    We didn’t find out the truth until the next family reunion when my sis-in-law told us she was no longer allowed to use the computer if her meds were being adjusted. LOL

    • BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

      Wow! That’s impressive. Hiding debit card from husband now, just in case he breaks a leg later today.

    • sadie kate says:

      I have to hide my husband’s computer after he’s taken his Ambien for the same reason.

  12. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Perhaps I am naive, but I don’t think evening buying means drunk buying. Those are the hours I am usually on my computer regardless of whether I have drank anything or not. I bet a lot of people do their internet surfing at those hours, as well. You’re home from work, you’ve had dinner and you’re looking for something to do before you go to bed. Oh look, there’s the internet.

    It’s silly to tie things together that aren’t necissarily related.

    • Misha says:

      Yeah, this is pretty much what I was going to say. Being home from work doesn’t mean it’s necessarily yay happy drunk times. It means I’m home from work and killing some time on the internet.

  13. iamjustjules says:

    I had a friend who setup his Amazon account for 1-click + next-day delivery, that way when he did drunk-order he wouldn’t wait for a week to get the object, he could either have it and love it or hate it and send it back.

  14. balthisar says:

    I wouldn’t have bought all of my movie posters for the basement if I’d not been buzzed. If I’d been sober, I’d not have all of my movie posters, so that’s WIN!

  15. knackeredmom says:

    My brother often made Ambien-fueled purchases. He lived alone and had a lot of trouble sleeping. He took Ambien nightly, and he would often wake to find Amazon confirmations in the printer.

    I often benefitted when he would purchase a DVD or book he already owned, but I really think that Ambien should be taken only with a watcher/sitter.

  16. Snip says:

    There’s buzz buying, and there’s drunk binge buying. I’ll buy that buzz buying is lucrative for retailers, but I have seen the records of drunk binge buyers, and they tend to be a long line of big purchases followed by cancelations. How is that anything but a waste of the retailer’s resources?

  17. Darkneuro says:

    I window-shop when I drink.