Drunk shopping. It’s a thing.
With online stores open 24/7, it’s becoming more of a thing, and it has the potential to do even more damage to your bank account.
It’s one thing to stumble around the convenience store after the bars close, shoving Funyuns and Slim Jims into your basket. It’s quite another to fumble through eBay and bid $86,000 on a boat.
Yes, that really happened.
Two people I know, after overindulging at a North Tonawanda bar and grill, hatched a brilliant plan together. They would split the cost of a big old cruiser, and then they would share the boat. Heck, why stop there? They would live on the boat, too! Because why not? I love you, man.
Well, the next day, they sobered up. The appeal of nautical life was gone and the regret was palpable. There was nothing left to do but sit and watch that auction like hawks, praying someone would outbid them (which someone thankfully did).
And they’re not the only ones who have shopped while intoxicated. Turns out one of my friends bought a trumpet online (he hadn’t played since fourth grade, but decided at that point in the night it was time to give it another try). My friend, Nicole, put an entire living room furniture set and top-of-the-line mattress on layaway. And my friend, Dee Dee, has impulsively purchased hermit crabs, a bird and a pop-up camper while buzzed.
Another friend, Krista, bought all of Shel Silverstein’s books and the entire “Gilmore Girls” TV series on DVD during a now-fuzzy trip through Walmart. She decided against buying the beef jerky she really wanted, though, fearing it would be a dead giveaway that she was tipsy, and would land her in the slammer for public drunkenness.
Surprisingly, I don’t have any stories like that, and I’m not just saying that because my pastor’s wife reads my column. (I have, however, ordered leggings in my sleep and once submitted an entire grocery order when the phone app opened up in my purse.)
But lest you think drunk shopping is a phenomenon restricted to my debauched friend group, I offer you results from an annual survey of 2,001 people by Pureprofile for finance and services website Finder.com.
It found that 46 percent of drinking-age adults who indulge regularly make purchases while under the influence.
Of those shoppers, roughly 61 percent said they spend on food, about 25 percent said they’ve bought shoes or clothes and another roughly 25 percent said they’ve spent on gambling. Another common drunk purchase? More booze.
Sometimes, intoxicated shoppers buy all of those things at once. Like my friend, Kelly, who once bought a scratch-off ticket at 7-Eleven, won $500 and celebrated by continuing on down Elmwood Avenue, having dinner, hitting more bars and buying three pairs of shoes.
And as much as people like to make fun of millennials, the Generation Xers surveyed spent three times as much on drunk purchases as millennials did.
Even if you’re stone cold sober, online shopping poses its own host of dangers when it comes to impulse control and overspending. It used to be that we were at least limited by distance, or the hours a store was open. Now, we can go on shopping sprees from our couches, even raise our credit card limits or transfer bank funds with a couple of clicks.
Obviously, if chronic drinking is a problem, get help. Otherwise, use a plugin like Icebox or StayFocusd, or an app like SelfControl to give your willpower an assist during happy hour.