How to stimulate consumer spending

Bars can get in legal trouble when they over-serve patrons who then get a DUI citation. But what about retail outfits that contribute to SUI – Shopping Under the Influence?

Bars can get in legal trouble when they over-serve patrons who then get a DUI citation. But what about retail outfits that contribute to SUI – Shopping Under the Influence?

Luxury stores, art galleries, and such have long used booze to stimulate sales. They pour free wine and other libations for their high-end customers, hoping that a lubricated shopper will be less guarded and more willing to reach for that platinum card.

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But the New York Times reports that the tactic of getting shoppers buzzed has now gone mass market, especially among on-line retailers. As one of them gleefully put it: “Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping and, hopefully, healthy impulse buying!” Great – our society has advanced from alcohol-induced sex to alcohol-induced consumerism.

In either case, the morning after can be a downer. Take the guy who quaffed a tub of beer one night. He stumbled home in a stupor and, stupidly, went online. When he awoke, he learned that he’d bought a $10,000 motorcycle tour of New Zealand.

Internet retailers say there’s been a boom in night traffic. Asked if boozy buying splurges might be sparking the increase, an eBay executive exclaimed, “Absolutely!” Noting that eBay’s busiest sales period in every time zone is 6:30 pm to 10:30, he happily summed up the reason for this: “When [people] get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood.”

Barack Obama should jump on this. We’re told that to get America’s economy moving again, consumers need to buy more stuff. Forget trying to pass a stimulus package or a jobs program. To stimulate, inebriate! Just send everyone a credit card, a book of drink coupons, and a list of late-night on-line marketers. Then stand back and wait for the buzz to create a boom.

“That online shopping buss might’ve come from a bottle,” Austin American Statesman, December 28, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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