Binge Spending: Why Money & Alcohol Don’t Mix

Marisa Torrieri
Posted

binge spendingOn a random Saturday night in November, Fairfield, Conn., Jon Renner, 28, had no plans—but he did have a bottle of vodka and a Wi-Fi connection. So he poured himself a glass, kicked back and decided to indulge in some “me” time.

A couple of drinks later, he found himself watching a professional video game player on YouTube lead a tutorial on the game “Hitman: Absolution.”

“I was watching him play, and after a while I was like, ‘Wow, this seems like a game I could really get into,’ ” says Renner, who works in the music industry. He proceeded to log into his Amazon account, add it to his cart and buy a couple of CDs too.

“I was feeling happy,” he says. “When you’re a little drunk, you feel confident, you feel like everything’s a great idea. So I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to buy this!’ ”

After putting the game and CDs into his cart, Amazon suggested other games in the series he might like—so he bought those too. Total cost: about $70.

“I slept on it, then I woke up, looked at my emails and was like, ‘Oh, crap, I did that last night?’ ” he recalls.

While Renner’s most recent financial damage wasn’t severe, he admits he also bought a plane ticket for $350 online—after a couple of cocktails—to see a friend in another state. And his experience highlights the ease with which we may tend to spend once we’ve had a bit to drink.

Retailers, too, have caught onto this slippery slope: In fact, Saks, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters have all applied for liquor licenses to incorporate bars into their retail environment, according to recent news reports. In the past year, Nordstrom doubled its food-service operations, which includes a full bar, as well as six new lounges and restaurants.

But the consequences of shopping under the influence can be costly, as those who’ve had to examine their banking statements after a bender can attest.

The Haul: What Happens When We Shop Drunk

Of course we all have wants: The problem with shopping and drinking is that it can make us infinitely more impulsive.

RELATED: Shopping Secrets of Department Store Workers

For Elizabeth Croydon, 43, a comedian and movie maker from Washington, D.C., it only took a couple of Grey Goose vodka and olive martinis before the urge to spend set in on her recent visit to NYC.