Double Eleven and shopping under the influence? Cheers to that!
I don’t enjoy shopping, but I do enjoy drinking. And a few recent purchases have proved an interest in the latter makes the former way more fun. When several pairs of novelty sunglasses arrived at my apartment it got me thinking about the highs and lows of drunken retail therapy. Not least of all with the world’s largest online shopping event culminating this weekend. But is it all a bit of fun, or is there a dark side to shopping under the influence?
Double Eleven (November 11) is a major online shopping festival in China, similar to Black Friday in the US or Boxing Day in the UK. Basically, retailers offer huge discounts and consumers go wild. In 2022, the total sales during the shopping festival reached 1.115 trillion yuan (US$155 billion). Shoppers buy just about anything from gadgets and home appliances to beauty brands and luxury goods. Much like a tipsy night out, the allure makes even the most rational shopper feel like a reckless bargain-hunter.
Throw in a few cocktails and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. I don’t claim we’re all legless on November 11, but studies show people spend more under the influence. We’re more impulsive when we drink. We’re less likely to consider the long-term consequences of a one-night stand, let alone a dishwasher.
I’ve made some of my best decisions after two and a half glasses of something cold and bubbly. Had I not been tipsy, I wouldn’t own vintage Estee Lauder earrings, a record player or two miniature schnauzers. We just need to forget about the time I blotto bought 11.5 pounds of cheese and purposefully purchased a latex mini dress that would make a stripper blush.
Pre-Internet we were pretty limited to how we could spend money when drunk, but now the only thing between us and financial ruin is a corkscrew and decent Internet connection.
It’s not just me enjoying myself, this pastime has its own hashtags. @BeanSaya bought a year’s supply of acrylic nails, and @Heeatheradair bought a trip to Waikiki.
And a survey of my real-life friends revealed that many enjoy shopping online after a Pinot or three. Jay accidentally bought 35 miniature top hats for his bullfrog, Bo bought a ceramic skull, and Sarah paid an eye-watering amount on eBay for a Nicholas Cage pillowcase. She still loves it.
Americans do it best. Industrial experts estimate the US drunk-shopping market is worth US$50 billion — though how you get accurate information from a bunch of inebriates is beyond me. One study found that Americans spent some US$14 billion on drunk shopping in the past year, with each person spending an average US$309 per spree.
The figures are no surprise. What could be more fun than hitting the virtual shops after four margaritas, when everything feels like a fantastic idea and money is no object? Mel gets it (but doesn’t recall): “I don’t remember eating a cheeseburger or spending one thousand pounds today, so I’m going back to bed to pretend it didn’t happen.”
There are worse things you could do drunk than buy a novelty shower curtain. But isn’t there something soberingly dangerous about all this?
Drunk shopping, much like an ill-advised late-night message to an ex, often leads to remorse. We might make purchases we later regret, or accidentally give out sensitive information on sketchy websites. Taken to an extreme, drunk shopping could lead to riskier behavior like drunk driving as inhibition for risk-taking decreases. This is all aside from a series of nasty hangovers and a lighter wallet. Forget asking for your password, maybe Taobao should make us blow into a breathalyzer before allowing us to buy anything.
Where does that leave us? Probably somewhere boring like moderation; something I’m working on. Just as enjoying a glass of champagne adds sparkle to life, our digital shopping adventures can be equally enjoyable when approached with balance. Drunk shopping, like any indulgence, comes with its share of regrets. It’s a reminder that the impulse of any moment doesn’t always align with our long-term desires, but it can reflect parts of our personality.
The best bit about drunk shopping is forgetting what you’ve bought. Whatever arrives is like a lovely little gift from your drunken self. And who doesn’t like being showered with stuff? So, cheers to a world where online indulgences are as delightful as they are discerning.
With that said, pour me another?
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