Boozing and buying - FOX 13 News

Boozing and buying

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

How about some fine wine while you go online, or a minty mojito at the mall?

"When I was younger I did that.  I loved to have a drink in the afternoon with a cup of coffee and then maybe a little sweet drink and then go shopping," confessed Lisa Cantrell.

Gone are the days of browsing and buying.  It's now boozing and buying.

"Went to Cheesecake Factory and had some lunch, had a beer and then went to H&M and got some new stuff," Jessica Corr said.

Guilt-free shopping isn't as easy in a tough economy.  Some shoppers say they need a little liquid courage.

"I think you're a little less hesitant and a little more carefree and can make decisions a little easier."

And retailers are taking notice, according to the University of Tampa's Marketing Professor Erika Matulich.

"I think everybody knows that when you have a special event and you do serve wine or other alcoholic beverages, people are going to be more likely to shop," she explained.

However, a drinking and shopping binge can often lead to buyer's remorse.

"Shoes normally," Jessica said, "And then normally they're not the right size or because you can't try them on and it's kind of an impulse thing."

Lisa said, "I shopped stuff that I never used, ever and I couldn't bring it back so my closet is full."

It's retail therapy you may regret, but unlike that nasty hangover, the stores are more forgiving.

"Many retailers now have a return policy where you don't have to specify why you're returning something and that might be part of the reason."

Look beyond the stores into the online world and the news is anything but sobering. Sales are soaring.

The New York Times revealed how online merchants hone in on imbibing consumers. eBay's busiest time is 6:30-10:30 p.m. in all time zones.

When an eBay executive was asked if drinking was a factor, he answered "Absolutely!"

"They might be drunk, they might be stressed out, they might be angry, so people shop to relieve stress and people shop to entertain themselves, so being drunk is just one of those parts of it.

Some shoppers seem to have the right strategy.

"I like to shop with all my awareness so that I can maintain all my money," said shopper Marlin Johnson.

It's something Lisa Cantrell learned as she got older.  She's got this tip for tipsy shoppers.

"I drink the cocktail after shopping.  Makes more sense," she said.

We reached out to one of our largest locally based retailers, the Home Shopping Network.  They said they're not noticing the trend of drinking and shopping at all. They say most of their sales happen during the daytime and not late at night like some of those late night impulse buying online sales.


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