Friday, April 3, 2009

Stores liquor you up to increase your spending

Free champagne at Nordstroms sounds simply divine, doesn't it? Purchasing $1,000 handbags, $300 designer scarves and obscenely priced cosmetics may not be what you're used to ... but would you feel differently after five glasses of champagne? Would your frugal tendencies be a little more uninhibited with all those wonderful little bubbles going straight to your head, clouding any budgetary judgement you've tried sticking to?

Stores like Nordstroms have been doing this for awhile (you need to be one of their "2nd level shoppers" or whatever it's called, yours truly is in the club), but it seems that offering alcohol to shoppers is a growing trend by retailers to decrease your rationality, increase your impulsivity and at least make you linger longer than normal.

In a Wall Street Journal article specifically dealing with male shoppers, "The recession is driving stores to search for anything that gives them even a small edge over rivals. And generally slower traffic gives sales staff more time to offer drinks and talk with shoppers."

According to one storeowner quoted in the story, "Offering alcohol puts men at ease. I wanted it to be like you're going to your best guy friend's house, a guy friend who has great style." Um, yeah, but your best guy friend isn't deceptively making their home more inviting so that you'll shell over $300 for a new pair of jeans. If so, then that's one expensive drink.

FYI, the cost of purchasing alcohol for stores is minimal, especially compared to other brand-building efforts like advertising, so I get it, it works. And I really can't complain when someone offers me a free cocktail, but it's just something to be mindful of if your spending is already out of control.

As Love said (after reading the WSJ article): "If I only had $200 for a pair of jeans, then I too could have a beer (wait a minute . . . )".


FB @ said...

Can't you go, drink and then pull a pouty face and say "No thanks"? :)

Stephanie said...

I haven't run into this yet except for small boutiques here in town who may offer a glass of wine. Not a bad marketing ploy.

Revanche said...

Hmm, we haven't gotten that posh 'round these parts, but while I wouldn't mind a free drink or three, it's probably best that I not mix alcohol and shopping.

Friends, don't let friends drink and shop!

Abigail said...

Makes perfect sense to me. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. While we all think of those as blurting something out or going home with the wrong fellow, that can also mean spending a bit more liberally. I know that when I go to a bar, I usually walk out having had (upon later reflection) at least one more drink than I strictly needed/wanted to have paid for. But hey... you're already there and... comfortable... and this nice waitress will go GET your drink for you!

My French Corner said...

Discovered your blog through Stephanie at Bonjour Madame; what a find! Congrats on your award. I'm enjoying reading the posts of a fellow Washingtonian and appreciate your topics and humor.

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