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Online Shopping Under the Influence

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Alcohol has long been used to improve sales. But shopping under the influence seems to have moved beyond in-store wine parties and stay-at-home-mom soirees. If anecdotal evidence is correct, drunk online shopping is all the rage.

In one British survey, about half of all respondents admitted to drunken impulse buys. And a number of online retailers have seen an uptick in evening traffic, according to the New York Times.

Retailers are now holding promotions that run later into the night.

You too can capitalize on the uninhibited nature of drunk online shopping. It probably wouldn't be wise to outright encourage it, but to subtly do so is not necessarily illegal. Or bad marketing.

Moving promotions to the evening hours could net you customers who can't shop at work. Or those that simply don't have the time early in the morning. If you happen to catch a few drunk online shoppers, so be it.

Still, you may be wondering whether inebriated customers would be more of a hassle than they're worth. If they come into your brick-and-mortar store, probably. And sure, they may return items at a higher rate.

But they can't return an item simply because they were drunk. Well, unless you accept returns without a valid reason.

People who are under the influence have the legal capacity to consent. Most courts will enforce such contracts -- or purchases -- unless the other party took advantage of the intoxicated person. This is why you don't want to directly encourage the behavior.

But as always, state law varies. So before you take a chance on drunk online shopping, talk to an attorney.

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