Monday, August 18, 2014

Do NOT add to cart

If there was one happy aspect to Robin Williams' tragic death last week, it was the excuse it provided to rewatch his work, especially the somewhat prescient performance as emotionally struggling tutor, Sean Maguire, in Good Will Hunting.

But on a more mirthful note, it was Williams' stand-up performances that provided the most gleeful memories of the comedian, including the blisteringly funny A Night At The Met, in which some of the funniest observations came from his own generous experiences as an addict: "I had to stop drinking alcohol 'cos I used to wake up nude in my car with my keys in my ass! Not a good thing: 'Hi, can I help you?' 'No it's just flooded...I'll be OK...' ".

So it is with some amusement that we hear that drink not only creates homicidal motorists, boorish after-hours kebab shop twats, and karaoke performances that should lead to legalised euthanasia, but that it also causes one-in-five of us to make ill-advised purchases with online retailers like Amazon and eBay.

As we all know, operating machinery under the influence of anything from wine gums to Night Nurse is to be avoided, but clearly no such warnings have been extended to computers and tablets. But according to research by the price comparison website, British consumers under the influence are impulse-buying anything from holidays to washing machines after coming home from the pub.

The site's research reveals that a quarter of those who have shopped while they were literally dropping have spent anywhere between £100 and £200 online, while almost a fifth have spent upwards of £500, buying high-ticket items such as holidays, TVs and even washing machines. Amazon appears to bear the brunt (53%) of half-cut surfing, while clothing, rather worryingly, is the most popular item being purchased, along with shoes, which may explain some of the things you see in British pubs to begin with.

Bizarrely, the researchers found that people had bought obscure items as random as lobster pots (ten of), pie makers, diving equipment and folding ladders while drunkenly waving their credit cards about. Not surprisingly - and I can concur... - DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and CDs also figure amongst popular impulse purchases.

With more than three-quarters of the UK owning credit cards, and "Binge-Drink Britain" (copyright - all newspapers) at its merriest, the rather appropriately named, says that more caution is required by those out on the lash: "Alcohol can cause people’s inhibitions to disappear," says the site's head of credit cards Nerys Lewis, "but people need to be aware of how their credit card spending when drunk could affect them in the long run."

Of course one thing the research doesn't tell us is how many people carry on buying their alcohol online while drunk, but with no shortage of wine and beer sites, not to mention alcohol price comparison sites to help, it's only a matter of time before someone develops a breathalyser app that doesn't let you use a mouse if you're over your limit.

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