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"Drunken Shopping" a Huge Revenue Stream for Amazon, eBay

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"Man With Complete Mama's Family Video Library Never Going On eBay Drunk Again"
-- The Onion, August 25, 1999

Over a decade since The Onion spoofed an area man's vague recollection of shopping while inebriated, the New York Times' Stephanie Clifford reports that booze-fueled purchases are actually a healthy revenue stream for online retailers.

In an age where iPhones (AAPL) and Droids (GOOG) are linked directly to Amazon (AMZN) and eBay's (EBAY) "one-click purchasing" systems -- as well as a wealth of "Local Happy Hour" apps -- the risk of making purchases one wouldn't normally make while sober has never been greater. In fact, retailers are noticing that traffic begins to peak in each time zone following a few post-work cocktails.

Andy Page, the president of online retailer Gilt Groupe, told the Times that traffic begins to climb around 9PM. "Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying."

When asked if booze could "assist" in a user's itchy clicking finger, Steve Yankovich -- vice president for mobile for eBay -- said, "Absolutely." Adding, "I mean, if you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it's decompression time. The consumer's in a good mood."

As retailers begin to count more on beer-goggled consumers, Neiman Marcus, Loews (L), and Saks have taken advantage of the tipsy consumer by offering online deals in the evening hours, hoping to target the consumer confidence that's largely absent in the early morning hours.

And unlike the Onion's regretful buyer, some shoppers find the experience to be a nice surprise. Tiffany Whitten told the Times that the arrival of a recent Amazon purchase she made while three sheets to the wind was like an unexpected gift to herself. "I was drunk and I bought it, and I forgot about it, and it showed up in the mail, and I was really excited."

Chris Tansey, an Australian accountant, also found himself to be the proud recipient of a $10,000 motorcycle tour through New Zealand after a couple of drinks and access to the web. "The hang-ups of spending your hard-earned cash are so far removed from your life when you've had a bottle of wine," he said.

Sounds like if we want to turn this economy around, the Fed should forgo another round of stimulus checks and distribute vouchers for a few free kegs of Bud (BUD) and Coors (TAP). Maybe a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue (DEO) or Ardbeg in lieu of a tax refund.

I'd definitely drink to that.

(See also: How to Avoid Incriminating Facebook Photos by Drinking More! and Google Engineer Calls Google+ a Complete Failure)

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