Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adult Beverages

This past thanksgiving break I was out late to eat at a popular restaurant in my home town with my Mother, Father and two older brothers (nuclear family). During our meal I came across a few of my close friends from high school who were participating in consuming some alcoholic beverages in the bar area and invited me over for a drink. I kindly rejected the offer to have a cocktail but went over and talked to them for a few minutes. During our conversation my friend who lives in Chicago purchased a round of drinks for everyone which was very generous for those indulging in the beverages. It is amazing how much more generous people are and the different decisions people make when they are intoxicated. My friends tried to persuade me into a beverage but I told them that we live different lifestyles and reminded them that I attend a university where drinking alcohol was not permitted. As conversation continued, they told me about the activities and some of the things they do at their state schools mostly involving drinking. When I compared their lifestyles, activities and interests to my own, I saw a great difference in our Psychographics. Drinking alcohol is a social environment that no one is oblivious to, but when people are in a restaurant or bar drinking their values and opinions change based on the people that they are around at that point and time as well as their blood alcohol level.


  1. There's no doubt that someone could write an entire dissertation about the effects of alcohol on the consumer buying process.  In situations like the one you described with your friends I find it fascinating.  It seems that alcohol can make even the cheapest person into your local ATM.  There is definitely a normative influence in that situation because of the surrounding friends.  Perhaps the feeling of safety in numbers adds to the somewhat compulsive buying-like actions. Social influence can be a powerful force in situations where people don't feel comfortable and I think individuals may find comfort by buying products so they feel more fit in.

  2. I think it is a valid point that people will buy products so that they fit in. As you said in your post Matt, one of the biggest examples of this activity is displayed in school where young teens purchase expensive clothing in order to fit in. However, I think this activity can have the exact opposite role when it comes to alcohol. People do usually become much more friendly after alcohol consumption and they don't think so clearly. I believe that the people who like to purchase round after round of drinks for everyone is doing so so that they can fit in. Rather than being the only person taking shot after shot, they make themselves fit in by coercing everyone else to join. Perhaps it is the influencer that has the need to fit in, not the influenced.