I was never much of a drinker. In high school and college I avoided alcohol like the plague, and waited until my twenty-first birthday to have my first drink (yes, really.) I was exceedingly proud of my ability to abstain at parties while my friends got inebriated. I suppose I was afraid of losing control. And throwing up. But now that I'm older, and more mature, I enjoy a shot of whiskey every now and then. And there's something to be said for the simple pleasure of sipping on a beer while sitting on a restaurant patio during a warm spring night.
Last week, the NY Times ran an article about a new trend developing in New York City stores. A collection of independent men's boutiques have started serving alcohol to shoppers, often tying in the type of drink served to the apparel being sold. Traditional men's lifestyle brands have long offered customers a glass of scotch while being fitted for a suit, a rite of passage for men stepping up into the business world. “It feels like a social experience, very James Bond or 1960s Playboy, but I guess it’s also kind of like Vegas — the more you drink you more you spend,” said Joey Rubenstein, an Internet entrepreneur, as he waited for the clerk to bring out his Hugo Boss sport coat.
In hip New York City neighborhoods, several men’s wear stores are now lubricating the shopping experience with everything from microbrews to specially made cocktails. While few stores advertise the perk, some shoppers are now stopping in to stores for a drink before continuing on with evening activities, with shopping as an afterthought. And often, the store employees drink with the customers. “We’re not trying to get them drunk, we’ll have one with them,” said Karim Manuel Fresno, general manager at Groupe Seize sur Vingt. “We’re not just selling the clothes, we’re selling the experience. We promote the lifestyle.”
Reading this article got me thinking about how my shopping experience would change if I was offered a drink while browsing the racks. There's no doubt that sipping on a cocktail puts customers at ease. At high-end stores that cater to women, customers have long been served champagne to reinforce the note of luxury which high-end merchandise symbolizes. Being served a drink encourages customers to remain in the store for an extended period of time, increasing the likelihood that they'd make a purchase. I can certainly see how shopping while tipsy would lead to more money spent, and possible buyer's remorse when the buzz wears off. And bonding with a store employee over a cocktail might encourage a more intimate shopping experience.
How do you feel about being served while shopping? Would in-store cocktails encourage you to visit, and make a purchase, at a store? Have you ever sipped on a drink while browsing? Or do you believe this trend is going a bit too far?
|Market Publique vintage blazer; Anthropologie ruffled top; Gap cami; Citizens of Humanity jeans; vintage Coach satchel; Mia clogs; Forever 21 bracelet; Forever 21 rhinestone earrings|