These British newlyweds bought their honeymoon hotel — and shoppers tell Moneyish how they spend their cash after a few too many drinks.
A couple of British newlyweds got so drunk on the first night of their honeymoon that they bought the Sri Lanka hotel they were staying in.
Londoners Gina Lyons, 33, and Mark Lee, 35 were celebrating their nups in 2017 at a rustic beachfront bed and breakfast in Tangalle, which involved knocking back 12 glasses of rum with a couple of local men who told them that the hotel’s lease was almost up.
“After finding out that it was £10,000 (about $13,000) a year, myself and Mark thought that it would be a brilliant idea to buy it — because we were so drunk,” Lyons told the Mirror. “Now, almost a year on from our drunken idea, we own the hotel and have started doing the hotel up and making it ours.”
They finalized the deal the next day, which involved hashing out the details using a translator while sipping more booze. “Because we didn’t understand most of the conversation, Mark and I just sat drinking more rum and slowly getting drunk again,” Lyons said, adding that they settled on paying $39,576 for a three-year lease on the hotel, putting down the first half of the payment within the first year, with the second half due by March 2019. And then after another $8,000 or so in renovations, they reopened the refurbished seven-bedroom B&B this past July, now renamed the Lucky Beach Tangalle.
Now the new business owners have also got a baby on board. “I felt like I was already a bad mother, because I felt guilty that I’d wasted all of this money buying a business that might not work. Even our friends and family think we’re idiots and shouldn’t have been doing it,” Lyons admitted. “I was plagued with feeling irresponsible, but it was either sink or swim — so we decided we’d have to make it work. That’s when we decided to throw our all into it, both for ourselves and for the baby, and in July we officially became owners of the business.”
They’re not the only ones who’ve learned the hard way that overindulging can lead to overspending. Three years ago, marketing industry professional Cristy Raposo-Perry, 36, noticed a $325 charge on her credit card statement while she was on a college alumni trip in Sonoma County, Calif.
Turns out, after a day sampling Napa Valley wines, she had ordered a case of assorted bottles from one wine boutique to be shipped across the country to her Rhode Island home.
“I didn’t even know if it was that good,” she told Moneyish. “I could have been drinking grape juice and shouting that it was the best malbec ever.”
Having just purchased a house with her boyfriend, “it wasn’t really the time to be making it rain,” she laughed — so she tried getting the charge reversed. But the store didn’t see her point of view.
“You were here in the store and you ordered it, and you need to keep your order,” a merchant told her.
Raposo-Perry fired back that the store over-served her, and threatened to report the business to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. That did the trick, she said: “They reversed the charge and canceled the order.”
Not all drunk shoppers are so lucky, though. A survey released earlier this year from consumer comparison site Finder found that buying under the influence costs Americans more than $30 billion — an average of $447.57 per person — per year. More than 68 million Americans — that’s over one-fourth (almost 28%) of the adult population — have done it.
While the survey didn’t quantify how many drinks it took for respondents to consider themselves “drunk” — as that number varies for everyone — it did find that about 60% of Americans drink seven alcoholic beverages a week; that’s a collective $5.4 billion spent on booze nationwide every seven days.
Almost half of males (48%) confessed to drunk shopping regularly, compared to slightly fewer women (41%). Drunken men also spent twice as much money as women: $564.51 versus $282.65. Interestingly, millennials — the likeliest generation to engage in drunk shopping — spend just $206.11 per year, versus $738.87 for Gen Xers.
The most common drunken purchase was food (that 3 a.m. pizza order after a night out), followed by clothes, gambling and, in some cases, buying concert tickets or even hiring prostitutes.
Alexandria, Va.-based PR professional Ashley Davidson, 32, said she doesn’t buy anything nearly as wild as when her alter-ego “Drunk Ashley” comes out to play — but she does have an eclectic taste for strange Amazon purchases when tipsy, like on New Year’s Eve 2016.
“After a fair amount of wine, we started talking about cool kitchen gadgets,” Davidson told Moneyish. “I ended up with salad scissors that I’ve used all of one time in almost 2.5 years, Scrub Daddy sponges, and some contraption that turns zucchini into pasta. I’ve used that once.”
That started a series of these drunken mini-shopping sprees every month or two, typically amounting to about $40. The purchases rarely exceed $200 annually, she noted — “it’s not like something where an intervention is needed” — but, “the problem is, several days later, I can’t understand why my intoxicated self felt the strong desire to spend money on this stuff.”
Her most recent drunken acquisitions were a Bill Murray print from the 1980’s movie “Stripes” with matching picture frame for about $30; she now displays them in her half bathroom. “When somebody goes to wash their hands and uses the hand towels, there’s ‘Stripes’ Bill Murray [looking back at them],” she said.
According to Jessy Warner-Cohen, a psychologist at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, “alcohol has an effect on certain parts of our brain like the prefrontal cortex, which governs much of our judgment and decision-making.”
“When we drink, the alcohol shuts off some of the inhibitory cues — like the caution to avoid buying something outside of your budget — leaving your brain to respond to our more basic, impulsive desires,” Warner-Cohen added. “So if you want that pair of jeans that you shouldn’t be buying, you’re likelier to spring for it if you’ve had a few drinks first.”
Davidson has a warning for others about falling into the same trap. “It’s almost like … having to tell your friends: ‘Don’t let me drunk-text my ex-boyfriend.’ If you’re going to do this when you drink, then you just have to tell people: ‘Don’t let me drunk shop on Amazon.'”
This article was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated.
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