9/30/2005

Getting wasted on Sunday

Why do people act the way they do? A recent law in Waynesboro Pennsylvania says that you can now buy beer on Sundays. So what do people do? They line up for miles to buy it that very next Sunday. Why didn't they just buy it on Saturday? I doubt that they all decided they needed a twelve pack of Corona on that Sunday with reason enough to go stand in lines to buy it. Why is it that as soon as the opportunity opens up people jump on it like it is going to be short-lived?
I'm not sure this has anything to do with Managerial Economics but maybe somebody can make a connection here.
The number of sales for beer the first hour on Sunday totaled more than some entire days. I bet a lot of people were pretty wasted that Sunday. Were people really craving the taste of beer or were they just influenced by the power of medias effect on supply and demand?

6 comments:

Dan said...

I don't know why so many people would go out of their way to buy some beer except that maybe they were trying to make a statement about the right to buy beer on Sunday. This will probably also help the store owners who can now show the amount of revenue that they miss out on when they are not allowed to sell beer on Sunday.

Dr. Tufte said...

-2 on Destiny's post for a bad link, and for spelling errors.

I think this is a fine post. Explaining odd behavior like this is precisely what economics should be used for.

I don't have a lot of answers, but I can tell you what I'd call this. I'd say that beer demand has a high elasticity of novelty. Put people in a new situation, and they often do things they wouldn't do otherwise. This is why blue light specials were popular at K-Mart, grab bags at dollar stores, or even sales tax holidays.

Economics is pretty weak in this area, although people are working on it. Malcom Gladwell talks about this in his book "The Tipping Point". He describes this sort of thing as the message getting sticky. Ordinarily people wouldn't think to hard about when to buy beer. With occassional changes, they probably wouldn't pay much attention either. But something about this singular change made the message sticky - and everyone remembered to buy beer that day.

BTW: I highly recommend "The Tipping Point". It is a fun and easy read that will make you think a lot about the people around you.

Bree said...

First of all, the whole regulation of not selling beer on sundays was ridiculous to begin with. I think it's a hypocritical issue: it's okay to drink on saturday but god forbid we do it on the sabbath. Second of all, on your 19th and 21st birthday most people walk into the store at midnight of their great day to buy smokes or beer just because they can. They aren't necessarily smokers or drinkers but to prove a point they stood in line with that 6-pack. I think there's nothing more to look at besides that..... that first sunday they all bought just because now they can whereas before they couldn't. And lastly, just because you buy or drink alcoholic beverages does not mean your getting wasted. Having one beer does not make you an alcoholic and i'd like to see Utah get past this mind set!

destiny said...

I hope you weren't thinking that I meant everybody that drinks gets wasted. I was just trying to think of a clever title, that's all. Besides youre basically preaching to the choir, I drink my share of alcohol.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^Who's the BadAss

Connor said...

Is beer on Sunday a commodity? It appears that way from the article. I do not believe this is the case. I feel it is the spirit of rebellion, or a better way of saying that, is the beer drinkers are trying to make a statement. I see nothing wrong with people buying beer on Sunday, but I have a hard time understanding why so many people all of a sudden realized that they needed to buy some beer; unless all they were doing was making a statement.