small drinking problem

Small drinking problem?

Apr 24, 2013    •    1169 Views

Dear Alexa,

My husband has always been a light drinker. When we go out to dinner, it is only on very rare occasions that he will have more than one glass of wine. Recently, however, I have noticed that he has been coming home around six o’clock, intoxicated after going out for an hour or so out after work every day. Do you think this is a sign that my husband is secretly an alcoholic, or that he has been lying to me about being a light drinker? I would love some advice.


First, I would like to assure you that this behavior is by no means a sign of either alcoholism or lying. If you could though, Jane, take a minute to close your eyes and imagine this scenario: You are sitting at a hotel bar, casually sipping a cocktail while making conversation with your girlfriends, when suddenly you notice something on your bill. You realize your drinks are roughly half the price they usually are. This is when you look up and see the time: 5:30. However, after experiencing a small wave of relief, you immediately realize that you can take advantage of the cheaper prices that will be available until 6:00. Now, put this scenario in the context of your husband’s strange behavior. It seems as though your husband, while out with friends after work, may simply be taking advantage of the low prices of happy hour while they are available. Though it may seem out of character, your husband is simply following the law of demand. You see, According to the law of demand, as price decreases, the buyers’ quantity demand for the discounted good will increase. Many people, especially workers, take advantage of these low prices during happy hour and buy several drinks. Some even decide to treat others, perhaps judging that the opportunity cost of another drink is worth the good feelings that come from treating their buddies. Indeed, as the cost is less, your husband, or any other person for that matter, might be willing to sacrifice the cost of another drink for a better time out with “the guys.” Though this behavior may seem slightly odd, it is a textbook example of the law of demand and perfectly illustrates how buyers in the market react when the price of a good is lowered. So don’t worry about it, Jane. You’re husband’s not an alcoholic, and he’s certainly not a liar, at least in this regard. He’s just blowing off some steam with his buddies after a long day.


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