Pubs make Us Drink More!
So you’d like to think that there was something or someone to blame for the amount you drink at the weekend, well maybe there is!
Successful fast food joints have long used a combination of bright lights, cold hard surfaces and primary colours to move you in and out of the place as quickly as possible.
And these days we all know, from that first whiff of freshly-baked bread as you walk through the door, that supermarket chains have become equally expert at perfecting the science of what goes where in order to keep shoppers moving through the aisles and buying stuff that certainly wasn't on their shopping lists when they left home that morning.
But now pubs and bars routinely manipulate their customers too, and with growing levels of sophistication.
None of this means that you are entirely absolved of responsibility for the state you find yourself in the following morning, of course, but it is increasingly true that a large part of how much you drink - and even what you drink - can depend not on your own preferences but on how skilled the bar staff are when it comes to the dark art of persuading customers to drink more than they originally intended.
All about the atmosphere
For example, you have probably noticed that these days it is getting harder to find a nice quiet place to have a quick pint with a pal. Partly this is because, with Brits spending £37 billion a year on booze and much of it in supermarkets rather than bars, the last thing these guys want to recreate is a sort of home-from-home. If they do that, you might decide to stay at home.
They also recognise that most people drink more when they talk less. As well as giving the impression that the joint is jumping, turning up the volume of the music makes conversation much harder (the same is true of a big-screen TV).
This encourages you to spend more money on drinking more, as does another equally sneaky trick which the experts call 'turning up the heating'.
Ever wondered why it's so hard to find a seat in a bar these days? And why there's rarely somewhere to put your beer down? It's not just that bars are busy, it's that there's a plan at work.
Bars have limited the number of seats and tables available. This means they can slot more punters into the same space, but fewer seats and spots to leave your beer also mean you're forced to stand, beer in hand.
Unable to relax into a soft sofa with your beer resting on a table, we're subconsciously encouraged to drink faster - it's human nature.
Location, location, location
Not so much where the bar is, but how it is laid out. Barmen talk about the three-second rule, which is apparently how long it takes a typical punter to decide what he's having. Research shows most of us simply buy the first thing we see rather than thinking about what we actually fancy.
Because of this, drinks companies work hard to get their brands into pole position. Like publishers who pay to get potential best-sellers positioned right by the till, they will offer sometimes very big discounts to get their bottles on the top row of the fridge, or into the optic closest to the barman's shoulder.
Whether it's an eye-catching ad on TV, or some stylish new bottle or beer pump when you step up to place your order, boosting individual brands is another important way drinks companies battle to ensure they get as much of that £37 billion as they possibly can.
Industry experts reckon that eight out of 10 drinkers have no idea what to order when they walk through the door. Because that first decision is made very, very quickly the winners tend to be those brands that have already lodged themselves in the customer's brain - either before they left home, or at the very moment they stepped in off the street.
“So we have somebody else to blame for drinking to much , it’s not all our own fault say” Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.