WHY ARE YOUNG ADULTS DRINKING ON A MONDAY NIGHT?
You walk into one of your favorite restaurants after work but there is no table to sit at nor room to move. There is a long lined formed from the bar. Everyone has a cup in hand, their ID, and a friend. You can’t hear the underlying music being played or even the person beside you (unless you yell). Everyone seems to belong to a group and can be seen socializing with each other. Then you immediately start to notice that most people have a cup that says “He’s Not Here.” They are constantly approaching the bar to get refills of not just any drink but …. BEER! Yes, you just happened to go to your favorite eateries on a night that has a deal for anyone who bring their own cup and everything just starts to make sense. The cups, the socializing, the fullness of the place, the inability to hear, but most importantly the liveliness of a restaurant at 10 pm on a Monday night.
Attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am constantly on Franklin Street especially since I work there. Franklin Street is very alive during the day but once it reaches about 9:30 pm the crowds die off. However, on Monday nights around 10 pm at Sup Dogs there are customers coming in and out. In this ethnography, I explored the cultural motivations behind the excessive energy on Monday nights at Sup Dogs. The activeness of Sup Dogs on Monday nights can be due to the equal appeal it has on both genders such as a deal night, availability of food, and the ability to socialize.
I went to Sup Dogs on Franklin Street on two Mondays. On both occasions I noted observations and on the second observation I interview two customers. My observations were approximately 45 minutes long. The interviews consisted of five questions. I went to Sup Dogs on Mondays because it is known for their “Mug Nights” where they fill out two pints of beer for $3. I couldn’t actively participate in the drinking due to my age but I did order food on both occasions. I ordered food to not be perceived as an outsider but eating and not drinking really set me apart from everyone else. The first observation I noted my observation in a notebook and I noticed the customers looking at me but it didn’t stop them from socializing and drinking. The second time I was taking notes on my phone and that allowed me to fit in since there were a lot of people on their phones as well. I took note of the activities everyone did, the size of their group, and the gender ratio for both nights.
On Monday nights Sup Dogs has a sales promotion on beer where they sell two pints for $3. With this deal being active on Monday nights it triggers for more customers to fill up Sup Dogs in drink. Pettigrew (2015) stated that “promotions… can increase the total amount purchased and consumed.” Cheap alcohol facilitates social get-togethers which was found by Pettigrew after his study. Since Sup Dogs is having a specific promotion on beer on Monday nights, the activity on Franklin Street and specifically in Sup Dogs increases as well as the amount of beer being consumed by the consumers. Almost every group of people had at least one person come specifically to the bar and get a cup of beer filled within the first ten minutes they were there. One consumer stated “it’s a good deal and that’s why I come weekly” (personal communication, 2016). The availability of beer through a sales promotion triggers people to come into Sup Dogs and consume beer on a Monday night making it accountable for the high activity at Sup Dogs.
The ability to socialize with friends is a key factor why Sup Dogs is so active. Both of the people I interviewed stated that their friends are the reasons they come. Additionally, they stated that they would only come in a group.
Socialization at Sup Dogs increases due to food availability. “Food is almost always shared” and customers at Sup Dogs on both occasions were digging into an appetizer with friends (Fox, 2013). According to Wansink, “pleasurable moments can be attained when we share foods with the family or friends (qtd. In Wardono, 2011). When linking a positive moment to a place, you are most likely to be willing to visit the place again which can explain why some customers come weekly.
Another factor that impacts socialization especially at public spaces such as restaurants is the interior design. Gifford and Gllagher stated “physical settings were important factors which influenced how people socialized” (qtd. In Wardono, 2011). There are several seating options at Sup Dogs. You can sit at a tall table, a booth, a large corner table, at the bar and outside. Since there is such a variety to choose from it influences socialization from different people in their groups whether it’s just two people or it’s 10 people. The seating arrangement at Sup Dogs accommodates for all group sizes. This accommodation allows any type of socializing to occur among different groups. Since socializing is being triggered by the availability of food and the physical setting of Sup Dogs, it increases the activeness especially on a Monday night.
End of Mug Mondays:
My ethnographic study shows that Sup Dogs excessive energy can be explained by two main cultural motivations. The promotion on beer and socialization support through the availability of food and the interior design are reason why Mug Mondays at Sup Dogs are extremely active nights. However, questions such as; Does the rumor of UNC being a party school impact the activity at bars while they are having an alcohol promotion? Is $3 for two pints actually a deal? How does the competition of the “He’s Not Here” bar affect Sup Dogs? Especially on Wednesday when have $1 pints. Even though Mondays are the start of the week and is usually the least liked day, it is evident that Sup Dogs is changing what was known as a dead day to an active night on Franklin Street where many young adults go to drink and socialize.
Fox, R. (2003). Food and Eating: An Anthropological Perspective. Social Issues Research Center. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://sirc.org/publik/foxfood.pdf
Pettigrew, S., Biagioni, N., Jones, S. C., Daube, M., Kirby, G., Stafford, J., & Chikritzhs, T. (2015, September). Sales promotion strategies and youth drinking Australia. Social Science & Medicine, 141, 115-122. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
Wardono, P., Hibino, H., & Koyama, S. (2011, May). Effects of restaurant interior elements on social dining behavior. Asian Journal of Environment-Behaviour Studies, 2, 25-36. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
- Why did you come to Sup Dogs on Mug Monday?
- Do you come weekly?
- What impacts you to come?
- Would you come alone or just in a group?
- Is there a specific reason you’re in a group?