What a field day the papers had last week with a “survey” (sic) claiming that “more than two million of us have shopped online after consuming alcohol”.

More than two million, eh? As few as that?

What’s more natural than snuggling down on a winter’s evening on a comfy sofa with an iPad, a generous glass and a bottle of Barolo? Doesn’t everyone do it?

The thinner the ice that the press release skated on, the more flamboyant the claims. Among its ‘hold the front page’ revelations were:

The most popular time for drunken shopping is the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bizarre purchases while drunk included a £6,500 car, a didgeridoo and a snake.

That’s fairly run-of-the-mill considering what people purchase when stone cold sober.

Did we really mean to buy that George Clooney expresso maker thingy as big as the kitchen unit and the box of assorted 72 coffee pods?

Or how about the three-platform garden bird table that arrived with 35 self-assembly parts, 56 screws of variable length and a set of Chinese instructions?

Or a set of lanterns with no known light bulbs available in Britain?

Better (or worse) still are the items of clothing – the cocktail dress in lurid green? The ‘standard-sized’ monogrammed sweater that’s two sizes too small? The sandals made with sustainable reeds by sun-Saharan tribesmen – for sub-Saharan weather?

A mystery at the heart of this story was how those intoxicated online shoppers were still able to enter their email address correctly (twice), their nine-digit password with upper and lower case letters and at least two numbers (twice), hit the right buttons in sequence, type in the delivery address and post code and then enter their credit card details including multi-digit account number, sort code and security number.

It’s tricky enough when cold stone sober, never mind after a few drinks.

Many of the purchases revealed in the study were music-themed and included a VHS of Take That’s Greatest Hits, a cardboard cut-out of Britney Spears and a VIP ticket to see American artist Jason Derulo.

During the early hours, the website’s users have been seen to purchase a lion mane wig (for pets), a 50kg kitchen sink and instant underpants – though it could not confirm whether these users were intoxicated.

The survey findings were released last week “as we fast approach”, the blurb reminded us, “the season of Christmas shopping and drunken office parties”.

For good (or bad) measure, the release then quoted ONS figures showing online spend has risen by 18 per cent in a year, carrying the implication that a fair percentage of these were made in a wine-induced stupor.

Thin ice, indeed. Time to double-up on those George Clooney coffee pods – stored in the back of the garage with the mountain of save-the-planet cardboard and bubble wrapping.

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