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Are You an Imbibing Idiot?

fishlunch.jpgThank goodness for the Internet, as we all need a good laugh now and then. In the latest round of research that makes you scratch your head and wonder, "what on earth were they after?" it turns out that people who order a glass of wine at lunch during a job interview are stupid.

Or more accurately, ordering a glass of wine while you're in the middle of a job interview (and you happen to be in a restaurant or bar, that is) will cause most people to unconsciously think you're dumber than you are.

Nevermind that drinking while in the process of being interviewed for a job IS particularly stupid, perhaps with the only exception being that refusing an offered glass of wine would entail a social faux pas.

These researchers showed videos of potential job applicants in restaurant based-interviews to a group of managers, and asked them to rate the intelligence of the applicant based on whether they ordered a coke or "the house Merlot."

The applicants got the lower scores for their intelligence when they ordered the wine, and the lowest score when they ordered wine after the interviewer ordered a Coke, leading the researchers to coin the term "imbibing idiot bias" to describe the effect.

The real question raised here, which was not answered by the researchers, is quite serious, however. Do we all look dumber with a glass of wine in our hands, or just when it happens to be Merlot?

Read the full story.

Photo courtesy of les sens ordinaires.

Comments (11)

damookster wrote:
08.11.10 at 11:51 AM

how about a glass of Grüner Veltliner? Smarter or dumber than Merlot?

08.11.10 at 1:59 PM

To me, ordering a Coke during an interview displays far greater stupidity than ordering a glass of merlot. Far greater. Drinking Coke tells me you have little regard for your health...what else do you have little regard for? Yeah.

08.11.10 at 10:09 PM

Aren't Coke and fruit-bomb merlots pretty much the same thing? I have to agree with King Krak about the obvious disregard for one's health that ordering a glass of high fructose corn syrup, I mean Coke, displays.

1WineDude wrote:
08.12.10 at 3:22 AM

Yes, but now this means we think that most of western Europe is full of idiots?

Lisa Mattson wrote:
08.12.10 at 7:28 AM

I'm with King Krak!


08.12.10 at 12:18 PM

1winedude's comment made me laugh, esp. as I live in London. I think if you did that experiment here and the applicant ordered Coke, he/she would be perceived as an idiot. At the very least if they weren't drinking, they'd order a sparkling water and even that might be viewed with suspicion.

nice strategy wrote:
08.12.10 at 11:02 PM

Context is everything. What kind of restaurant? Ordering the "house" anything sounds dated don't you think?

Mart S. wrote:
08.13.10 at 6:15 AM

King Krak it is! :) Cheers!

08.13.10 at 9:40 AM

Fascinating tidbit, although the article raises more questions than it answers. What happens when you look at the manager responses divided by how much (or if) they drink alcohol and whether they drink wine? Is the effect more pronounced or less if the interviewee orders beer or a mixed drink? What would happen if the person ordered something different (even weird) but not alcoholic? What happens if the interviewer orders wine and the interviewee orders Coke or a different wine?

Nonetheless, I wouldn't be surprised if the basic finding holds up. Consumer research in the wine category has shown time and again how influential are occasion or circumstance. Unfortunately, the link to the actual academic article seems to be broken.

Rob Wade wrote:
08.17.10 at 3:24 AM

At a recent job interview my would-be employer ordered a bottle of Roberto Voerzio Barolo ‘La Serra’2004. Frankly I'd rather have had the wine than the job, so it made the decision easier.

Greg wrote:
08.19.10 at 10:21 PM

Good rhetorical question at the end. But maybe that gets close to the heart of it. Maybe it looks especially dumb to pay $10 a glass for a bland wine that retails for $6 at the local grocery store. If you parsed the wine list and picked out something that seemed sophisticated, that could have a wildly different effect.

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