In the course of one business day, it is not uncommon to see Don and the rest of the gang at Sterling Cooper consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Whether it be Sterling mixing Smirnoff vodka with his morning milk, the pitcher of bloody Mary’s in the ad pitch or the celebratory glass of rye whiskey. To the these mad men, alcohol has become just another part of the day. It is present in the boardroom, in the individual offices and even in the surprisingly long lunch “hours” frequently taken by these big shot Madison Ave employees. It is present all day because to these men alcohol does not diminish the work they do. They are able to function while under the influence of alcohol, and so there is no problem with a little bit of Canadian to get the creative
For the staff of Slate magazines Double X, the situation is not quite the same. The women that run this feminist section of the magazine are big fans of the television series Mad Men. For this reason, they decided it would be an interesting experience to try to behave as the characters in the AMC television series do during their respective work days. That is, the women working in this department decided they were going to start drinking as early and as often as the characters on the show. They wanted to know how it truly felt to be well just like Don Draper.
The ladies started out the morning by bringing bloody Mary’s to the 11:15 meeting. At first the presence of alcohol did not seem to have an adverse effect on the behavior, except that simply people felt looser and more willing to share their ideas. The major difference noticed was that they felt no desire to end the meeting, as was usually
not the case.
This meeting was then followed by an anything but dry lunch for the ladies. They each had an estimated 3 martinis during their longer than usual lunch break, and to be perfectly honest, things started to take a turn. The ladies of Double X began to come up with completely off-the-wall ideas for the magazine that everyone seemed to think were brilliant. This was mixed in with a lot of unrelated gossip and loads of giggling. However, lunch could not last forever and so eventually the ladies were forced to return to the office.
Once back in the office, the ladies were meant to enter another meeting with one of the more senior members of Slate. They decided this was a perfect time to introduce the whiskey into the equation. At this point I think it fair to say that all hope was lost for the day. The ladies of the magazine were simply spewing nonsense ideas, and as the only sober person in the room noted “talking extremely loudly.” By the time this meeting was over, it became clear little was going to be done the rest of the day. Simple questions addressed to people often took minutes to get a response because people became easily distracted. And the answers that would be given often were incoherent or simply nonsensical. Productivity was at an all time low.
It should go without saying that the decision to drink during the work day did not go according to plan. The ladies of the magazine simply went about their day believing they were functioning as usual, and upon looking back, they realized everything they decided upon during the day was a load of rubbish. The experiment was definitely one that was interesting and one that will likely never be repeated. It is also hard
to say whether the alcohol had a greater effect on them because they a)rarely drink or b)are lightweight females as opposed to the men on the show. Either way, it is clear the effect on these staffers as Slate was far greater than the men of Sterling Cooper. And after their one day of drinking, it becomes clear that the drinking should be left in the hands of the professionals.