I’m not waging a war on Groupon or anything (I’d need an actual readership for that). But after my previous Groupon rant/post I calmed down and got to thinking about what makes Groupon so bad. And because everyone on the internet wants their shit served to them in list form, I put numbers in front of my reasons.
The fact is, it’s a great idea, but in practice it’s just a big pain in the ass. And here’s why:
1. It makes you feel like a fucking mooch. Being the 400th person to walk through the door to redeem a groupon, you get looked at. You feel the resentment. The guy behind the counter/signing you in/bringing you the food is absolutely radiating “Hey bargain hunter, let’s not pretend we’ll ever see each other again. Nice to know you didn’t think our shit was worth full-price.” I know what you might be thinking: “HEY! A deal is a deal! I’m well within my rights!” But you just end up looking like Kramer waving his court order for free coffee. You might be entitled to the heavily discounted whatever, but nowhere in your online contract does it say they have to like you. And they have good reason not to. You’re the horrible twist that happened because:
2. They made a deal with the devil. There are retailers that didn’t realize the demons they unleashed by signing the deal. You being one of those demons. What the proprietor was hoping to get was a more robust client base. In reality, they get a plague of locusts who pick them clean and never return. Locusts that eat the shit out of cupcakes in the UK, for example. It might be tolerable if these Grouponers could trickle in over the course of the year—but they arrive all at once, because:
3. The clock is fucking you. 6 months might seem like forever, but it’s not. It goes by insanely fast. The Groupon you bought in November for 98% off that restaurant you always wanted to try seemed like a great find. Then the holidays hit. And everyone got sick. And you were completely depressed because the candidate you didn’t vote for was getting inaugurated. So the Groupon sits there. Ticking. You have to make it work. You have to get some time, get in the mood, and get ready to be resented fast. If that sort of tension makes you squirm, then you’ll feel right at home because:
4. You are now completely and totally on the hook.So you’ve clicked and jumped on the deal. Go you. Now you’re on the fucking hook. You’re committed. Tied down. Stuck. It’s not like a gift certificate to your favorite place that never expires that allows you to pick whatever you want up to the value of the card. There are terms of the deal with Groupon. You have to buy it by a certain date, usually at a certain location, for a specific package. Meaning, you have to buy roughly what they tell you to buy, when they tell you. But that’s okay:
5. It’s actually bad business for them too. Groupon can’t seem to make the numbers work. I’m not a numbers guy. I come from a family of not-numbers people. But what I got from this story here (and the original story it linked from) is that Groupon is doing all sorts of accounting acrobatics to make their numbers add up for their shareholders. I’m sure someone at Groupon could explain that I’m just perpetuating misinformation. Though they can’t deny that they were caught off-guard in their response to a high volume of unanticipated returns. Hmm. It seems:
6. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE. Apparently, I’m late to the bitch-fest. There are facebook pages, other blog posts, and an army of dissatisfied Groupon users. Hey, who knew that we also bought a shitload of remorse? I’m not going to link to all of those haters, you can use the search engine of your choice for that. They’re out there. You’ll find them. You may or may not agree with them. But it is fun to hate. And it’s fashionable to hate anyone making money.
So there are no winners. Businesses who might be desperate for customers are selling their souls. Customers looking for ways to stretch their shrinking dollars are getting discounts on dissatisfaction. And Groupon itself is dancing with the numbers and telling everyone “No, wait, we can make this work! Really we can!” But even for them, the clock is ticking.