At first it seemed like such a good idea, this group buying thing. It’s all online (I don’t like shopping much), it’s quick (instanteous gratification, here we come), and it’s a deal (who doesn’t like a deal?). And I did have two significant successes with it that I’m sure I otherwise wouldn’t have had: I took my five year old on a helicopter ride, and I bought memory foam-type pillows made of natural materials which I absolutely love (actually this was not through Groupon, but a similar eco-friendly version, but I can’t recall the company).
Spurred on these early successes, I bought more group coupons and promptly proceeded to make poor purchases. I usually circumvent such consumeristic ploys, so I was surprised at how long it took for me to realize that I was donating quite a bit of money to Groupon. A list, then, of my mistakes, once I finally realized I was making them.
1. Buying Groupons as a Way to Uncover New Restaurants. I thought this might be a fun way to scope out places for date night. So not. I bought a coupon for a restaurant that looked interesting (and read up about it), only to drive by and discover it was little more than a cafeteria – we didn’t go in. Another for a restaurant that we never seemed to want to go to when date night arrived. Another for a restaurant in Greek town, so we felt we had to go there rather than the neighbouring restaurants we would have preferred. Once, we arrived at the restaurant to discover it was spontaneously not open for lunch anymore. Also, the value of the coupons never seemed great.
2. Not Redeeming Them by the Expiry Date, some of which are quite short, especially around the holidays. Although you don’t lose the money that you spend on the groupon, just the promotional value, there’s not much incentive to go shopping without this carrot. Now I’m just stuck with what amounts to a bunch of credit notes to a bunch of stores, and I’ll probably have to spend more money to not lose the money I’ve already spent/lost.
3. Not Reading the Fine Print. I bought an ice cream cake for half price (deal!). And I can save my $17 provided I travel to Ajax, just 75 kilometres from where I live. I thought the branch was down the street…. no.
4. Not Paying Enough Attention to Quality. Sometimes I think I haven’t heard of Photoshop. I mean, everything looks so pretty in the pictures. A couple of would-be gifts were kind of ungiftable. Although all was not lost: a necklace intended for a tween niece made another girl very happy on her third birthday.
And the biggie…
5. Buying Things I Don’t Really Want Because Groupon Suggested It. At the crux of it all. When did I put my brain on hold?
If I see something that I really want, and if it is in my area, and if it is during a convenient period during which I can actually use the voucher, I may buy another Groupon. It must be possible to use Groupon without it using me. But the stack of useless coupons on my desk shows that this doesn’t happen much and I’m tired of being a sucker. Groupon, be gone!