Death of Groupon

I was reading the NY Times article this morning about Groupon, and some commentary entitled Who gets hurt if Groupon Collapses and I realized these articles and commentaries were solidifying an opinion that I’ve nursed in my breast since the start of the whole online-coupon service. I have irrationally felt that this was never a good idea, without thinking about why I felt that way.

I used Groupon a few times and eventually decided it wasn’t for me. For one thing, it’s just one more thing in my email every day I have to look at; that doesn’t take long, but I get a lot of email. For another, if I want to go explore, I don’t need Groupon to do so, so perhaps I’m just not the customer for them. Mostly, however, I felt that Groupon was too much work, for too little gain. The Groupons I’d been involved with were couched in “Do this, get this” type language, more like a sale at a department store. That didn’t make me want to use it. “The more you spend, the more you save!” was never a mantra that sat well.

Most of these daily deals and online coupon and the various other services that have popped up just aren’t for me. I was given a Restaurant.com gift card as a thank you gift a few years ago. On the face of it, I thought this was really cool, but then discovered that in order to use it, I have to spend money. Basically, I have to buy a coupon ahead of time, with restrictions, to the restaurant I want to go to, and all of the ones I looked at back then had a “Get x off a 2x meal” policy. This was too much work.1

Anyway, I can now rest on my laurels, happy in the sublime knowledge that I was TOTALLY RIGHT about Groupon.

Or I can just rest seeing that my irrational prejudices are being upheld by the market. We’ll see if that statement is actually true as their IPO moves forward.

  1. As a note, if you’re getting me a gift like this, please get me something redeemable as cash, or as like-cash. Don’t make me spend money to use your gift. Thanks. []
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2 Responses to Death of Groupon

  1. sharonopolis says:

    I’m with you (although that hasn’t stopped me in the past from getting a Groupon or 2 that I had a specific plan for). I noticed something else terrifying in the article though: “Groupon uses money from new deals to pay off merchants from previous deals…” Isn’t that the exact definition of a Ponzi scheme?!

  2. Bill Ruhsam says:

    I believe that for it to be a Ponzi scheme, it has to actually hide the fact that it’s using recent revenues to settle older receipts. It’s like social security in that way.

    It’s always been a time thing for me. I don’t see how these deals are cost effective when my time is involved, unless you like chasing around for deals and etc., which I don’t.

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