Monday, October 04, 2010

Groupon thoughts

Yesterday my friend Emily and I took a Knife Skills class at Kendall College using a Groupon. And this got me thinking about Groupon (the class was awesome by the way, would totally recommend Kendall College for this kind of stuff).

I used to buy Groupons all the time. Until I got pregnant, I bought one for about everything I was interested in. Any restaurant that I wanted to try, anything that interested me. Since I got pregnant, even thinking about food sometimes made me want to throw up. So I pretty much stopped buying the things because I didn't want to look at the offer of the day and possibly get nauseous just looking at the picture on the thing. Today's is for Erwin, which is a pretty good restaurant. But still I hesitate.

Firstly, there has been all this stink about Groupon hurting businesses. Like, if the Groupon is worth 20K, then Groupon gets like 10K of that and the restaurant gets 10K to serve 40K worth of food. Since restaurant markups are so big alot of the time, sometimes they can still cover their costs. But sometimes they can't. And that's where the drama comes in, b.c people say they hurt restaurants more than help. Which, in my opinion is a pretty dumb argument. I mean, if the restaurant is going to make poor business decisions, this just speeds up the Darwinism component to owning a restaurant. If you are going to go out of business you are going to do so with or without Groupon in my opinion.

Secondly, the other thing I've noticed is that alot of establishments that use Groupon are freaking MOBBED after the promotion. I mean, how could they not be? They just sold like 4,000 coupons. Oy. One of our favorite brunch places participated (in a very intelligent way I might add, but selling a $15 coupon for $7, which is only an $8 discount on what is surely at least a $35 brunch), and I can hardly bring myself to go back there after 9AM because it is so freaking crowded. Plus I bought a massage on Groupon, and the soonest appointment open was three months from when I called (and then the massage therapist called in sick and I had to reschedule for three months AFTER THAT, it was so freaking annoying). So now when I think of buying a Groupon for a restaurant I factor that into the cost. As in "Is this $20 discount enough to deal with massive crowds and stressed waitstaff?" Alot of the time it just isn't. Because again, it's probably not somewhere I would have gone ANYWAY, so it's probably not that much of a deal. It's not a good deal if the coupon encourages you to go to a dinner you probably wouldn't go to in the ordinary realm of your life, spend $70 you wouldn't have anyway, and also makes you have to deal with five million yo-yo's crowding the place.

Anyway, what do you think of Groupon? Have you had good or bad experiences? Or both like me? I like it, but I think I'll be a far less quick to pull the trigger on buying Groupons in the future.


Anonymous said...

I bought my first groupon last week for wine. I haven't bought any for restaurants yet. I'm pretty good at asking myself "will I really use this, or will this cause me to spend more money than I would have?"

I think coupons in general make people buy things they normally would not buy, so it's not really saving them money, it's really making them spend money they wouldn't otherwise spend. You know?

Hi! I'm Erin said...

I don't typically buy them for restaurants. I prefer to buy them for experiences. And I definitely prefer them to have a long use period. As in, I don't have to go right away and can wait awhile to use them.

I agree with your assessment about whether or not they are "bad" for businesses. If the business can't handle the influx of patrons or requests then perhaps they should set a lower limit or just not participate in Groupon. Just because it's the hot new "thing" doesn't mean you have to jump on the bandwagon.

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

I should really take that knife class. A friend is in culinary school at Kendall and I've heard great things! For Groupon, I've had overall good experiences, but I did have a really bad one at Tank sushi but Groupon did make it right.

Gayle said...

Didn't find the restaurant we went to Friday night with a groupon? I think that's idea, they may loose money on you the 1st time but if you like it you will come back. Especially with your dad who will probably buy, now that's a bargain!

Gayle said...

I meant didn't Jay find that place