For those of you who haven't heard, Groupon "is an online social network that uses the buying power of its members to negotiate dramatically deep discounts for all kinds of goods and services." And yes, I stole that description from the Washington Post's latest article on this sham because it was a much more neutral description than what I'm able to come up with right now. Seriously, I just compared Groupon to the Third Reich.
But let's get real. While Groupon isn't engaged in the mass murder of people, it is calling for the mass murder of awesomeness. And also, unlike Fascism, I actually used to be a fan of Groupon...until they decided to suck. (For clarification purposes, fascism has always sucked.)
Now, not only is Groupon seemingly in the business of ripping people off (see the above-linked Post article), but the deals with which they are trying to run their con are just plain stupid.
For instance, take today's "deal," for example. It's offering $10 worth of chicken for $5. While that sounds pretty sweet (and delicious), a closer look reveals
Why? Because the Washington, DC, iteration of Groupon has three subcategories -- the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery County. Keep Chicken Out where it belongs, and that is OUT of the goddamn District of Columbia category.
But that's not all. Not only are Groupon's "DC deals" increasingly geographically irrelevant to the people at which they're supposedly directed, but the deals themselves are just dumb. Gone, it seems, are the glory days of mid-to-high priced, non-chain, DC restaurants offering $50 worth of food for $25 and arrived are the days of $9 tickets to Madame f*cking Tussaud's. I don't know who the hell Groupon's staff hangs out with, but I don't know one person in DC who would pay money to go there. Amazingly, however, 5,832 people did.
This begs the question: Who are you people buying this sh*t? Are you the people that the Post article talks about? You know, those people who impulsively buy something just for the sake of getting a discount, even if you have no plans of cashing in on it? Are you basically, as the Post says, "throwing your money away?" You idiots! You've ruined Groupon for everyone by making it profitable for them to offer sh*tty deals!
And sadly, this same fate seems to be coming to LivingSocial, a competitor site that offers similar discounts. Today, that site is offering a deal they're calling shootin' and drinkin', which sure, sounds awesome (I mean, that's a winning combo, right?), but I'm telling you from personal experience that it doesn't need to cost $80 and that's with the discount, mind you. In reality, it should cost no more than $25 for a couple of rounds of skeet and gun rental and another $30 tops to "taste" some scotch at a suburban bar. Trust me, I've done both on my own, and while the scotch may have been moonshine drunk out of a bottle in a paper bag, I can tell you $80 is a rip-off.
Alas, there are some other sites popping up that are hopefully going to stick to what made Groupon and LivingSocial so intriguing in the first place -- discounts at local restaurants. I just bought one the other day for Kaz Sushi Bistro and I am sufficiently pleased. And while I'm reluctant to talk about it lest it starts to suck because a bunch of idiots are willing to impulsively buy anything and everything, thus lowering the quality and applicability of the deals, Groupon and their cohorts need to know. There is competition and your customers are starting to take note. If you don't want to end up being the Friendster of the group discount world, I suggest you reassess your business plan.
Photo courtesy of Flickriver user Javierdoren.