Wednesday, October 20, 2010

poopin' on groupon

Rarely does groupthink produce anything good. Nazism was probably the worst thing that ever happened due to this phenomenon, but Groupon, and specifically the Washington, DC, iteration, is probably a close second. Yes, I am a hater.

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 that there's nowhere I can even redeem this so-called Washington, DC, Groupon in f*cking Washington, DC. To get to "Chicken Out" (which, by the way, is just a dumb name for a restaurant), I have to travel to Maryland or Virginia and that there's only one location in DC and it's at 4866 Massachussetts Ave., NW, meaning if I want to actually use this coupon in DC, I'd have to rent a car and pretend I was going to Maryland. THIS IS BULLSH*T!

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.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's a Chicken Out in Spring Valley. Paragraph 5 just aslpoded.

Marissa said...

Spring Valley barely counts. However, I noted the edit and have revised the paragraph to avert asplosion.

MandyJ said...

I occasionally buy these group discount deals to local restaurants near me for the sake of trying new places. I agree, though, that the deals are increasingly ridiculous. They seem aimed at tourists and people who seemingly need to go to the spa every week. I just want a damn chicken to eat by myself (yeah, I bought that).

Anonymous said...

Nice Friendster reference! Also, I agree with the increasing absurdity of the "deals" they're offering.

-Anonymous Brian

De in D.C. said...

I use Groupon more for things that I'd be doing anyway (my favorite ice cream store? Sign me up! Photography session for the new baby? Why yes!). I rarely buy the restaurant deals, because I find I get better coupons when Restaurant.com has their 90% off sales. ($25 worth of food for $2.50 with a ton of options.) They also don't expire.

Anonymous said...

Spring Valley does count because it IS in DC. I like Chicken Out!

I get more annoyed by the surveys of the best Pizza in DC and see places like the Italian Store, while yummy, are NOT in DC at all.

Marissa said...

Mandy--

If the chicken was better located, I may have bought that one too. No shame in that game. But yeah, I hate all the touristy ones that have been coming up lately...blah.

Anon Bri--

Thanks. I was actually vacillating between Orkut and Friendster.

De--

Thanks for the Restaurant.com hint. I shall get on that immediately!

Anon--

I know. But it's so close to Maryland that it might as well be Maryland. That's the point I was trying to make. And yes, I agree with you about all the stupid surveys.