I used to love Groupon (and LivingSocial, and Dealster, and the spectrum of discount coupons online).* I loved receiving the daily deals, marveling at the array of stuff I could get for a song. Who wouldn’t, right?
But at some point, it all became too much. Every day my inbox was choked with these offers. And then, if I had time to look at them, they weren’t appealing. Another 50% at a hair salon, but I like the woman who cuts my hair. It took me decades to find someone who could deal with my thick mop of wavy/straight/curly blonde hair with a cowlick that resembles a soft serve ice cream swirl, and I’m not looking to switch. Another 50% at a local restaurant, but actually I like cooking at home. OK, I’ll buy that one but just for another day.
There was a period not too long ago when my finances were — how shall I put this? — erratic, and there was definitely more famine than feasting in my bank accounts. So I sharply curtailed my spending. And what I learned was that I really didn’t need any of the stuff — the massages, the weekends away, the golf clubs and iPod chargers — that Groupon was pushing. I just moved and threw out a mountain of crud that had accumulated over ten years of owning a single family house. My husband and I both admitted how liberating it felt to pare down our belongings, and how great it was to give away so, so many things to folks who needed them. It felt so good that I have to stop myself from giving away things I still have a use for these days.
I have reached the point where I feel that the lure of a good deal is just the bait for promoting a consumerist mindset. Honestly, do I need that massage, that weekend in Maine, that photo printed canvas, even at a steep discount? These are very much the activities and objects of someone with expendable income can indulge in. Why can’t Groupon offer these types of discounts from companies like Star Market or the local utility company? It’s as if these coupon offers are saying Hey you middle-class workers, how would you like to spend a little more?
No, actually, I would not like to spend a little more on this stuff. I’d rather save for retirement, or give to charity, or buy some artwork by a local painter. So goodbye, Groupon and your ilk. That is, after we use that last coupon at Lantana Cafe that’s been rotting in my wallet.