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May 15, 2011

Is Groupon Great For Shopping Or Not ?

Groupon logo.Image via Wikipedia
I love online shopping, and I love deals. So when a friend introduced me to Groupon, I fell—HARD. It was great to have offers with seemingly big savings e-mailed to me every day.

Just few quick clicks and I got myself a deal! But a couple of my recent purchases convinced me that Groupon may not always be that great.

First came my $10 for $20 worth of books at a certain retailer. There’s always stuff my family wants to buy at the bookstore, so buying the Groupon was a no-brainer, and I grabbed it!

But the Groupon had a quick expiration date. If I didn’t use it soon, I would lose it. So when the deadline came close, I rushed to the bookstore to buy a book I’d been eyeing. But I only wanted that one in paperback, and it cost less than my $20 Groupon. 

So I searched and found a couple of other items that I’d probably enjoy to put me over the $20 limit. All in all, did I save money? Nope—I probably spent money that I never would have, because of my buddy Groupon.

Next came the Groupon for a cut and blowout at a salon for $30. That sounded fantastic. I needed a haircut, and, combined with a blowout, what an inexpensive price to pay! This Groupon would give me the kick I needed to cut my shaggy locks AND help me save money to boot.

So I bought it and eagerly made my appointment. Problem is, when I got to the salon, they’d forgotten my appointment and couldn’t take me. If you can’t trust a salon to get your appointment right, how can you trust their stylists to give you a good haircut? So I asked for my money back for the Groupon, but the salon’s receptionist informed me she couldn’t refund any money because I’d bought the service through Groupon.

So now I had to take an extra step of contacting Groupon, which did refund my money. I ended up making a last-minute appointment with a more expensive hairdresser. So again, I spent way more money than I’d planned on, and I spent a lot of time on the hassle of getting a refund, which I hadn’t planned on either.

Groupon was in the news this past year over its Valentine’s Day deal with FTD. Customers claimed they were paying inflated prices, so Groupon offered refunds, although it admitted no wrongdoing. I do know of people who have enjoyed deals they’ve gotten through Groupon. But for now, I’m taking a break.

What’s your experience been?

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