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Why I’ll no longer be using Groupon locally

When Groupon first launched I was all over it. I am a sucker for a good deal and love to promote local business whenever possible. I buy locally most of the time and used Groupon as an excuse to spend more locally then I normally would. The first few Groupon experiences with local vendors was pretty good, however as I began to use it more I felt like I was becoming more of a pest to the business owner then a honored supporter.

As a typical purchaser of a credit I would use some of them and let some of them expire. This is probably where the business owner has the opportunity to break even. Some of the Groupon purchasers redeem the Groupon and others forget and it expires. They lose their money spent on the Groupon in that case. I am unsure as to wether or not that unredeemed credit goes to Groupon, the business or both. Regardless, I spent some and some expired.

I had great experiences with online retailers with whom I purchased Groupons and local retailers where a kid who could care less about what form of payment I used handled the transaction. However, when dealing with the owner it was almost always a negative experience. They made me feel like I was taking advantage of them. I felt like in the owners head he/she was thinking, “great, another customer who is only going to have to pay half price.” I was only welcomed as a new customer by one business which is Oodles Frozen Yogurt in Modesto. Other then that, every experience made me feel like I was an inconvenience.

It really comes down to how you are going to use a platform such as Groupon and others like it to grow your business. It can be a great way to reach new customers you may not have had access to before. However you need to have the right mindset and understand that these Groupon users are probably hyper-social online types who will blog and comment about their experiences. If you give them a bad experience not only did you receive a smaller portion of their finances for the transaction you will probably end up losing even more money due to the negative remarks the customers will leave all over the internet.

I won’t be using Groupon locally any longer because most business people around here have the wrong mindset. I am sure they start off with great intentions of loving their customers but that fades for many owners. This is why I do a lot of my buying online. If my only local option is a big box store I would rather order online then have to deal with some teenager who is just doing time and wondering what their Facebook and Tumblr friends are posting while they suffer at work. I am going to digress before this blog entry turns into a rant about how big box stores and non-passionate employees are ruining the local economy.

I have ordered several items off of the internet using Groupons from online stores where the Groupon was a coupon coded entered at check out. This to me is a win because there are no grumpy store owners to deal with. You get the same checkout confirmation and thank you page as the full paying customers. I will continue to watch for good online deals through Groupon.

If you have used a Groupon, think about how that experience went. Was it a positive one? Did the person who helped you seem genuinely happy that you were there? If so, then make sure that you go back again and again because that is the kind of business person that deserves business and success. I would even suggest that you tell the owner or manager why you decided to come back. Encourage them to keep the positive attitude. Business owners need encouragement. Half of the time they don’t know if they are making the right decisions with their business. Encouragement and affirmation from you is the best thing you can offer them, along with your credit card of course.

Share with me your Groupon experiences. I would love to hear them.

6 Comments

  • Ben Borman
    July 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve used a Groupon once locally, at a business I visit frequently, although it was a different location than I usually go to that was offering the promotion.

    The employee seemed a bit confused as to what to do with the Groupon at first, and the transaction was especially clunky since I had the Groupon on my iPhone instead of a piece of paper. She had to take my phone and hand-write the number down on a scrap of receipt paper. I was glad there wasn’t a line forming behind me… Aside from the Groupon, the service at this location was generally less friendly/slower than I am used to at the other location.

    Since then, I haven’t seen a Groupon for the Modesto area that is a business I already go to or would want to try. Being new to the area, I wouldn’t mind taking a risk on a new restaurant, etc if I didn’t have to pay full price the first time around.

    I think Groupon is a great idea, but business owners don’t seem be be using it to its potential. (BTW, I agree Oodles staff and service is always top-notch!)

  • jeradhill
    July 14, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Thanks for the comment Ben. I agree with the clunkiness of the process. The only time I had it work smoothly was at Oodles and I have been back a few times. The last time I was there I told them I was back because they were so great and that I would have eventually found that out on my own even if they had not used Groupon. 

  • karenfullmer
    July 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    One of our earliest experiences with Groupon was at Quboda in Modesto. I was skeptical about how it worked. We had never been to Quboda and didn’t really know what to expect. We were treated well and the cashier asked if this was the first time we had visited and thanked us for trying them. We enjoyed the food and have gone back numerous times since. We have used Groupon for Prime Time car washes and that experience went well. We have used several other restaurant Groupons and have been satisified. Although, right now it seems like there are no local restaurant Groupons being made available. So we just wait and in the meantime have cashed in on one deal at dealsaver.com/modesto. We will see how that goes.

  • Valerie
    July 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I buy a lot of Groupons as well and haven’t had any negative experiences. I have used online, rerstaurants, and services such as massages, facials, etc. I have only had one negative experience, and it was actually with an online store with awful customer service. If I get someone that tries to be negative towards Groupons, I will kindly ask them why are they doing it then and tell them I won’t be back. The whole point is to get business in the door and repeat business, which is not going to happen if the businesses treat consumers that way.

  • john e
    July 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    my wife has looked into using groupon to promote her dental office… according to her, groupon takes half of the money from the deal… so, if the deal is 50% off, then the owner effectively gets 25% of what they would normally have gotten… that might be why they are grumpy… that said, they had to know that going into it… unless the groupon sales person is selling them on the notion that 75% of the ppl will buy and not come in to redeem… 

  • mikerichards
    July 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I have used a few, one at a high end steakhouse and another at a local donut shop. Both were great experiences and both are places I have told others to check out. I appreciated the service, especially  given the fact that I am sure it was half off as you said. I think I spoke to the wonder of the donuts shop and she was nice. I am sorry for the experiences you had but completely understand your frustrations. 

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