I’m always finding out about sales the day after they end. Typically, I’ll be walking into a restaurant on a weeknight only to find out that yesterday, the same meal was being offered at half the price. Or, even more often, I’ll be scrolling through all the spam in my inbox when I finally have a second on a Thursday, only to discover that the 40% off coupon from Borders was only for Tuesday and Wednesday and the $200 off coupon from Travelocity expired Wednesday at 11:59p! Forget cleanliness being next to godliness, it’s definitely timeliness.
Then I came across Groupon.com
. It’s a website with a simple concept: if enough like-minded bargain-hunters “group” together and purchase a fantastic deal only available for that day – everybody wins! And the deals are ridiculous, usually somewhere between 33% and 70% off whatever the deal is that day. The only rule is that the quota of buyers has to be achieved to activate the deal. Think of it as an ebay auction, but instead of a minimum reserve price being met it’s a minimum number of bidders. And just to be sure, I’ve logged on to the site at 9:00a on three separate mornings and each time the Groupon was activated because enough people put their credit card down.
When you check out the site, sign up to receive daily emails which describe the new Groupon deal for that day. (I know, you’ve signed up for plenty of email deals already.) Groupon is a different story because every day’s email brings you a new, absurdly-priced deal. There is so much variety to the types of groupons that you begin to realize how many things you have put off because of the price. Haven’t gone out to dinner in a while? Oops, you have a Groupon for that. Haven’t learned how to play that guitar you’ve had in your closet for 2 years? Super, the Groupon today is for guitar lessons. The other Groupon offerings are just as eclectic: yoga lessons, dinner for two at various restaurants, bicycle tune-ups, and huge Travelocity discounts amongst many others.
You may select any location to see different Groupons (in case you’re traveling or want to purchase a Groupon for a family member back home). There are usually some restrictions depending on the Groupon, so be sure to read the rules. For restaurants, the groupon usually doesn’t include tax or gratuity. For other service-type deals such as lessons or massages, there is usually an “offer good until” date. But by and large, the groupons are such a significant drop in price that the fine print seems totally fair.
Just be sure to check the offer in the morning in the unlucky circumstance that the company has had to put a cap on the number of groupons because of its popularity. Seriously, sometimes the smaller companies receive so much business from one day’s groupon offering that they are fully booked for months (Hello marketers, this sounds like a brand building, new customer acquisition plan!). As I’m writing this a $105 wine club membership is going for $60, the groupon was activated at 8:30a and over 500 bargainistas have grouped-on to the deal! If this is the new capitalism, I’m all about it.