I talked a little about Groupon, and why I think the model in general is ultimately challenged, in an earlier post after using up my Photobook Canada Groupons. I haven’t gotten to see the photobooks yet, so I’m still looking forward to seeing how that turned out. I’m also hopeful that Lightroom 4 support for creating PDF photobooks will help to push adoption of a standard that isn’t tied to a particular tool, since right now I have no option of reprinting the books I made with a company here in the U.S. We’ll see how that goes!
My reservations about Groupon has absolutely no effect on Valerie, though. Last weekend, when we were heading out, we had three of these group buying coupons to use on a single excursion! One from Groupon for entrance to the Seattle Aquarium, another from Livingsocial for lunch at Henry’s Taiwan, and a third from Google Offers for a Chinese bakery. And no, none of the barcodes in the above image are still valid, in case you had any bright ideas :).
There’s a cost to the consumer to going deal-crazy, though. We had to go to particular locales in Seattle for each of the above; understandable for the aquarium, but the other two places were not ones that we’d normally trek to and when you factor in time and the cost of gas, the deal is a little less sweet. And while Valerie is at least a little cautious on ensuring that the rating of places she buys deals at warrant an actual visit, perhaps due in part to past complaining on my part, it remains true especially for food that most good restaurants are busy at mealtimes anyways, and don’t need to give away 50% of their revenue to be even more full. For instance, we like Din Tai Fung in Bellevue Square – but every time we’ve been there, it’s been packed with a wait of a decent length to sit down; I don’t think they’ll be doing a group deal anytime soon!
I have no complaints about the aquarium Groupon; it was already on our list of places to take the kids at least once, and the Groupon made it half price for one of us – though the aquarium might have gotten as little as $5 (vs. $20 usually) on entrance fees. Looking for value is great too; indeed, last weekend, shopping for clothes, I managed to stack a 30% off coupon, a $5 credit, and a donate-$5-get-$10 offer with an outlet store’s usual “50% off and then an extra 20 off!” prices to pick up some ridiculously cheap stuff, from a brand I bought before I ever knew they had an outlet place. But generally, I’m still not a big fan of the group deal model!