Thoughts on Groupon

I know that this is a food blog.  I know that this is a site that should be focused on fun.  However,  after the Groupon Super Bowl ad the other night, I feel that something needs to be said.

If you didn’t catch the ad (or were too busy grabbing another brew), I feel that it can be summarized the following way.  Images of Tibet are being shown as an actor’s voice says “The people in Tibet are in trouble, their very culture is in jeopardy.”  Cut to the affluent actor in a restaurant where he states, “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.  And since 200 of us bought at we’re each getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 dollars.”

This ad is the perfect summation of the “Ugly American” stereotype that a lot of the world has.  The affluent actor seems to be indifferent about atrocities being committed in other parts of the world, just as long as he can get half off at one of his favorite restaurants.

I know that Groupon has said that they are attempting to take donations to help out several causes, including Tibet.  However, nowhere does this ad say anything about donations to help out the Tibetan people.  In order to find that out, you have to log onto their website and be directed to a site entitled “savethemoney”, where they state the following:

Money is one of our most important natural resources.  Sadly, thousands of dollars are wasted every year.  Until now.

Even on their donation page, Groupon is trying to be gimmicky.  It looks as though they are trying to make it seem that buying a Groupon is something akin to helping out a nonprofit.  They are trying to sell this to me and, even if my dollar goes twice as far, I’m not buying it.

I am all for capitalism to merge together to help nonprofits.  I think that TOMS Shoes show how the two can be in perfect harmony.  I got to hear the founder of TOMS Shoes, Blake Mycoskie speak at my place of employment and was blown away.  He stated that people should not make a mistake and assume that TOMS is a nonprofit, but quite the contrary.  TOMS is FOR profit and that the more money they make the more good they can do.  TOMS is a playful/fun brand, but make no bones about it, they would never satirize the people who they are helping.

This is where Groupon missed the mark.

Now, I have been quite the fanboy for Groupon.  I have promoted them as soon as they entered the San Antonio area.  In fact, I have driven a ton of people to their site both by word of mouth and through advertising on this blog.  I have received so much credit from these referrals that I have actually only spent $10 of my money and have received anywhere from $200-$300 in credit.

I loved Groupon.  They were awesome.  They saved me money, and their deals were always of the highest quality.  However, I cannot and will not support an organization which finds humor in minimizing the troubles and pains of others.

Due to their disgusting ad, I have canceled my Groupon membership.  Not unsubscribed, but canceled, as in getting them to delete my account.  I had Groupons that I had not used and about $30 worth of credit, but to me I would rather through it in the trash than support their company.

Now, there is no easy way to delete your account.  You first have to send in a request upon which you get a stock email back about how they “didn’t mean to offend you.”  You then have to request for them to delete your account again and they will just simply “unsubscribe” you from the email list.  You must then emphasize a third time that you want your account DELETED and they will finally remove you.

I know that many people might think of this as being over the top, but I want Groupon to know that what they did is unacceptable.  I don’t think they realize how disgusting it is that they are using other people’s misfortunes to sell a discount coupon.

I have removed a link to Groupon from this blog and am in the process of working with Google Ads to make sure that no Groupon advertisement is ever seen on my site again.  I will never buy a deal from Groupon (regardless of how sweet it is) and look forward to shopping with Living Social from now on.

I encourage you to do the same.

  • Anonymous from San Antonio

    Dude you need to lighten up! The whole concept of the superbowl and the ridiculous ads is what feeds the American stereotype. Not some one off ad from a company tryin to create a laugh (mission accomplished btw) and bring in some revenue. Capitalism is what is wrong with America not our ability to laugh. That talent is what has gotten us through some real hardships like the depression(s), wars, and terrorists attacks! You probably wouldn’t complain about stupid Carlos Mencia or George Lopez making fun of important stuff. This is the stupidest blog/forum I’ve read this year!

  • sonya

    Hey Joe, I totally agree with you on this one, they went too far.

    Sonya G

  • San Antonio Joe

    @Anonymous – I think it is both capitalism AND our ability to laugh that makes this country great. I just didn’t find the ad all that funny. Thanks for your comment, and while I know that you didn’t care for the article, I hope you can find some good places to eat!

  • Imran

    @Anonymous – I am just a passer by… Its indifference of people like you that capitalism flourishes…. which is what you seem to be really complaining about. Capitalism can be controlled… it needs hardwork, giving up some things… which is what this article is trying to do

  • Michael

    Completely agree with your post. Assinine move by Groupon. They further lost their integrity with their terrible and frustrating “customer service”. I also received the 3 email monty treatment. 1- “oh, but we’re really goood…”, 2- “unsubscribe from emails? sure!”, 3- hopefully, and FINALLY deleting my account. That resistance to deleting my account info clarified it was the right decision to delete it.

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