My last visit to Los Aztecas sent me over the edge.
I bought a Groupon/Living Social/Seize the Deal voucher for this local Mexican restaurant a few weeks before this particular visit. I can’t even remember from which website I purchased this $10 coupon — they all became interchangeable when I craved a good deal — that would be good for $20 worth of food.
I grabbed The Hubs and hopped to Westport Village over for some fajitas the day before the coupon was scheduled to expire. My butt barely landed in the seat before I slid my fingers over my phone’s screen to show the waitress my coupon.
“I’m sorry,” she said after careful inspection. “This is only good at the Prospect location.”
Curse you, Small Print.
That experience was the culmination of several unfortunate interactions with online group coupon deals. I’ll take the blame for some of the problems — I can be a bad consumer. But the sum of these inconveniences was enough to make me stop buying into the bargains, no matter how much I was supposed to save.
- I bought deals to businesses I had never (and would never) patronize. Highland Morning. Heitzman Traditional Bakery and Deli. Sleep Outfitters. Alpine Ice Arena. All places I thought I would patronize if I bought a Groupon first. All places I still haven’t visited. The deals have all expired, and now the voucher is just good for the amount I paid instead of the advertised discount. It’s not that I never want to visit, mind you, I just didn’t get around to them in time to make my vouchers worthwhile.
- I spent more money with the coupons than without them. Rob and I had a voucher for O’Shea’s Irish pub. We shelled out $20 on top of what we paid for the coupon. There was something about knowing I had saved a bundle that made me itch to spend a bundle, especially at restaurants. Appetizer? Sure, we already paid for it! Drinks? Diet Coke, please! Dessert? Heck, yeah! All this, plus tipping based on the value of the coupon, quickly emptied an already bare wallet.
- The small print. I’m a busy lady, so I don’t always read the important stuff like terms and conditions. Too bad this is the place where Groupon/Living Social/Seize the Deal tells you the particulars of their vouchers, such as the locations at which you can redeem the deal (see top of post), whether it is only good for carry-out (you usually have to dine in), or if alcohol is included (never is).
- I was locked in to eating only at the places for which I had a deal. For a while, I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant unless I had a voucher. Why eat at one location if I had a paid-for meal at another? For a food writer, this is no bueno.
Are you in the no-online-coupon boat with me? Or do you love Groupon and the like? Take it to the comments!