Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I See...Groupons

We were sitting in our favorite Mexican restaurant Monday, and before I knew it, my wife and I sensed something was different. And I knew exactly what had happened. First, it was busier than normal. And I was mildly bothered by that. Not because I feel that I should have a restaurant to myself. I adore the owner of Charros, and his small business sprouting out of his hard work and effort. But because the people there were not the normal folks, fellow tribe members, or locals that I have become accustomed to while sipping on my favorite frozen marg, I was a tad cantankerized.

There was a lot more hustle and bustle. kids playing hide and seek, babies tossing salsa on the shades. I saw an argument with a server who tried to explain that they did not have PBJ for the kids, in his best broken English. There were more servers on, there was a lot more chitter chatter of people who have never been in the place before, remarking on how this place compares to the other place, etc. I didn't recognize anyone. And most everyone was...OK, I am going to say it, overweight. I will go ahead and say this were their kids.

I hate calling stuff out like this (or don't even have a second thought). I mean, who am I to generalize, stereotype, categorize, box up, bookshelf...? I do see things in this sort of way; the differences, the paradoxical "isms" that dance and sing around me all day. To me, verything has a label, so I can remember stuff. I have silos for all sorts of things. Me?-- I likely fall in to a box labeled: impatient, sarcastic and narrow. Though I would like to argue/negotiate a little "means well"...if I were to have my liberties.

Look, I don't like coupons, especially the new internet gig "Groupons". They bring out...Groupon Zombies. And since I have either owned or managed a business for over 30 years, whether it be my own or somebody Else's, I think it is indulgent for the consumer and the promotions company. The promotion takes place just so the Zombies can take advantage of and never come back. No they don't, they never come back, not unless you do the promotion again. It is a sub culture of people wanting something for nothing and they are now categorized by their own habits/values. They are not my customer. They let their kids toss salsa.

Groupon people stand out like neon, wheabling from the parking lot to the front door, grasping on to their printed pieces of paper, ink barely dried from a two for one print cartridge deal a The Mart. They have conversations with each other on the way from the car, the rules to follow when getting seated. They spend with surgical precision, exactly what the coupon will deliver, and often short the tip. facts, folks, just ask those who have experience.

Nope, I will not be doing groupon advertising ever again. In fact, I will not be doing discounts on anything ever again. Just to keep from having to board up the windows from those expecting nothing other than a free ride, at the expense of the proprietors dime.

Support your local businesses like your family. It is your village, we all are part of it.

Groupons are over.


Stephanie Keister said...

Well said, Ralph. Couponing is a movement that I wish, as a marketer, to stay away from. Don't get me wrong, discounts and promotions have their place in liquidating product or thanking your existing customer base. But for the general public, you're correct in that they come once, gobble up your freebies, and are never seen again.

And Groupon? Those folks are just a nightmare. Groupon is raping small businesses in the name of promotions. What sounds like an excellent opportunity for business exposure turns into a consumer drive by with the business cleaning up the bloody mess.

I hope your favorite Mexican place returns to norm. And the title of your next blog should be, "Why Fine Dining Establishments Shouldn't Offer a Kiddie Menu." Subtitle could be, "Because Stephanie doesn't want to hear your kid scream when she's sipping a $12 glass of wine"


JBoeger said...

Nice post. I agree full-heartedly. It is wise to be picky about your clients: one bad one can ruin 10 good ones.

Anonymous said...

Pretty broad, sweeping generalizations about people that use coupons. As a business owner and consumer, if you want nothing to do with coupons, then simply don't use them. Making condescending remarks (describing the coupon users and their kids as "overweight", "Zombies") gives me more information about you then about them. Given the economy and joblessness, coupons may be the only way some people can enjoy the occasional dinner out.

A note from the pontificator... said...

So the victims of the economy are the consumers?--and they are entitled to a break from small business? What are we, the government? Groupon, and the deciples of Groupons, foster a cultural shift from main street economics. Write your local Walmart for updates on handouts.

Anonymous said...

Small business owners have more control over their companies than any other owner. No one forces small business owners to become part of the 'groupon zombie' group (which is very distastefully expressed). If an owner can not read the fine print or fully understand the contract that they are signing, they probably won't be in business much longer, regardless their involvement to Groupon. I am actually shocked by your post which came across as condemning children out of all restaurants that do not come with a 'play place'. I think its sad that you do not support a family atmosphere, even though you try to bring together the community/ 'tribe' (as you call it). But that is getting off subject, groupon is your issue, with reasons that seem extremely insignificant. You call it a cultural shift, which can only wonder what you mean by that statement. Are you saying that 'riff-raff' are invading? Those low life people who use coupons? It's your Prerogative. It's your blog. It's your small business. However, just a word of advice, before you go and insult over 75% of consumers, you may want to take on a more understanding role, and really blame the small business' that accept groupon. Let's face it, if groupon had not clients, groupon would not exsist.

A note from the pontificator... said...


You would need to refer to my profile to deal with how to deal with any distastefully expressions on this blog. You comment on condemning children is rediculous. I provide more value to families, adults, animals and other without coupons, on a daily basis, those without an entitlement.

My point here, if I may. I don't like the institution of groupons and the entitlement that it represents. While it delivers lots of people to your door, our study reveals a customer that is not at all loyal to the business, rather loyal to groupon. I jumped on the bandwagon and did one of the promotions early on and was shocked at the results. I had marketed to a group of people who would never become my loyal customer, and that did not make good business sense for several reasons. The main reason, having to discount severely in order to get them in the door, the other, discovering immediatly that they would not return unless I discounted again--the fine print couldnt and likely didnt understand this about my market. In defense of groupon, I admire theire ability to harness a tribe. It simply is not my tribe. And that is what my post was about. Smattered with a little bit of sarcasim. Anyway, thanks for you comment. I do appreciate it when people provide me the opportunity to engage.