My really good friend is a Groupon addict. That app is on her phone and she’s always on the lookout for great deals that will lead to her next great adventure. For the most part, it’s worked out quite well. She’s gotten great deals at great prices with no hidden charges. And she discovered awesome activities that she normally wouldn’t have known about. But every now and then, there’s that great groupon deal that she got, and when she decided to use it, there was a surcharge at the time of purchase.
This past weekend, we went on a Bananaboat and a Parasail ride. Both companies were awesome. The experience was mind blowing. The memories will probably be etched in my head for a long time. But when we redeemed the coupon, we had to pay an extra fuel surcharge per person. That meant we literally had to pay money to use a groupon. That didn’t make sense. When you book activities directly with these companies, you don’t pay a fuel surcharge. All charges are already built in. So with the surcharge, and with the groupon, our totals came out roughly to the normal cost, or slightly above what you would pay. In all honesty, I don’t care what we paid, the experience was that awesome. I’m just curious about the entire groupon discount.
About three years ago, I used a groupon at a restaurant that promised our third meal would be free. The meal was free, but they still made us pay taxes on all three meals, and an automatic tip of 15% was charged to us utilizing the total amount of all three meals. Then after the grand total was calculated, they subtracted the cost of the cheapest meal.
Is groupon worth it? Yes and no. There are going to be companies that rip you off, there are going to be companies that charge you fairly, and then there are those that are going to honor your deal. I would say that overall, groupon will not be a cheaper experience for you overall. Companies have to make a certain amount of money to stay in business. They view groupon as just another form of advertisement. For the most part, most companies are not trying to rip you off, even those that have a surcharge. They are just trying to make a little profit to stay in business.
I would say to exercise come caution when you book these deals. Once you find the groupon you like, Yelp them. Find out if they ripped off any groupon coupons. I find that restaurants do this more often. Call up the company and ask them if there are any surcharges associated with the groupons. They’ll let you know.