COUPONS, GROUPONS, LIVING SOCIAL … OH MY.

When coupons and deal-of-the day sites are slashing prices and giving consumers incredible deals on our favorite restaurants, should we worry? Do we feel cheap and tacky if we use them? How do these affect the restaurants we love?

I recently checked the mail and was set into a mini-panic when I saw a $10 off coupon from a local (non-chain) restaurant I adore.  I’ve been here, this place was great, and also made a mention in Richmond magazine as a best new restaurant.  $10 off?!  Were they going out of business?  Was the owner having financial “difficulties”? Then I stopped my obsessive over-analyzation and thought, maybe just they’re encouraging more traffic and giving everyone an incentive to come check them out. What a comfortable thought to keep my wandering mind at bay.  I have yet to use it but if the time is right and I’m jonesing for this place, I’ll bring it.

A few weekends ago, I uncovered a Juleps Groupon and with one easy transaction, I’d gotten “$20 for $40 Worth of Upscale Southern Cuisine”…direct words. I know Groupon and other daily discount websites are here to make us buy, buy, buy promoting an economic boost while also making consumers pleased. But, I always wonder when you show that cut coupon, living social deal, or whatever it is that lowers the bill, what are your servers REALLY thinking?  I know what I would think if I had seen this back in my waitress days…

“These damn cheap-o’s.  Now I’m screwed out of any tip whatsoever.”

Even when I coyly flash my Groupon’s, I try to convey some sort of look to reassure my server that I fully intend on tipping towards the full amount of my meal and drink – coupon or not.

*tip on what the full bill would have been, not the Groupon price*

Deal or no deal, I’ll still go eat at my favorite places, but I wonder what kind of crowd these coupons bring in.  The suburbanites that travel to the city for a “high-end supper”?  The under-tippers that adore the mark down to the point that they’ll skimp on a well deserved gratuity?  Or maybe, good people just want a good deal on good grub.
I’ll stick with the latter and hope that everyone loves a discount, the servers don’t mind the slight annoyance, and the restaurant loves the ramped-up business.

someecards.com - Please stop using coupons, I will pay the difference.....

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