Can we talk about Groupon? I’m struck by how rapidly the meme that is the deal-of-the-day site has spread through our culture.
This year’s biggest online hit is an email newsletter offering you coupons. How old school is that?
That’s an interesting notion, but I’m more interested in Groupon as a touchstone for our post-consumer times. Consider recent offers I’ve received:
- Admission to the Maritime Museum
- Hot yoga
- ‘Manly grooming services’
- Fitness boot camp
Because the price of everything essential is so easily within reach for most of us, we’re ready to spend our money on crap that we absolutely do not need.
77% of Groupon users are women, and I also think there’s a connection to the kind of it-girl celebrity worship that’s so present in our culture these days. People admire Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and the like in part because they’re rich, and can indulge whatever urge they desire. Women have become the more powerful consumers in our society, and their desire for luxury goods is piqued by movies like Sex in the City and product-oriented magazines like Lou Lou. Buying Groupon deals provides a way for middle-class people to scratch an upper-class itch.
But, then, so what? If people have money to spend, I’m happier if they’re buying services (which seem to comprise a big chunk of the Groupon offers) instead of more stuff. Services, I’d imagine, are a far more sustainable purchase.
What do you think of Groupon? Is it a great service or does it encourage irresponsible consumerism?
This is the first in at least a couple of posts about Groupon. Next week I’m going to interview a hardcore Groupon user.
Speaking of making sustainable choices, Vancouverites may want to check out Ethical Deal, a ‘green Groupon’.