My Groupon Rule

I’ve written about how much I love daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial; given their success, you probably do to.

However, I have one rule about this sites that I want to share, and I want your opinion about it. I think it’s a rule worth following, but I understand if others have different points of view.

My Groupon Rule: Don’t buy daily deals from restaurants and stores that you already like and believe in. Instead, use them as a reminder to give those places your business.

I realized that I have this ruled today when I saw today’s Groupon in St. Louis (see photo). St. Louis Cinemas is an awesome, local, independent chain of movie theaters. I’ve been to their theaters at least 20 times this year. Their popcorn is delicious.

Thus this daily deal would have made sense for me to get, right?

Groupon is really good at trying to attract new clients or re-attract old clients that haven’t patronized the businesses for a while. However, it’s only good for that purpose, because businesses lose money on every Groupon sold. They only recoup those loses if those new and returning clients come back again in the future and pay full price. (Or if people don’t use the Groupons they buy, which happens about 15% of the time.)

So I’d challenge you to think about this when you spot a Groupon for your favorite restaurant. And maybe you could justify it if you go there as often as I go to the movies. But if you haven’t been to that restaurant for a while, go there and give them your money. If you already know you love the place, you’re getting something great in return.

For those of you in St. Louis, here are four businesses that I believe in to the point where I won’t buy their Groupons:

(By the way, I’m leaving scores of businesses off that list. Sometime I’ll try to create a full list of all businesses and contractors in the area that I really believe in.)