Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Other Important Things Besides Our Basement

School starts on Thursday and Laura will be in the fifth grade. I took her to get a back-to-school haircut today. I know that as a mother, there is no greater gift I can give her than the confidence that comes from a salon blowout.

Can you tell in this picture we are a tiny bit in love with ourselves? Tonight was her school's open house, and she joked about how she'd introduce herself to her teacher: "Hi, I'm Laura, and this is my blowout. Where is our desk please?" She even stayed home from the pool this afternoon to keep it nice. I mean, the girl loves the pool, but that is the smooth blonde hair of dreams. She'll probably sleep sitting up until Thursday.

You should see my hair right now. I am like a tawny lion. Here.

That's mah hair pushed back with a little headband. When I've just washed it, like I did today, the curls cannot be tamed. Forgive the low light and Michelle Bachmann crazy eyes. Lion! Rawrr!

Hank is not so concerned as Laura with his coiffure.

Yesterday I was out with Hank, and he climbed down from the car and stood in the parking lot. "It is hot as HELL out here," he said. He made this pronouncement not at all like he thought he was swearing, just exactly like I would say it. I couldn't even come up with a correction, because he was perfectly right. It was absolutely mothereffing hot as the hinges of hell and it was the perfect moment to remark such. I just said, "Mm hmm. Now hold my hand in the parking lot."

Then, THEN, I walked Hank and his buddy into Kangazoom, one of those bounce house places. A while back, they had a Groupon that offered a 10-visit punch card for $20 or $30. I can't remember which, but it was a really good price. We had gone once, in the spring, right after the Groupon, but I was waiting until a day when it was, you know, hot as hell to come back. So Hank and his bud and I all walked into Kangazoom, all wearing the all-important socks and ready to rock. I signed the little waivers for the boys. And the girl behind the counter told me that would be $18.50. Yes, a walk-in visit to this place costs $9.25, choke. I remembered I hadn't shown her my punch card, so I pulled it out of my wallet.

She pointed to our little friend, "Is he related to you?" No, I told her, he's our friend. She said, "Well you can't use the punch card for him, it's just a family pass." I studied the punch card. "When did that start?" I asked. "It's been that way from the beginning," she said. Hmm, I thought. She said, "Did you get that from the Groupon?" And I said I had. "It was on the Groupon," she said. Hmm. I didn't remember any provision that the pass was only good for one's own children, but I supposed it was just possible. I didn't want to make a huge thing. "Okay," I said. While I was looking in my wallet, she had a sudden change of heart, punched the card twice, and handed it to me. "Here," she said, "I've had a really bad day." I didn't know what to make of that so I thanked her and joked, "Is all the screaming getting to you?" "No," she said, "It's the moms." Whoa. So I smiled and we went on in and the boys jumped.

And I looked up my Groupons right there on my handy Groupon app. I could still read the fine print for the Kangazoom deal. There was nothing anywhere that indicated it was to only be used for one's own family. That wouldn't even make sense. How would that even be worded? It just said that it was valid for one punch per child per day. It annoyed me because it seems like a clear instance of the merchant, in this case Kangazoom, thinking better of the whole Groupon thing and wanting to have backsies on the deal, at the expense of the customer. Which will do nothing but tick people off, because even if I'd had to pay for our friend right then, I am gonna get my ten free jumps sometime. I would have complained to Groupon if the girl hadn't gone ahead and honored the punch card. I still might. Heck, I am now. If the point of participating in Groupon is to build goodwill among customers who have a choice of a million other bounce places, this won't do it.

Anybody had a similarly icky situation with a Groupon? I've heard mixed things. I've always been happy with the ones I've bought, but I'm pretty selective. Like, only buying Groupons for restaurants we already go to, stuff like that.

ANYHOO. I bought the boys each a drink and snack from their snack bar because she'd made me feel like a freeloader. And a good time was had by all.

And now Matt is down in the basement poking around. I better go see what he is doing! And offer my opinion!!


Aimee said...

Groupons are mostly good, I think. My only near-negative experience was at Old Navy, where it took them fifteen minutes to decide whether I could use the coupon on clearance items.

"It doesn't say I can't on the card."

*rolling eyes* "It DOES say that certain items are excluded."

*rolling eyes right back* "Really nice way to take care of your customers."

It seems they've left themselves a loophole to exclude whatever they feel like.

I did get to use it on the clearance items, but I was not happy with the attitudes.

Elizabeth said...

The only trouble I had with a Groupon was for a pedicure in a place that I had never heard of, so I guess it was my fault. It turned out to be in an office park -- and was described as a spa. :(

Beth said...

I've actually never used a Groupon. I am a Groupon virgin. I wonder what it will be that takes my virginity?

Laura's hair is bananas, it looks so good. And I'm pretty much loving your hair now, too. It's wild in a sexy way, I think.

It's usually the moms.

Michele R said...

I'm dying over the hot as hell comment. And both of y'alls hair is fantastic. I have recently rediscovered headbands as well. I too feel like a freeloader sometimes when I use coupons. I signed up for Groupon and check out the offer everyday but have not yet bought anything.
P.S. School started Mon. This getting up early stuff is for the birds.

Jenni said...

those kids of yours are too funny! And I hope you did complain to groupon, and to the manager as well because it's clear that employee was just being difficult because she was having a bad dad. Poor form.

Michele said...

There's a groupon app? I must have it! said...

So my bestie just regaled me with her Groupon tale of woe last night over a glass of wine and I just clicked off of Groupon to check out my reader because I was having a moment's hesitation about buying a deal (teeth whitening in the Richmond area if anyone's interested!) only to see this. Do we take that as a sign to buy or not to buy? It's tough being superstitious in the 21st century.

Anyway, my friend's story is that she bought a Groupon for pilates classes that expires in Feb '12. She decided to take the classes, called to set up the appt and they said, "sorry, that card had to be activated by June 30th. Activated? What? So now she can't use her coupon that clearly states it doesn't expire until next year because she didn't call to activate the coupon and the business is acting like that's the most reasonable thing in the world. She took it to the Facebook streets, it's about to get real in the Pilates circuit here in Charlottesville.

But really, to whiten or not to whiten...that's the question...

The {G} Family said...

Yep, Old Navy Groupon. Took my 4 kids in there and finally 2 tshirts were decided on. But, they were of the label that could not be used with the Groupon. Back we went, got socks for the boys for school. Back in line. Yep, socks can't be bought with said Groupon. Back we go again. Finally my teen just grabbed a $19.98 tshirt. Oops, not $20. So, we ended up with a shirt we didn't need and some gum. Yay.

Hootie said...

So... imagine instead of Groupon and LivingSocial etc. being free to the public, there is a "membership fee" associated with each of several "one giant coupon a day" opportunities. Now, imagine that every day I offer a great discount on one of these membership fees. A meta-mega-groupon. Didn't I just blow your mind??

It's turtles all the way down.

Elle said...

I have bought a couple of Groupons and it's all been good, but it was really easy transactionage, it was hard to mess up.

The thing we should remember with social-media buying is that we are not VendorX's customer, but the social-media aggregators' client. Living Social's service is sharp: In the spring I bought four deals for a 1-hour massage which was more like a 45-minute massage, which is not what I bought. I was prepared for this, because this very issue was being posted as if by Luther all over the Yelp, and why not? If they wanted to offer a loss-leader coupon of a 45-minute massage, they should have said they were offering a 45-minute massage. It still would have been a pretty-good deal, and expectations would have been clear.

I brought it to the attention of the spa administration after my 45-minute, one-hour massage & they mealymouthed through some half-assed list of excuses about their special, aromatic, time-space continuum. Okay, shore thing! So I called Living Social and they refunded my money for the other 3, no hassle + assured me they would keep on the vendor in subsequent offers. I wish that useless family counselor had been via a Groupon.

My guess is that the "policy" was completely made-up by the young lady who was tired of being shat upon by sweaty, overprivileged, bounce-bound mothers and when you resignedly reached into yr bag instead of having a HOW DARE YOU face-off with someone working for minimum-wage, she retreated. I'll bet if you call today & sweetly + obliquely ask about Groupon limiations, there will be no such thing. I'm dying to know! xx

Meghan said...

Whoa! So many comments, and I only have a second. a) I've been loving the daily blogging! b) to me, this is more of a vendor issue than a Groupon issue. I blame Kangazoom.

I'll note that I did almost buy a group segway tour through Durham once from Groupon, after reading your fun segway post!

Becky said...

Elle, glad you got your massage grievance sorted out. That is kind of shabby. I think that's the thing, the groupon merchants don't, most of them, see us as their customers. They figure we'll move on when our groupon is finished.

That Old Navy Groupon sounds like such a pain in the ass, ugh.

If there were a groupon for a Segway tour around here I would be so on it!

Christian said...

Vis-a-vis Groupon: I'm going to side with the business, because I've seen first-hand how Groupons can blow up disastrously on a merchant. I'd be happy to go into detail elsewhere, but in general: Groupon, in its rush to expand, hasn't helped merchants draw up reasonable restrictions at the start of the deal. These merchants are usually small businesses, unequipped to handle both the volume that Groupon brings, as well as the variety of odd situations that need to be anticipated. Groupon's still new, but already many businesses don't sign-up for a second round.

Christian said...

The cafe where David works ran the most successful Groupon in the history of all Groupons in Santa Cruz county ever. And it was a nightmare. Groupon brings out everyone's cheapest, sneakiest, most entitled, rude sides. Many Groupon users lied to skirt the restrictions, and then don't tip, which is part of eating at restaurants in the US.

Mental Momma said...

I laughed when you mentioned the extras at the snack bar. I have to admit that I don't use groupon because I get all embarrassed to use coupons and discounts. Not so much with groceries or something of that nature, but definitely restaurants and services.

The Stiletto Mom said...

She's soooooo pretty Becky! And your hair looks great! Miss you!

Juliet Grossman said...

If the idea of Groupon from the merchant perspective is to introduce more new customers to their business, then I too cannot understand why they are so often assy about it when you get there. Wouldn't they want to make sure you have an extra-good experience so you become a repeat customer? But no, seems they are often assy. I just had an experience where I actually started to get into a little tiff with an eyebrow threader because her coupon (not a groupon, but a regular coupon) said, "New Customers Only." She said, "You look familiar. I think you've been here before." I never had (honest!) and she was really giving me a hard time. I showed her my punch card from the place I usually go to and she grudgingly gave me the deal but was such a bitch about it that I'm sure I'll never go back.