My name is Jaci and I am a Groupoholic.
And I didn’t even know I was an addict until I found myself waking up halfway through the night and going to my computer, for fear of having missed a bargain while I was sleeping.
It started out like any other addiction. At first, a small pleasure, with me innocently signing up to what appeared to be a great bargain. A mere $35 for a $60 meal? What could go wrong? A $40 facial for $20? All the things I loved, suddenly at my fingertips, for considerably less money.
Then there were deals for things I didn’t even know I needed until Groupons came into my life. Boot camp! Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of it before! Six $80 sessions down to the bargain price of $25! I’ll take it!
More things followed. Rally driving. Golf. Rambling. Scuba diving. Infra-red sauna treatments. Microdermabrasion (whatever that was). Tattoos. If it was a bargain, I wanted it. And, down to three hours’ sleep a night and needing to grab the best Groupon deals before everyone else, I invariably got it.
Incredible. I was rich, and the more I spent, the richer I seemed to become.
I was living a double life and loving it.
I had easily been able to segregate my Groupon life from what I called my normal life. My own Grouponism was a guilty secret - I Grouponed alone, I hid my Grouponism from friends and family – but I carried on with my Groupon-free existence, never wishing to openly acknowledge what was happening in that dark place.
The hotels and bars I frequented were Groupon-free zones, where I laughed at people afflicted by Grouponism. How I sneered at their desperation and their sweaty little hands, frantically waving their pieces of paper proclaiming the deal, and making demands upon staff whose eyes you could see burning with Groupon hatred.
Now, it’s all gone horribly wrong; suddenly, Grouponites are everywhere.
In all my once Groupon-free zones, there are dozens of people, sheafs – reams - of paper scrabbling for air space, and customers demanding why they can’t use their Thursday Groupon on a Friday, and why the sliders have lamb rather than beef fillings, and why you can’t use the Groupon for a Martini instead of a glass of wine.
Having got the bargain, they have to find something wrong with it and are never happy. I also notice that Grouponites never tip. The deal spells it out: you have to tip the staff, as tips are not part of the Groupon; but the Grouponites are so intent on landing a bargain, they ignore the small print of the deal.
I now feel permanently incensed on the staff’s behalf – at least, once I pick myself up off the floor after being trampled on by a hoard of Grouponites. It’s heartbreaking. All my favourite places have been turned into scenes from the Alamo.
Suddenly, I don’t want to be associated with these people, but have I left it too late? Has my addiction already taken too strong a hold? I have begun to loathe the very sound of the word.
Groupon. The monster that is Groupon.
Is there a Dr Groupon in a dark office, wondering, like me, how his wonderful creation got so out of hand? How all of us, wanting a bargain and signing up for our discounts, have turned so resentful, owing to the fact that now, when we go to our favourite social destination, we have to hack down fellow Grouponites who stand in our way?
Having resolved to wean myself off, however, I discovered that there was no help available, no known cure: no counselling groups, no programmes, no newspaper articles revealing how we might dig ourselves out of this mire. And so I set about devising my own 12 Step Programme that I hope may be of use to those finding themselves in the grip of the same addiction and wishing to step off the Groupon ladder once and for all. So, WE:-
1. Admitted we were powerless over Groupons – that our lives without bargains had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power lesser than our consumerist selves could restore us to sanity – Debt.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Debt, as we understood It.
4. Made a searching and fearless financial inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to Debt, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our Groupon inclinations.
6. Were entirely ready to have Debt remove all these defects of consumerism from our weak and feeble characters.
7. Humbly asked Debt to remove the word Groupon from our computers and to block all invitations from future Groupons.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed in our fight to beat them to a bargain, and became willing to make amends by returning all gifts purchased by Groupons.
9. Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them even more than we already had, when we trampled them while rushing to the discounted Martini.
10. Continued to take personal inventory of our bank accounts and, when we noticed our savings mounting up, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Debt, as we understood It, praying only for knowledge of Its will for us and the power to carry that out in getting our bank accounts back into the red.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other Grouponites, and to practise these principles in all of our financial affairs.
My book on the subject will soon be available on Amazon, by the way, price $29.99. $10 with a Groupon.