Groupon blues

First things first - I realized the link I posted yesterday doesn't take you directly to the directions for the necklace I made, just the general blog. Since a few of you have expressed interest in this project, here is the direct link - hopefully that helps so you don't have to wade through pages and pages. Now on to our regularly schedule blog post.

Groupon. Do any of you use it? Or any of it's variations - Crowd Cut, Living Social, Daily Deals, etc? We started using it back this fall. Groupon and Crowd Cut mostly. The concept seems like such a good idea. Meals at restaurants for half off? Roller derby tickets for half off? Cheap deals for Amazon.com? Awesome! I am all about saving money, now more than ever. So far we've had amazing luck with the things I mentioned and in addition to those also bought deals for Dunn Brothers coffee, Chatterbox Pub and Vic's restaurant in NE Mpls. And we've never had issues with using these deals until we went to Vic's last night. Now, I think the blame for the story I am about to share really goes three ways - including with ourselves. See, Nate bought the Groupon for Vic's in early January I think, I do not remember for sure. We were reading the description when it came in an email and figured, well we've never been there before. The deal was $50 for only $25. Vic's is a somewhat spendier place, so this sounded like a good deal. The problem is, Groupons are not unlimited on time table. They do expire just like any other type of coupon. It was only good until March 31st - so here is where we take the blame, due to our schedule and just honest procrastination, we didn't get a chance to use it until this week, just under the wire. However, Nate called over the weekend and made us a reservation so we thought that we'd be all set, never imagining what we'd be in store for. It turned out to be quite a nightmare.

See, apparently reservations don't apply to procrastinators/Groupon users at Vic's. We had made our reservation for 6:30, figuring Nate would have plenty of time to get home so we could head down. As it turns out, he was home earlier than normal, so we left the house at about ten to six figuring, well if we get down there a little early that's fine, give us time to find parking and all that jazz. We parked in a nearby ramp, walked down to the restaurant and probably were walking in the door around 6:15. We noticed a large crowd was kind of hanging out in the waiting area, but figured, well these people must have walked up. We checked in with the hostess and said we had a 6:30 reservation. She then informed us "We are experiencing a bit of a wait right now on reservations, so I can take down your name and we'll get you seated as soon as we can, but it will be about a half hour to 45 minutes." Um, excuse me?

There were a good twenty or so groups ahead of us on this list. And of course they were all like groups of two like us. The bar was also full of people waiting for tables. Now because we had bought the Groupon we decided to wait it out, but this just seemed kind of ridiculous. After about 45 minutes we were finally able to sit at the bar. Where we waited for another HALF HOUR. Yes that's right, our total wait time for a reservation was an hour and a half. Every single person that came in who had a "reservation" had the same wait. This is where I say the blame goes three ways on this issue - like I said, we waited until the last minute to use the Groupon, so that is clearly our own fault. But, Vic's maybe should have been better prepared for the rush like this - or turned some people down or something. And maybe Groupon should have had a limit on how many of these were purchased. Or maybe I'm just being whiny and should shut my mouth. I guess I just feel that if you have a reservation for a specific time, you should be seated and eating close to that time.

I suppose the best solution is, in the future, not waiting until right before it expires to use it. I am curious though if it was just that Vic's was underprepared for this situation? By the way - the food was just ok. Well ok, Nate's meal was super good, mine was kind of sub-par. He had Pork Osso Busco, I had ribs and rotassarie chicken and I've honestly had better. We had some good wine though. So after all we went through, I'm still not certain it was worth it. Though with the Groupon our total wasn't bad at all and they valdiate parking as well, so all in all that part wasn't terribly bad.

Moral of the story - don't procrastinate if you want to save money I guess!


Gina said...

Oh sorry to hear about the experience! I agree with you on the reservations though. You make them so you can get a table at that time...not an hour and a half later.

Jes said...

We have had some very long wait times at restaurants we have had Groupons for if we go right away when we get them, or if we end up waiting until the end of the certificate. Being a restaurant worker, I can understand how it happens, and I'm not super convinced those coupon sites really help anyone in the long run. At least you tried and know what their food is like now!

Alexandra said...

Or...don't go to Vic's. That would be my suggestion, anyway. I've never had very good experiences there--the service is usually pretty bad.