Are Groupon deals worth it?

September 27, 2013
We’ve all heard of Groupon deals and its various copycats such as Wowcher and Living Social.  In fact you’ve probably purchased something from the site, which offers products and services at heavily slashed prices.
However, are Groupon deals worth it? Do you really think you get value for money?  And crucially, do you think it’s worth the original price they claim?
I have to admit, I am a sucker for big discounts.  I love a bargain – I’m never happier in a sale, and heck, I’ll even browse the clearance food section at Tesco’s.
However, having purchased a few products and services from Groupon, I am starting to wonder if they’re worth it.
Bella Sante spa in Oldham
Bella Sante – not as relaxing as it looks

My first foray was a pamper day at a salon.  Or at least that’s what I thought.  The deal looked enticing. A manicure, pedicure and one-hour massage from a salon just outside Manchester – classily called
Bella Sante.  Apparently, Bella Sante was Gatineau appointed (whatever that means).
I paid £55 for me and a friend, with an apparent saving of 72% on the whole package.  Bargain, in theory.
Anyway, on the day, my friend couldn’t make it, so I called ahead to let them know of the cancellation, and asked if the second voucher could be used on a separate occasion.  I was told yes, so went ahead alone with a view to keeping the remaining voucher for another visit.

Groupon deals – not all they seem

Upon arrival, the salon wasn’t quite what I expected.  Naively, I expected it to be more like a day spa, but it was a modest shop front, not dissimilar to a small town hairdresser.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I wasn’t offered a choice of massage and just given a hot oil treatment (I’d rather have the hot stones).  The masseuse was lovely, but the oil which was liberally applied was left all over me, so I felt incredibly greasy, rather than moisturised, afterwards.
The manicure was bizarre to say the least.  The nail technician decided not to colour the entire nail and leave a gap around the edges.  When I questioned this I was told this is a trend (have I missed something?).
Finally, my biggest bugbear was the service.  When I asked the owner about using the surplus voucher on a separate occasion, she huffed, questioned the girl who told me this was allowed and then had a long discussion with her staff, making me wait around 10 minutes for a response.
A full-fringed bob
Cut-price hairdessing  – a cut in service too?
She would have left me waiting longer, had I not prompted her again. To which she kindly responded
that I couldn’t use the voucher separately as they’re a business, not a charity.  Fooled me, up until that point I was convinced that they were Save the Children.

Hairdressing on Groupon deals – a cut above?

My hairdressing experience was only marginally better.  The salon, called Pure Hairdressing and situated in Belgravia, offered a wash, cut and finish for £25, instead of the usual £90.
Anyway, I thought a salon in such a grand destination had to be great.  However, while the salon looked very nice, I was greeted by a strange passively-aggressive hairdresser.  He was apparently trained by Vidal Sasoon and got seriously miffed when I tried to tell him how I’d like my hair, chiding me and telling me repeatedly that he has over 30 years’ experience.  Clearly the customer isn’t right in this salon.
He was seriously Jekyll and Hyde, nice and chatty in between, but then moody and weird. Had it not been for the fact that I’d paid up front on Groupon, I would have been out of there like a shot.  His hair cutting wasn’t bad, but not worth £90.  And I certainly wouldn’t take his customer service for free.
To be fair, not all of my Groupon experiences have been as bad as this.  I’ve had much better luck with products.
I really liked the Photobox wedding and honeymoon albums I created (see my review here). They only cost £15.50 each, instead of £55.  However, again, I question the original asking price.  I liked them because of the price I paid, not the RRP they claim.  If I was to pay full price, I may have been less impressed.
A white personalised wedding album from Photobox
It’s the same with my Cooks blender, it’s a nice purchase at £19.99, but at the original price of £69.99, I would expect much better.
Cooks smoothie blender with mutliple cups and blades
I’ve even been on the receiving end of a Groupon gift (lucky me). My husband bought me a Swarovski set,. I wear the bracelet and earrings, but the choker, shaped like a dog collar, hasn’t seen the light of day.
But of course, I can’t resist a bargain, and I still find myself browsing my daily Groupon deals, Wowcher and Living Social email alerts.

So, are Groupon deals worth it?

I can’t say I won’t purchase again, but would impart the following wisdom:
Products tend to be a safer bet than services, and most importantly, remember the old saying – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Or in this case, there’s no such thing as a massive discount.

About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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