Dear Groupon Man

Mar 25, 2015

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Dear Groupon Man

Mar 25, 2015

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Dear Groupon Man,

I was surprised when you called this morning. And on my cell phone, no less. I was in the middle of a really hectic morning but I had a few minutes so I decided to take the call.

And before we go any further, I just want to say thank you for being super friendly. I could hear all the other Groupon people in the back on their phones and I have no doubt that my name was but one in a long list of names you had to call today, but still, you were upbeat and nice. And it did not go unnoticed, so thank you. Really.

You said that you were looking to feature a photographer in my area and wanted to offer me that opportunity. Yowzers! I got real excited, like I had won something, and then I remembered this was Groupon and you wanted me to advertise with you. So, I allowed you a little of your spiel because nobody likes to be cut off mid-sentence. And then when you paused, I said, in my sweetest voice:

Thank you for calling me, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be interested. But, again, thank you.”

(I’ll be honest-I say this ALL the time and I don’t really know why I do. I mean, why do I feel the need to thank you for bothering me with a sales call. It’s stupid, I know, because I don’t really feel thankful that you called me. I guess I say it because it sounds like a polite thing to do. I really have no answers here. It was in the morning, so I can’t blame vodka.)

And after hearing my thanks, you said:

But, WHY wouldn’t you be interested?

Oh snap. That was a bold Groupon sales move. Other Groupon folk would have probably taken the hint and moved on to the next name, but not you, Groupon Man. You wanted to know my WHY. Kind of like a Groupon therapist. So, I simply said the following:

“I am not a coupon based business.”

I thought that explanation would end the conversation, but no, it did not. You were like a puppy with a bone and you responded with:

Have you had a bad experience with Groupon?

No,” I said. “I am familiar with Groupon but have never used it for my business.

So…do you not understand how Groupon works?

At this point, dear Groupon Man, the conversation shifted. As I sat in my office staring at my coffee which was growing colder by the second and a list of emails and phone calls I had to return prior to my first session, I felt that there was only of one of two ways I was getting off the phone:

1. Just hanging up or

2. Launching into WHY I don’t use Groupon.

As #1 was too rude of an option to be considered, I went with #2.

I don’t use Groupon because it’s not what I’m about. To be completely honest, I don’t want my name to be associated with Groupon. I mean, if I was selling frozen yogurt or manicures, then sure, but that’s not what I’m doing. I don’t want people using me because I baited them in with some ridiculously lowball offer. That devalues what I do, ergo, I won’t do it. (note: I did say, “ergo.” It’s not often you get to work that word into conversation, but I wanted to impress the Groupon Man) There is no way to qualify a client with Groupon; the only qualification is that they have $19.95 to spend on pictures. Portrait photography isn’t a commodity: it’s not an oil change or a tire rotation. It should be a personal experience: an event, a moment. I don’t belittle or devalue what I do for my clients…I won’t let Groupon do it, either.

After this, Groupon Man, you were silent for a few beats and then quickly hung up. I’m sorry it had to come to this. ?#?sorrynotsorry? Yeah, my coffee was cold by this time, but it was well worth it. And actually, I think I have a Groupon for this coffee place up the road, so I can just pick up another one later. xoxo

About The Author

Lynn Cartia (AKA Missy Mwac) is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: Facebook, Tumblr. This article was originally published here and shared with permission.

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31 responses to “Dear Groupon Man”

  1. Michal Rosa Avatar
    Michal Rosa

    Full of herself photographer made up a story to make herself feel more important. Decided it would be a good idea to denigrate a business model that’s different than hers, it’s different than her own so obviously it must be wrong. So precious.

    1. Andy Avatar

      Bigoted user writes oddly hate charged reply for the benefit of nobody :)

      1. CJ Jacobs Avatar
        CJ Jacobs

        Bored “nobody” replies to 1st commentor calling him a bigot and claiming his comment was hate filled when it isn’t. All for the benefit of “nobody”.

        1. Andy Avatar

          Not hate filled, just charged.
          A Nobody … for real my name is Andy Nobody

          1. raysot Avatar

            Andy! Where’s my $5?

          2. Michal Rosa Avatar
            Michal Rosa

            Hate charged? You clearly don’t understand the meaning of this word. Also don’t knwo what criticism means.

    2. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
      Chris Hutcheson

      I don’t agree at all with your perspective on this. I think the way she values her work is entirely appropriate from a pro shooter’s stance. She’ll do the shoot, do fine work, and never see the person again for any work at her regular prices because a) the customer got the portraits and b) that’s the way Groupon seems to work – people buy at the cheap price and then move on to the next Groupon. A lot of people I know who’ve taken this approach have lost money, and there’s been enough press going on about this to validate what she’s saying. Ergo, I completely agree with her approach.

      1. Michal Rosa Avatar
        Michal Rosa

        Yes. Just like I said. Her business model is different and she looks down on Groupon and people who use it. She is better. So much better.

        1. Mir Grosh Avatar
          Mir Grosh

          Hi Michal, first of all please remove the stick. Second she is right about the fact that Groupon is bad for every business. And people should not use Groupon because it sucks ass.

          1. Michal Rosa Avatar
            Michal Rosa

            Wow, love how you talk in absolutes. If it was bad for every business than no business would use it. So it would not exist. Yet it does. Hmm.. Well, you might not like, I might not like, but the facts are that some people like it.

          2. Mir Grosh Avatar
            Mir Grosh

            well everybody knows Groupon is only good for Groupon…

          3. Bill Binns Avatar
            Bill Binns

            Sucks ass?? What, you don’t like to begin a meal by having a negotiating session with the waiter about which parts of the menu don’t apply to you? I think it’s a fantastic way to break the ice on a first date.

        2. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
          Chris Hutcheson

          I don’t see anything in her content that infers she looks down on people who use Groupon. Their model simply doesn’t work for her professional practice. Just because she says no to someone doesn’t mean she looks down on them.

        3. Jane Avatar

          Looks like we found the Groupon Man!

    3. Helena Handbasket Avatar
      Helena Handbasket

      Sooooooo what you’re telling us, Michael, is you DO use Groupon?


      You don’t like the view that ‘Lynne’ offers, so you’re going to dismiss her commentary as ‘made-up’ and therefore worthless?

      Which is it, Michael?

      1. mike Avatar

        I am willing to be he is only a consumer of Groupon. Yeah, its great when you are getting the bargains. But when you are the business owner getting shafted by Groupon’s predatory practices or customers coming in for a freebie that have no intention of ever returning… you will have a different view of Groupon.

    4. KevinNewsome Avatar

      I’m confused at what you’re taking issue with here, Michael, the message, or the messenger?

  2. rea5245 Avatar

    “As [hanging up] was too rude of an option to be considered, I went with #2.”: I realized many years ago that telemarketers and door-to-door solicitors use social conventions as a weapon against us. We feel it’s rude to unilaterally end a conversation, so we hint that we want to end it, and wait for them to pick up on the hint and reciprocate (e.g. by saying “OK, well thank you for your time. Bye.”)

    As long as they ignore our hints, we feel trapped in the conversation. Once I realized this, I became able to hang up on someone or close my door in his face.

    1. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
      Kay O. Sweaver

      I usually say something like “You’re not making a commission off of me so let me get you to your next call as soon as possible.”

    2. mike Avatar

      If you really want to be rude, keep them talking. It wastes their time, and they are often not allowed to hang up on a caller.

      1. rea5245 Avatar

        Oh, I’ve done that too. I had a fascinating conversation with one one those scammers who said he was from Window Tech Support and they had detected a virus on my PC. He admitted to me he was a criminal and even tried to justify himself. I wrote about it at

  3. Bill Binns Avatar
    Bill Binns

    I agree with the author. I have gotten to the point that I’m suspicous of businesses who offer Groupons because it smells of desperation and can be a pretty strong indicator that a business is circling the drain.

    Groupon’s sales pitch to businesses is something like “You won’t make any money on the Groupon deals (and you may lose quite a bit) but you will get new customers into your business who will see how fantastic you are and will come back and pay your regular prices later”. Except it doesn’t really work that way. What you get are Groupon people who will take the deal then never come back because they have moved on to the next Groupon.

  4. Rex Deaver Avatar
    Rex Deaver

    I don’t feel any need to be make polite conversation with mass cold-callers. I simply say “No thanks” and hang up.

    I have nothing against Groupon, per se; I do the same to cold callers of every business and description. But the author is right, Groupon commoditizes services. If that isn’t what you want for your business, don’t play their game. And you don’t need to explain it.

  5. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
    Chris Hutcheson

    I just say “no thanks, not interested, thanks for your call” and hang up.

  6. Morgan Glassco Avatar
    Morgan Glassco

    What? You don’t want to mark your services down 50% and then split it with Groupon, ergo, only making 25%?


    What? You’re not interested in finding potential new clients who will happily refer to other Groupon shopping friends of theirs who will expect the same deal?

  7. Cbenci Avatar

    So when did she make the $5 ring flash? You know the DIY part?

    I am on the right website?

  8. JP Danko Avatar
    JP Danko

    A lot nicer than I was last time they called. @Groupon is essentially a legal scam that preys on nieve small businesses

  9. tr0ndisc Avatar

    I used to be a die-hard LivingSocial advocate and then October 2013 changed everything for me: Groupon was no longer a gimmick as they offered high-end merchants & goods within the Bay Area. Groupon offers tremendous variety & value to explore merchants I would not otherwise have tried. Michal Rosa is 100% right. Tough to denigrate a business model for people who do not use it. Groupon motivates me to write positive Yelp reviews, tip extra, overspend on most occasions and best yet…I *have returned* to some merchants even after they discontinued their Groupon advertising. Groupon isn’t just about saving money or as the author thinks screwing the business/merchant. It’s about discovering something new with less risk to the consumer and finding the best services available. Ridiculous to think that every customer of a local Groupon is not a repeat buyer. I love Groupon for life!

    1. mike Avatar

      LivingSocial, Groupon, AND Yelp?

      You are like that spam that shows up in every comments. I bet you made $10,000 last month from social media.

  10. DarkHole Avatar

    WTF! What a complete waste of my time reading this. I actually expected something exciting at the end, but it’s like watching a 3 hour movie about a dying earth and the only way to save man kind is to send a crew of 5 people and robots into space to find a new planet, only for the movie to have the most teeth grinding bollox of a disappointing-ending that left me unsatisfied and lacking fulfilment.

    Yep that’s right, I just wrote a negative comment about your negative experience with a negative sales call. and the moral of my comment is that it’s as pointless as your entire article.

  11. Lina Orsino-Allen Avatar
    Lina Orsino-Allen

    I had exactly this conversation with groupon too. I told them I did not want to be a brand associated with them, that I didn’t want my work devalued by a low price. He argued that some big luxury hotel brands here in the UK use groupon and why would I not want to be associated with them? I said no, I would be associated with selling my work cheaply and devaluing it. Naturally I thanked him for the call and said goodbye. No photographer worth their salt should be selling cheap packages on groupon…