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Groupon, Please Tell Me What to Do…

If you’re anything like me, the advent of the Groupon has been a life-changer. (OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but you’ll see what I mean.) I can’t remember the last time I went out to dinner without using a Groupon—the mere thought of doing so seems preposterous. Why would I pay for a full price dinner when I can get it for 50%-80% off?

Of course, most of us already know this story; Groupon is huge these days. Yet, I don’t think many of us realize just how much of an impact Groupon (and other sites like it) has on how we, as consumers, make decisions. Think about it, if you’re subscribed to all of the Groupon-like sites (e.g., LivingSocial, Eversave, BuyWithMe, etc.) you’re receiving over 30 deals a week. That means that in one month, you could have enough deals to use a different deal every day for four months straight.

In fact, Groupon recently challenged one of its members to do just that: give up all of their worldly possessions and live on Groupons alone for an entire year. Here’s a link to the official website along with an article from MSNBC about the challenge.

It’s true though, with the wide variety of deals and promotions these sites offer, there really doesn’t seem to be any reason to go to an establishment without one. For me, Groupon has transcended its initial purpose as a deal-engine and has become a decision-engine. (Yes, I know I stole that from Bing, but hear me out.) No longer do I have to make tough choices like ‘where do I go for dinner tonight,’ ‘which of the five dry cleaners located within a mile of my apartment should I bring my clothes to’ or ‘what fun adventure should I embark on this weekend.’ Groupon has solved all of that by getting me to pre-purchase and pre-plan before the deal gets sold out. In fact, I’ve already planned three trips this summer based on deals I got from a Groupon site.

I feel like this change—letting a website dictate parts of my life—is something I should be concerned about. Yet, I’m totally fine with it. Why? I do not know. Maybe it’s because Groupon has encouraged me to try new places and adventures that I would have normally passed over had it not been for the discount. Or maybe it’s because I’m just straight-up lazy and I like letting Groupon do all the leg-work. Whatever it is, it’s working.

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