If you’re like me, you’re often tempted by deals on Groupon or Living Social b/c you think you’re going to save money. If you’re even more like me, you often don’t use the groupons you’ve purchased. But they always sound like a great deal, don’t they? Think again…
I purchased a Groupon for JC Penny store portraits- $25 for a photography session plus 3 digital images and two printed photos. Sounded great and much cheaper than using a private professional photographer. I’m not usually a fan of department store portraits and the typical holiday card- kids dressed in fancy clothes complete with red velvet, bows, ribbons, bells and reindeer sweaters, while sitting in front of a fake fireplace/reindeer/drunken Santa Claus…. But I decided to give it a try b/c $25 is an absolute bargain.
On the day of the appointment, we were running late and rushing. Have you ever tried getting four kids (5 years and under) dressed and together for an appointment? Well, it’s a little like herding cats. As a result of the rushing, my good stroller was hastily folded up and shoved into the trunk. Naturally, it broke. We forged on and arrived at the store 15 min late (of course we did. Who arrives on time with kids??). We were told that the store has a 10 min grace period. Obviously this rule was made by someone who doesn’t have kids (or never was a kid). Pepcid pills popped, we rescheduled for the following week.
When the big day arrived again, we were determined not to be late. With the kids partially dressed and somewhat happy (Goldfish work every time), I managed to back out of my driveway without noticing the car parked behind me and backed right into it. After talking to the neighbor and promising to take care of the damages (it was a small dent on the bumper. How bad could it be?), we still made it to the appointment on time.
But now we had to take the Goldfish away. That left one child crying just in time for the pictures. Perfect. It’s not a family portrait unless someone’s crying, right? When the session was over, the saleswoman gave me the ole’ bait and switch. I could take only 3 images as per my Groupon (and get that “you don’t care about your kids” look from the saleswoman) or I could buy the entire disc for a mere $85. Of course, I opted for the whole disc. Great groupon deal (not really).
The following day I received a phone call- the cost of repairing (which actually means replacing) the bumper is $775. Well, at least the Groupon was only $25. On second thought… stroller cost: $700, bumper repair: $775, photos $85, Groupon $25, massage I needed after the stress: $100. So, all in all, the holiday photos ended up coming in at a mere $1,685.00. What a bargain! I could have hired my own photographer, make up artist and drunken Santa and it would still have cost less.
So, next time you think you’re getting a good Groupon deal, think again. Hidden costs will likely be incurred. You know what they say… Buyer beware!