Friday, January 16, 2015

The Groupon Racket - If You Groupon, You Need to Read

Disclaimer: Sorry, it's long, but bear with me, it's an important read if you Groupon
Ah, the Groupon.  The steal of a deal and sometimes the only way we can justify a spa trip for ourselves.  "But Honey, it was half off!  So now my hair is too, do you like it?"  I've found plenty a good deal and have discovered some new favorite places.

This is all well and good, but what happens when your Groupon expires?  First thought, "Crap."  Then you start scouring the fine print to find out exactly what that means.  Most of us assume that the paid value can be used for anything that that business offers.  Like a store credit.  Myth number one.

To illustrate, I shall use my own personal example.  For my last birthday, my parents gave me a Groupon for Picture It On Canvas.  The deal was for a 16x20" print with free shipping for $26.99.
"Picture It On Canvas!  Make sure it's a photo of
you bending over."

 Well, oops, I let it expire.  I figured I'd use the $26.99 on some other deal on their site.  Then Picture It On Canvas had a sale, 16x20" prints for $24 plus $12.95 shipping.  Cool, I'll just apply my $26.99 to that and pay the difference.  Myth number two.

When I tried to check out, I was unable to because the Groupon voucher needs to be entered in the coupon field and you need to enter a coupon to get the $24 deal.  Two coupons cannot be combined in a single transaction.  Even though the Groupon is no longer a "coupon" but a credit, it's still viewed as a coupon and Picture It On Canvas requires coupon codes for sales rather than just discounting the items on their site.  When I contacted them, they said the Groupon is a coupon (not a store credit) and can't be used on sale items, but full price items only.  The 16x20" print is regularly $89.

Now going back to Groupon, I contacted their customer service to find out how I could use my Groupon as a credit and not a coupon (as the promotional portion is expired) and as far I can tell, they're confused.  We'll see where this goes.  If you read the print on the vouchers it says that once the promotional value expires, the paid value can be used on the original item, or if it's no longer available, something else the business offers.  Nowhere does it say, excluding sale priced items.

What does this mean?  It means I can buy the print on sale for $36.95 (with shipping) and be stuck with an unusable $26.99 Groupon or I can buy the same print for $74.96 (after Groupon voucher).  So, I guess Groupon and Picture It On Canvas get to be $26.99 richer and neither of them had to earn it.

Yes, please take my money.  No, I don't need anything
in return.  It's yours.
This got me to wondering about how many unused expired Groupons are out there?!  I know I'm not the only one passing up on an offer to pay full price just to use an expired Groupon.  I went through my history and found two Groupons I had gifted to someone else, that went unused.  Again, Groupon and the business are now $24 richer and neither of them earned it.  I could use the vouchers myself, but I would have to pay full price then apply the amount I already paid to Groupon (so still paying full price).  It's also not a business I would have personally used, but I was sure the person I'd given it to would have.

The thing is, if this were any other business, I would have a store credit, to use on any other item, sale or not.  After all, the business has already been paid, I'm just looking for something to spend my money on.  But it's not any other business, it's Groupon.  I don't know about you, but this seems shady and Groupon is making a killing.  Lesson learned, be wary purchasing Groupons for yourself or others unless you KNOW it will get used before it expires.  Otherwise, you're gambling and likely throwing money away.  Then the terrorists win. Or Groupon does anyway.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Baby You'll Be

This is my first baby, Ozzy.  Long before I had biological babies, Ozzy stole my heart with those soulful eyes and just-love-me-into-a-cuddle-coma attitude.  It didn't hurt that at the shelter, he peed on my husband to solidify the bond that he belonged to us.

At the time, we weren't looking for another dog, just a hamburger at the Wendy's next door to the shelter.  Isn't that how it always happens, though?  You can't actively look for love, it will find you when you least expect it.  Especially if you order the cheeseburger combo with a side or adoptable adorable.

Yes, my first baby weighed in at about 7 pounds and 15 inches long, with the shelter given name of Little Man, but we knew that had to change.  On the car ride home, my husband and I debated the name game, and you know how that goes.  He loves Barney, you hate it.  You love Fitz and he threatens to crash the car.  So we turned on the radio while we brainstormed.  "I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy traaaainn...."  We both started bobbing our heads.  There's nothing a little Ozzman can't fix.  Wait a minute!  Yup, loved the name.  And his name was Ozzy and he was perfect.

You know how you're not supposed to pick favorites?  Well, I did and so did Ozzy.  I couldn't go anywhere without a little Ozzy shadow and even if he was all cuddled up with my husband on the couch, as soon as I sat down, he'd bolt over and cuddle into me.  We were soul mates.  In fact, we were so attached at the hip, that he was, unfortunately, standing under me when my water broke as I was getting out of the bathtub (pregnant with my first daughter).  Oh memories.

Over Twelve years, two moves and two kiddos later, Ozzy grew old, grey and content.  We found out in December that Ozzy had kidney stones and a herniated bladder (an injury he likely incurred when he took on a raccoon several years ago.  PS, Raccoon 1 - Ozzy 0).  The corrective surgery would have been about $4K, but due to his age (guesstimated about 14 years) and his grade 4 heart murmur and collapsing trachea, he wasn't a great candidate for surgery.  Even if he survived the surgery, he would likely have had heart failure.

Naturally, I was devastated by this news.  We held out hope that with a diet change and healing thoughts, Ozzy might turnaround.  And he did, for about two weeks.  Long enough to "snuzzle" (my daughter's word) a little longer, and for my kiddos to come to terms with the inevitable loss.  Three days before Christmas, my baby died and I've been in limbo ever since.

I've researched stages of grief, and I've checked off anger (sorry Family) and guilt.  I had the
hardest time telling people that my dog died, when really, I felt like I had killed him by taking him in to the vet and letting her do it.  This was all magnified by the fact that I was holding him the entire time (Husband and girls went to get burgers.  I now see the irony).  I felt it only right that I be the one with him, given that he was mine and I was his.  I've now entered the annoyingly persistent phase of depression and honestly, have a hard time believing there's an end to it.  Like reading the Twilight books, but for real.

I didn't write this with the intent to throw a pity party or hear another "I'm so sorry for your loss," but more because I've come to realize that this level of grief is something I'm completely unfamiliar with and I hope that writing this down will somehow be therapeutic.  I've lost loves in the past (most notably my grandfather a couple of years ago) but this sense of loss is so overwhelming that it makes me feel guilty I didn't struggle like this previously.  I had no idea it could hurt this much.  I'm turning into a weeping recluse who feels pajamas are a valid wardrobe choice and, on most days, showering is too high maintenance.  Especially since staying in has the awesome appeal of avoiding other people.  To those who know, you've been here, I'm truly sorry, I get it.  To those who don't, I hope you never have to.

There are many people who would say, "He was just a dog" and to them I would say, "I'm sorry you have never experienced unconditional love in the truest sense of those words."  To which they may respond, "Yes, I have.  I have children."  And to that I would reply, "Exactly.  Then you do understand."


Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Need

As I went to tuck my girls into bed, my 5-year-old proudly showed me a photo of herself attached to the front of her play hutch.
"Look Mom, it's me!"
"Yes, it is, but you don't have any tape.  How is it stuck there?" I asked as I pulled it off and found my fingers were all wet.
"I, just spitted on it."
Oh lovely.  "Ryah, spit is not an adhesive, please don't do that again."

Before having kids, I knew that all I wanted to have was boys.  A family of boys sounded perfect to me.  So when I found out I was having a girl the first time, I was actually pretty upset.  The second time around, I knew that given my husband's family history, a boy was likely not in the cards, but I still hoped.  Alas, no, another girl.

Don't get me wrong, I love my girls, but we all have an idea of what we hope our future family will be and when the picture changes, we can have all kinds of emotions.  I know there are plenty of moms out there who have all boys and want exactly what I have.  I've come to realize that you don't get what you want, you get what you need and sometimes the two aren't the same.

But I digress, because in actuality, I have all the "boys" I need, especially with my second daughter.  My little tomboy is thrilled to play in the dirt, excitedly shows me the slug in her hand that she's just found, is happiest when being active and is the funniest little ham.  There's also no shortage of gross-out factor with her.

The other night, I was getting the two ready for a bath and I turned around when I heard Ryah say, "Look Mom, I can itch my bum on the rug just like the dog in the movie!"  I couldn't toss that bare bum into the tub fast enough.  And seriously, ew.  I should know by now, that whenever Ryah starts a sentence with "Look, Mom," I need to be prepared. 

Did I also mention that destruction follows this one on a daily basis?  I didn't even have to child-proof my house for my first child, but nothing is safe when Ryah is around.  And I have the crayon colored walls, hole in the screen door, bent blinds, chewed on coffee table and new broken toy, to prove it. *sigh*

Now, in hindsight, I'm grateful that I only have one "boy," because I don't think the house, or my sanity could handle two.  I also think I have exactly what I need... a princess and a Ryah, and I couldn't be happier.