I was on the phone today with Apple in a 5 hour long process of trying to purchase a Refurbished MacBook Pro.  I have been told by many very trustworthy sources that refurbished Macs are just like new ones if purchased from the trusted Apple Store. Besides, the one in my shopping cart actually had more GHz  so it may actually even be better than a new one.  That’s what Britney Spears on Apple live-chat told me she thought.  I referred to her like that because that’s who I envisioned every time the live-chat status told me “Britney S is typing”

Ironically, the purchase never went through.  Three high tech customer service representatives and hours of live chat with Britney S could not figure out how to make their new system facilitate the 0% financing for 1 year option on my order.   And so Apple lost my business, at least for now.

Then I went out to dinner with a friend.  Upon entering the large wooden doors we were instructed to wait and that we would be seated shortly.  Apparently everyone in Hollywood was also taking advantage of their soon to expire $30 Groupon and at 8pm on a Sunday night, the Korean BBQ place that was supposed to close at 9 sizzled with beef and conversation .  We sat at the bar restlessly waiting next to 4 other groups until 45 minutes had passed.  At last we were lead to our table at which time my friend decided that since we couldn’t both use our Groupons (they have a 1 coupon per table limit) it wasn’t worth it to stay.

He wanted his Groupon all to himself so he could order $30 of food.  Furthermore, an hour had passed and he had plans to entertain a lady friend.  As he walked away from the deal I was left to eat and redeem alone.  Being left alone at a restaurant straddles embarrassment and liberation.   It did offer me an opportunity to eavesdrop on everything that the party of 4 at our large shared table had to say.

The woman, who manages properties in Hollywood and rents a studio for rehearsals (she didn’t say what she was rehearsing) said that she just bought a refurbished Mac something something and was thrilled with how much she saved.   “Interesting,” I pondered “I bet that’s a sign that I should buy that refurbished Mac.”  Then she went on a tangent about how she used a Groupon once for a restaurant that charged $12 for a plate of olives.  One of the other guests, Richard, agreed that that was ridiculous and unacceptable and went on and on about how overpriced everything is everywhere really.  They all got excitedly on board that conversation which began to erupt just as the check arrived.  I then witnessed them dissecting the bill like scientist down to the penny taking into account the $30 Groupon and how much Bob owed Richard and who paid the $10 for valet and finally resolving with the server anxiously interjecting “Are you ready with that?”

Under the intense pressure now applied by the restaurant closing they prematurely sent the waiter away with their payment.  They spent the next 15 minutes splitting up the bill verbally now taking into account that the Groupon only costs $15 when you pay for it, so someone had actually underpaid and he was now to give each of the others $2.

Now, I don’t make a ton of money so I’m pretty frugal.  But, I began to wonder, I’m not THAT bad…am I?

As my table mates got up and left, the waiters and other staff members bustled about cleaning off tables and closing up remaining checks.  I slurped up one last taste of my rich dumpling soup out of the to-go container it was now in and asked for my check.

The check arrived and it was $35 minus my Groupon of $30  plus tax=$5.49 plus a $7 tip for a total of $12.49.  “That’s a good deal for a yummy dinner” I thought as I thanked the owner and waiter and began to walk home.  As plugged along down the empty Hollywood sidewalks I began to think, “OH, I forgot that I already paid $15 for that Groupon.  That means that I almost paid $30 for dinner.  I never pay $30 for dinner.  I didn’t even eat that much!”  It didn’t seem to be that great of a deal once I started thinking about it.  If I had gone without a Groupon I would have only gotten the soup plus tax and tip which would have been only $14.

I ordered enough food for 2 people.  I had to in order to spend the total of my Groupon.  If I had invited someone else I would have only spent $6 if we split the bill.  But wait, if I had invited someone else that means THEY would be taking advantage of MY Groupon.  Well, I suppose I could deduct the $15 I already paid from what I owed on the bill and then I wouldn’t have paid anything.  Now that would have been a better deal for me!  I would actually be owed money.  Lets see: $12.49 total bill and I already paid $15.  Yep! My imaginary dinner companion would have owed me $2.

And there’s my answer.  Yes, I am those people.  The Groupon mentality has one common denominator: Saving.  The real question: is saving $15 worth doing all that math?

Bon appetit 🙂


Be Silly.  Have Fun.

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