Stupid Tax: My First Groupon Experience

Disclaimer: I don't think Groupon is a bad company. I think it's a great service and one that benefits consumers and also the businesses that offer coupons. I know people who have purchased Groupons and have been 100% pleased with their experience. This is my story about my first experience with purchasing a Groupon--one that I would later find out was a bad personal financial decision.

I paid $15 for a $30 coupon to Urban Belly on Aug. 8. I was really excited! I knew I was pregnant, but we hadn't announced it yet. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get started with my maternity wardrobe on a budget and also try out Groupon, which I had been wanting to do.

At the time, I knew little about Urban Belly, but I was aware that it was a trendy boutique located in the East Village in downtown Des Moines. I knew that they had once gone out of business but were back in a new location. I had always wanted to check it out.

What Went Wrong

  • It was inconvenient. The store is not one I can get to often or requires me to get off work and immediately drive downtown (rush hour minute traffic!). Yes, they are open on the weekends, but our weekends are typically booked pretty full. Not to mention the fact that the second time I went down there, the store was closed due to a family emergency (which I can accept, but their temporary hours were not updated on their Facebook page. Grrr!)
  • Their selection is small and high-end. When I went to the store, I was quite disappointed. As Eric would say, they had six things for sale. That's a little exaggeration, but it is a small store with limited choices. And the prices are ridiculously high.
  • The timing was bad. The coupon expired two months after I purchased it. I'm barely wearing maternity clothing now, at 20 weeks, and have learned that I might not ever need to buy or wear maternity clothing. (The store sells children's clothing as well, but expired last week, one week before we'll know what we're having. The store also sells blankets and kids' games, but the Groupon was purchased with my clothing money and because I only get $10/week for clothing, I wanted to use it on myself if possible.)
  • I am trying to get by without buying maternity clothing. Most of it is unattractive and expensive! I knew too little when I bought the Groupon about maternity clothing, what I would need or want, and exactly how my body would change.

Of course, when I have a $30 off coupon, I want to find something for $30 and feel like I got a good deal (even if I did pay for the coupon). I could have gotten a plain T-shirt, tank top or belly band and not have to pay out-of-pocket for it at the time of the purchase, but I didn't really want or need any of those things. I would have gotten a new bra, but they didn't have my size in stock either time I visited the store.

In the end, I decided to spend some money and get something I will wear. I ended up buying this skirt. I like it, but I don't like the price tag (and now I'm even more upset by seeing that it's on sale online for 80% off!). I paid around $57 for it. Luckily, though, I will be able to wear it even if I'm not pregnant.

I accept the fact that this is my fault completely, and that some people wouldn't care so much about $15 or $57. But I do. The Groupon was a dumb purchase for me because I paid $15 for a piece of paper and then desperately wanted to trade that piece of paper for something I wanted. I wanted to use the coupon because I was already invested and would hate to throw away $15.

I would use Groupon again in the future, but I will make sure it's a coupon I will be able to use, and I won't ever shop at Urban Belly again. This experience really turned me off to that store.

Lesson learned: don't buy a Groupon for a store you aren't familiar with. We live and learn.

Have you used Groupon? I hope you had a good experience!