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Group on, Wayne! Group on, Garth!

If you feel like traveling to New Rochelle for sushi, then look at what just showed up in your inbox!

Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you should at least have heard of Groupon and Living Social. In a nutshell, they are online coupon services that notify you of bargains in your area, typically restaurants and most often 50% off of list. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? You think there would be a stampede for this sort of thing, but they’re not quite there yet. But know the rules, gang, because unless you plan to drive to Trumbull for some Asian fare, you might not find too much to your liking.

First, the backstory: For years, one of my clients was one of the major coupon vendors (you know who these guys are - the kind that arrive in your mailbox, in a loud envelope, every six weeks or so) until the owner shrewdly sold his franchise a couple years back. Yes, timing is everything, kids. But despite the company being a decent percentage of my income, I rarely used the coupons for things other than oil changes.

That’s because there’s still something bizarre (to me, anyway) about the entire coupon process at anything other than a standard retail store. That’s probably due to my strict New Canaan upbringing, where the idea of using a coupon at a restaurant that’s fancier than, say, Roy Rogers, is just plain wrong. (Of course, there are no fast food chains in New Canaan.) Maybe it’s the imagined fear of handing the waiter the coupon, and him saying “I don’t understand!” Then he summons the manager, huddles with him, showing him the coupon, speaking in hushed tones, pointing at the table. Next thing you know, the manager walks very, very slowly over to speak to you… That’s the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Despite my upbringing, I signed up for Groupon to see what the deal is. And as promised, the offers have started to flow in. So far it’s been restaurants in neighboring towns, chains that can’t afford Fairfield County rents (Red Robin, anybody?), services far away (hairstyling in Hamden, resume rewrite and cover letter) and not-so-appealing junk that nobody wants or needs (Laptop sling? Fuji camera bundle? No thanks!). So I haven’t bought anything. Yet, that is.

Perhaps, just to shake things up, we’ll bite at one of the offers and think outside the box, but it will have to be different, that’s for sure. But that could be the one the arrived the other day - the most “interesting” offer on Groupon (so far). It was a Colon Hydrotherapy. No, I am not kidding. For $59, you get what is (hopefully accurately) described as “Warm filtered water soaks deep into tissue to cleanse the large intestine and improve hydration.” Hard to beat that one, right? Sounds like a winner to me.

Maybe I’ll take two. That’ll make a date night that we can brag to all our friends about.

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