As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a notorious bargain hunter.  This does not mean cheap, it means value for money.  My experiences using Twangoo and Ubuntudeal have been decidedly unsatisfactory – I have at various stages had denial of the special, poor service because of the discount that I was receiving, and awkwardness because I chose to use the special rather than pay full price.

It really is quite counter-intuitive… Logic dictates that if you run a special you have the opportunity to attract customers who would not usually make use of your business.  But, because you have made it worth their while, they have come to try you out.  Now, it is likely that a certain percentage of these people would turn into loyal customers if they had a positive experience (and it is a given that some people are just there for the bargain).  What I want to know is: if owners are going to the trouble of promoting their business, why they don’t put a little more effort into making sure that the customers have this positive experience?

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but I didn’t want to put a dampener on what is clearly a great concept and long overdue in South Africa…  So last night I got together with my girlfriends and took an informal poll.  Each of them had used one of the group buying sites, and the general feeling was more on the negative side – with similar complaints to those I have voiced above.  The one exception was a friend who used one (of the many) haircut specials and had a really positive experience, where staff went out of their way to show her around and make sure that she had a great time.  That’s what it’s meant to be like!

However, I’ve used 1 accommodation special where they didn’t know what I was talking about, 1 spa special where I had a decidedly average experience, and 1 haircut special which was reasonably traumatic (but I managed not to cry).

So, to cut a long story short: group buying sites are great but business owners really need to up their game.  Value for money goes a long way, and with the exception of the accommodation special, I would rather have paid full price for a full price experience.

And – just to convince you that I’m not anti-group buying – yesterday I bought the Frieda’s burger special and the Ratanga half-price special.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

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