Tag Archives: Groupon

Windsurfing Groupon

I bought a Groupon a few months ago, it was for these windsurfing lessons, four hours two times a week for two months for five hundred bucks. I was having lunch with my friend Frank when I saw the deal and I asked him, “Hey Frank, doesn’t that sound cool?” I and I was really just saying it to say it. But Frank lit up, his reaction was immediate and enthusiastic. “That looks fucking awesome,” he told me. “I would totally be down to do that.”


And like I said, when I saw the windsurfing package, there wasn’t really any active part of my mind that thought, yes, this is what I want to do, I need to go windsurfing. The only reason that I showed Frank the offer in the first place was because we’d been hanging out for like half an hour, and conversation wasn’t really happening, to the point where we were already lost in our cell phones.

Then when I showed it to him, I’m not even exaggerating, he was all about that Groupon. “Let’s do this!” he looked me right in the eye and I couldn’t help but feel excited. “Really?” I just wanted to double check, and he was like, “Totally!”

The Groupon expired in twenty minutes, and I showed him, I said, “So should I do it? That’s cool? Five hundred bucks?” and he said, “Absolutely, I’ll get you the cash tomorrow.” And I hit the button, purchase. I received a confirmation email right away.

And we sat there for the rest of however long we hung out for and talked all about how cool it was going to be, learning how to windsurf. We wondered what kind of gear we’d need, and so we spent a little time searching online windsurfing forums, learning the very basics about windsurfing, like what to expect our first time out, stuff like that. At one point, he even showed me some windsurfing equipment that he’d found on eBay. He was like, “Yeah man, after the two months are up, we should totally go in on all of the equipment together.” And this guy’s whole everything, his attitude, his smile, it was infectious, I was like, “Yeah! We totally should!”

And then the next day Frank texted me, he was like, “Hey Rob, I actually just took a look at my work schedule, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to make that windsurfing thing happen. But you’ll be able to find someone else, I’m sure of it. That was such a great deal!”

Of course I was pissed off, eventually. At first I was just really confused, and then very disappointed. Because, and it’s really hard for me to admit this, seeing as how everything went wrong so quickly, but I couldn’t even go to sleep that night. I was so excited, just laying there in my bed, thinking about what a great bonding experience this was going to be for us, how from now on, anytime we were bored, we could just head to the beach and start flying across the surf. I even did a bunch of research into storage spots near the water, how much it would cost for us to keep all of our gear and equipment at a location right by the shore.

“Dude, I already paid for this package,” I texted him back, and like five hours later, he sent me a response, saying, “Yeah man, and I’m telling you, you’re going to have trouble picking who you want to take advantage of this unbelievable offer with you!” And for a minute anyway, it’s like he had this way of giving me a mini enthusiasm boost via text message. Yeah, I thought to myself, this is still going to be awesome. “And I can basically teach you everything that I learn at the lessons, so we can still go in on all of that equipment together if you want.” And the next day I got his reply, he typed back, “That’s sounds like something to think about!”

I started calling my friends, trying to sell them on the windsurfing package, but the responses were all nearly identical: “Windsurfing? I don’t know I’m not a strong swimmer. Wait, five hundred bucks total or each? I don’t know, that’s a lot of money. Can I get back to you? All right, I mean, I don’t think so. Maybe, but I don’t think so. Put me down as a maybe. As a tentative maybe.”

It’s like, for whatever reason, I couldn’t capture even a fraction of whatever it was that Frank had that got me so excited about windsurfing in the first place. In fact, the more I tried to recruit someone else, the less it sounded like something that I’d be even remotely interested in. No, I didn’t want to go to the beach twice a week for two months. That’s like way too big of a commitment. And don’t I have a vacation planned between now and then? What about getting out of work on time? Why didn’t I think of any of this before I clicked “purchase?”

I got in touch with Groupon corporate and they were like, sorry man, a Groupon’s a Groupon. I called up Frank but his cell phone kept going straight to voicemail. I was leaving all of these text messages, stuff like, “Man, I can’t get anybody. You need to help me out here.” And he’d respond back like every other day or so, “OK, OK, I’ll figure something out.”

And then, yeah, the day before the first session, he totally figured something out. “Here’s your five hundred bucks,” he showed me when he stopped by my house. “For real?” I said. “Who’d you sell it to?”
“My friend Pete,” he told me. And that was a huge relief. I don’t know why he couldn’t have been a little more straightforward with me, but whatever, I was off the hook, it felt great, like a huge knot had been untangled in my gut.

Only, I was checking my Instagram earlier today, and Frank put up like twelve photos of him and Pete windsurfing. Man, it was like a windsurfing commercial. “Windsurfing is so much fun!” was one of the captions. Another one said, “I think I’ve fallen in love … with windsurfing!”

And yeah, maybe I’m being a little petty, but was it me? Do I not seem like the kind of guy who would be cool to learn windsurfing with, for sixteen two-hour sessions? I sent him a text later that night, “What happened with the windsurfing?” I asked him, “I thought you said you couldn’t make it?” And he texted me back right away, “My plans changed, windsurfing is awesome! You gotta sign up! I’ve never felt more alive!”

And so, I really want to try it. There’s this awesome deal on Living Social right now, it’s three hundred bucks, but you get unlimited windsurfing lessons for two weeks. I could move my vacation days around and work something out. Does anybody want to do it with me? Because Pete and Frank are doing it and it looks so cool. Wouldn’t it be great to be in like a four man windsurfing group of friends? Think about it. Let me know, ASAP.

I joined a gym

I saw this deal on Groupon for a gym by my house. Usually I only run, outside, but lately I’ve been feeling like it might do me some good to change up the routine. There are a bunch of reasons why I’ve never gone to a gym before, the self-consciousness of working out in front of other people, the not really knowing how to use any of the equipment. I remember one time I went to the university gym while I was in school, I had no idea what I was doing. I sat down at some machine where you put your arms on a platform and start moving some weight attached to a bunch of cables. It wasn’t even that heavy, I swear, but I totally did something wrong, because I couldn’t move my arm for like a week. And it wasn’t soreness, I know what being sore feels like, this was like somebody punched me straight in the triceps.


Honestly, probably the biggest obstacle preventing me from signing up is the cost. Most gyms by me are in the fifty dollar a month range, and I don’t know, I can’t even bring myself to subscribe to cable TV, there’s no way I want to drop that much money on a gym membership. But this Groupon sounded like such a good deal, just two hundred bucks for an entire year, no membership fee, unlimited classes.

I could make that work. On the way over I thought about the closest I’ve ever come to doing something like this, it was about four years ago, I wanted to take a yoga class, just to see what everybody was talking about. The lady at the front desk told me that a single class would be twenty bucks, or, I could spend thirty and get an unlimited monthly pass. Some guy behind me chimed in, “That is probably the best deal in New York.”

Sold. Then I went inside the studio and it turned out that the guy who encouraged me was the instructor. I felt played. I felt even more played when, a month after I had taken several classes a week, I enthusiastically asked how much it would be to continue my membership. That’s when they started throwing numbers at me, like big numbers, four hundred dollars, stuff like that.

I prepared myself for similar tactics at the gym. While I’d never been to a real gym before, I’ve seen plenty of stuff on TV, how they sit you down, they try to rope you in immediately. Sure enough, I walk to the front desk and the guy’s like, “How’d you hear about us?” My plan was to demand the two hundred dollar deal and stick to my guns, but as soon as I said the word, “Groupon,” the guy told me, “OK, well, we can iron out the details later. Let me you show you around the facility.”

And I knew right away that the two hundred dollar yearly wasn’t going to happen. All of my questions were met with a “We’ll get to that,” as the trainer showing me around guided me through his carefully orchestrated gym-membership speech. He showed me the protein shake bar, the spin studio, “You want to go check out the bathrooms?” he offered, “Eh, I don’t know, I don’t really think that’s necessary.”

“All right, well, unless you’re sure you don’t want to go check out the bathrooms, let’s go to my office and fill out some paperwork.” Wow, this guy was aggressive, both about the bathrooms and the roping me in to a membership. I followed him to a desk and he went from trainer to car salesmen as soon as he sat down in his leather chair. “All right,” he took out a piece of paper and started writing down numbers, “Let’s get down to business.”

“What about the Groupon?” I was kind of surprised about how meek I sounded sitting in this chair, something about taking a tour through this factory of muscle and sweat, here I was, I looked like I just rolled out of bed, I was wearing a Batman t-shirt and jeans, whereas normally I feel like I’m in great shape thanks to running, now I felt just really skinny and awkward.

“The Groupon expired,” he dismissed the offer, which I later learned after rechecking it out, it never really was an option to begin with. When you went to try and buy the Groupon, it would tell you that it was sold out, even though they kept posting the same ad every month or so. “But come on,” he tried to persuade me, “Thirty bucks a month, that’s a dollar a day, unlimited classes, it’s a great deal.”

It did sound like a good deal, and I don’t know if it was him taking advantage of my insecurities, but I had a pretty strong urge to join the gym. He could see me thinking, he could sense my hesitation, and taking something right out of the used car salesmen playbook, he looked at me and said, “You know what? I like you. I can tell you’re serious about working out.”

Really? He likes me? And how could he tell how serious I was? He wrote down the number seven on the piece of paper, “So here’s what I’m going to do for you. You see this seven dollar membership fee?” he drew a big circle around the seven, “I’m going to take care of that seven dollars for you,” he crossed out the seven, a big X across the whole paper.

I looked at him for a minute, he stared me down, right in the eye.