We are Groupon junkies. They even give us free points because we buy so much through them. In Chicago, Groupon is the king of the daily local deal. For a massage or mani-pedi, these are great deals. You pay 25% to 50% less, you set up the appointment, then maybe tip five to 10 bucks, and you are out of there.
For restaurant deals, it is a little different, $25 spent for $40 worth of food and drinks. When you get there, you feel like you can order anything you want because you get $40 for free. Wait, it is not free; it is just that you paid $25 for it a month ago, so it feels free. But anyway, we think we are getting a deal so we order the bottle of wine or the cocktails, the starter, the entrees, and why not dessert? Then, the bill comes. I always look at the bill even if Joe gets out his wallet. Ninety dollars? My face sinks. We still have to tip on $130. Dang, it is difficult to go out to dinner in this town without spending a hundred bucks.
Last week, we went on a great double date to "The Tasting Room." I had wanted to go there ever since I worked in the West Loop last year and read that this place was voted as a restaurant with one of the best views of the city. I even looked into having our wedding reception there, but it was out of our price range. Mark and Stacey are our double-date friends who like great deals as well. We both came in with Travel Zoo's deal that meant 50% off wine flights for two and a cheese platter. Then came the kicker, fifteen percent off anything else on the menu. We were suckers! I could not pass up the chocolate fondue and by then, sharing a second wine flight seemed reasonable. We did it again; the bill came to $100, or close to that amount anyway.
Still, I cannot regret it. The view was beautiful, the atmosphere soothing for a Friday night, and the wine and cheese delicious. And, without Travel Zoo, we would have spent closer to $150, which would have had me choking. So, despite the fact that we are being played, we are well aware that we are the reason restaurants want to use Groupon. In fact, we have a rule: unless it is a special occasion, date nights are to BYO places or with a local deal such as Groupon. If we have a Groupon to a BYO place, smiles will last all night.