Dating with Discounts – Dating Dos and Don’ts
Groupon, Living Social, and a myriad of deal-of the day sites have sprouted up like wild-fire. It’s too tempting not to look at a deal in your city. So what’s a dater to do when the options are presented to him, but he wants to make a good first impression when he meets his online date?
I was asked a series of questions on the subject in relation to the New York Post article, Discount Dating, and as a coupon-cutter myself, have some strong thoughts on dating with discounts. If you follow these rules of netiquette for dating in a web 2.0 world, you’ll be on your way to a second or third date.
1. Should you tell your date if you’re using a discount? Or should you keep the Groupon in your pocket a secret? Why or why not?
If you’re meeting someone for the first time, bragging about your two-for-one discount won’t make you look good. She’ll think your entire courtship will be done on frequent flyer miles. It’s best to just hand the coupon to the server when you place your order. Your date will notice and will appreciate your tact and desire to impress her while staying on a budget.
2. If you do tell your date, when should you let them know? Before the date or during the date?
If your discount-dating offer is for a very specific menu item or activity, you’ll need to share that with your date at the time you sit down to order or meet. There’s no point in saying in advance, “I’d love to have a date with you and I’ll be using a discount coupon.” You’ll run the risk of her turning you down as your frugal ways won’t be filled with sex-appeal.
3. If you feel using discounts on a date is tacky, should you speak up? Or suffer in silence?
There’s nothing wrong with using discounts on a date as long as they aren’t the focus of your conversation. Saying, “Hey baby, do you want to go on a discount date with me?” or “I’ve got this great coupon” won’t impress her if you’re on a first or second date. If you’ve been dating for a while, you should feel comfortable in suggesting an outing that involves a discounted item or Groupon offering. Dating can be expensive and if you’re looking to impress your date, going for more than coffee may result in you getting a second date with the object of your affection.
4. What type of discount is best to use (a discount for an unusual activity like rockclimbing or shooting range lessons — or a more traditional date like 50% off dinner?)
Activity discounts are never looked down upon as cheap. The tricky part is grabbing your discount during a limited time period while hoping that your date will want to go rock climbing or white water rafting. There is something unique about activity dates where a woman will look the other way when the coupon is presented.
5. Is using Groupon OK for a first or second date?
Using Groupon on a first date for dining is just a step above asking someone to split an appetizer when you thought you were meeting for a full meal on your date. It can be awkward with someone you have just met.
You have a split-second to make a bad impression on a first date. I recommend saving the Groupon or deal-of-the-day offer for future dates once you’re more comfortable with each other. The only way Groupon is acceptable on a first date is when you go to a restaurant with a pre-paid purchase towards your meal. If you buy $50 worth of food at a great restaurant for $25 and it goes towards your total meal value, it’s no different than using a gift card that you might have received as a present. It’s best to downplay the use of Groupon or a deal-of-the-day coupon in front of your date early on in the relationship. If you’re worried you might make a bad impression by using Groupon or a deal-of-the day discount, or your deal requires that your date order a specific entrée, save your deal for future dates when you’ve gotten to know her better, or use your offer on your Guys’ Night Out.
6. What about using a Groupon discount for all of your first three or four dates with someone?
Using a Groupon type service on all of your first few dates will backfire on you. She may be the Coupon Queen at the grocery store, but dating a Coupon King just isn’t very sexy. He’ll come across as cheap instead of someone who’s smart about money.
7. Are there different do’s and don’t for men and women regarding these discounts? IS it OK for women to suggest using the discount?
There are so many stereotypes as it relates to dating and digital dating has it’s own set of rules. Women who use coupons are looked upon favorably by men. A guy will think she’ll be considerate about how to spend his money and that dating her won’t break his bank. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as it relates to men. A woman will look at a discount guy as cheap early on in the relationship. It’s best for a man not to suggest a discount on a first or second date. Bragging about his recent Groupon acquisitions just isn’t sexy to a woman.
8. Who should pay (man or woman) if a discount is used? The person who does the asking? The person who finds the coupon? Should it be split if the coupon is giving you 50% off?
Generally, men pay on the first date and most dates with or without a coupon. If the woman has purchased a Groupon or deal-of-the day coupon, it’s her way of offering to pay or at least contribute the value of the coupon towards the meal. Asking to split the cost of the Groupon or coupon is like asking someone to go Dutch treat. It’s a netiquette no-no.
8. Any other do’s and don’ts you advise when it comes to discount dating?
Discount Dating Do’s:
Do let your guy take the lead. If he suggests a discount dating event, feel free to suggest one for a future date.
Do expect to pay for your deal-of-the day or Groupon meal or activity if you purchased it on your own. Asking to be reimbursed is a netiquette no-no.
Do find plays or activities of interest to you and your date using deal-of-the-day or Groupon type specials.
Do downplay your Groupon or discount if it comes up while submitting it to the server. Make your date think she’s worth every moment and every cent.
Discount Dating Don’ts:
Don’t make every date a discount date. Select a restaurant or venue within your budget and vary it up.
Don’t make the subject of discount dating at the top of your list. It goes hand-in-hand with talking about your ex, and that breaks the rules of netiquette for dating.
Don’t take inventory of all of your Groupon purchases while on a date. Even at 50% off, it can add up and you’ll appear to have a spending problem.
Don’t complain to your date that they are cheap if they are using a discount dating offer. Dating can be expensive and if he wants to take you somewhere other than a coffee shop, appreciate his efforts to impress you and act like a lady.
Are you using discount coupons while dating? We’d like to hear your thoughts and comments.
Julie Spira is an online dating, social media, and netiquette expert. She’s the bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online and The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web. Follow her on Twitter @JulieSpira. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com. Like her at Facebook.com/cyberdatingexpert