The Shame Spiral of a Groupon Purchase

Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field...

There was a time when Groupon was to be the dawn of a beautiful consumer revolution—a glorious system through which we would all purchase goods and services at rock-bottom prices, provided a guaranteed number of sales had been met. If, for example, 100 people signed up to buy, say, a disco ball, that ball would be sold to each person for the can’t-go-wrong price of $9.99! However, like Tamagotchis or disco itself, Groupon was a brief cultural phenomenon that burned brightly in our midst and then fizzled out, leaving feelings of shame and self-loathing to all who participated.

The following, documented for posterity, are posts taken from the message board Groupon Gross-Outs:


Seraphina23: I am crazy in love with both animals and the environment and was completely psyched to raise chickens in the city, so I bought the Chick-A-Kit. What a load of crap!! The chicken I got was actually a rooster, and it had some oozing, deformed wing and was so ill it couldn’t stop throwing up! My instructions for raising him were written in some Eastern European language, too. It was the most disgusting three days of my life.

Holden27: I caught a really bad respiratory infection from my chicken, and the coop Groupon sold me was made of cardboard and completely disintegrated when it rained. City chickens are the modern equivalent of sea monkeys.


Namewithheld: My spa day was awful. The massage table had crinkly, used paper on it like you’d find in a doctor’s office and the towel they gave me was coarse, pilly and wouldn’t wrap around my entire body. The masseuse was a small, wiry woman who had that Michael Jackson skin disease. She actually got up on the table and straddled me, and it felt like she was just punching me in the back. But the worst part of it was about three weeks after this an old boyfriend contacted me and said that he saw naked photos of me, taken at this place, on a pornographic voyeur website!! And then, God help me, we started to see each other again. I’m so embarrassed I don’t know what to do.

Knitting Needles

Anx298: I got chopsticks that had been whittled to a sharp point.

Knitinthenight: I received slightly charred shish kebab skewers. When I asked for my money back I was told I would get a credit for another Groupon purchase, so now I’m taking puppetry lessons. It turns out I have a bit of a gift for it! The world is funny, eh?

Knitrider: My knitting needles were fine, except one was about two inches shorter than the other. I’ve made do.


BWeaves: The naturopath I went to see was really very obese, which was not what I was expecting. She also had a tattoo of a bear on each of her hands, which she told me were her spirit guides, and whenever I asked her a question, she’d just go on the computer and Google it with her big bears. I’m now on a gluten-free diet, but then again, so is everyone else.

SugarSmack: I had Dr. Phillipa, too, and she recommended I do hot yoga for my arthritis. The place she sent me was carpeted, which was disgusting—it was all squishy with sweat and it stunk. Our instructor, Angus, was about 55 and had a long grey ponytail and wore upsettingly thin yoga pants. He kept telling us to close our eyes, like for a really long time, and then there would just be his heavy, raspy breathing.


Amy-anne76: I became suspicious of my Groupon tattoo purchase when I called to make my appointment and some dude just answered the phone. He didn’t say “Thirsty Snake Tattoos” (the name of the place) or anything, just, “Yeah?” It turned out they only had one design to offer, too, which was of a syringe! I canceled, but I couldn’t get my money back. Anyone else have this experience?

Thirstysnake: Not me! THIRSTY SNAKE TATTOO was awesome! You should have gone ahead with it, Amy! I went to THIRSTY SNAKE TATTOO at Bank and Patterson, and the syringe tattoo I got (throat) looks fantastic! It’s a real conversation piece.

Fertility Clinic

Rebecca 34: Did anybody else take those red pills at O.J’s Fertility Clinic? I was told they were going to stimulate egg growth but as far as I can tell the only thing that they did was turn my poo maroon and cause me to sleepwalk. I thought I was hemorrhaging and going insane. It was awful. My husband and I are now considering trying to adopt from a poor country. Any thoughts? Romania? Ghana?

Salsa Dancing

Candace27: There was no music. The instructor, who wore tight, white shorts, just hummed, and half the people there had these weird syringe tattoos, as if they were from some sort of cult. Just horrible.

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Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field. He won the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest and dislikes Cuba. He works as a creative writer, copywriter, blogger and “journalist” and as he is modest, he feels awkward talking about his genius, which he recently found out does not translate into IQ tests. His work has appeared in the Toronto Standard, Slant Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen and