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Sugar House Journal

Are Bargain Hunters too Dang Cheap?

Dec 04, 2015 11h59 ● By Bryan Scott

By Joani Taylor

While chatting the other day with a friend of mine, that owns a popular downtown Salt Lake restaurant, we got into a conversation about deals and coupons they offered through various advertiser mediums. This restaurateur friend of mine has promoted many times through these marketing avenues and I was picking his brain for insight on what works and what doesn’t.

I mentioned that I had been reading on (a popular customer review website) a plethora of negative comments about various restaurants (including his) and how MANY of the negative reviewers start their review with “I had a coupon or deal voucher for this company and decided to give it a try”. Then the reviewer would launch into a rant of negativity bashing the food or service provider.

As my friend and I further discussed this, he stated that sometimes bargain hunters are terrible customers and that “it is not uncommon for them to complain, under tip and even attempt to mis-use their certificates or coupons”. 

I’m finding this trend sad and disturbing! Most of these businesses are local to our economy. They employ our families, friends and neighbors. They support not only their families but the employees that count on it too. When they discount their product it’s in the hopes of getting new and loyal customers. Then, in addition to having to pay the advertiser, they watch as we, the consumers berate them publicly for future customers to see. SAY WHAT?!

I’m sad to say, that many merchants I’ve spoken with, view deal user as classless and cheap. I recently had the marketing director of a popular Utah location, tell me they did not want coupon and deal users at their place of business, leaving their, and I quote, “McDonalds bags and dirty Diapers all over their lawn”. OUCH! That hurt! After all I rarely eat fast food and my kids are adults. Of course, one has nothing to do with the other. It was the stigma she attached to the bargain hunter that bothered me.

When I use a deal voucher or coupon, I take a much different approach. The first thing I do is to thank the manager or owner (if possible) for providing me with this great chance to try their services or product. Or, I will immediately let the waiter, cashier or other employee know that I have the deal voucher and then ask them to thank their boss on my behalf. I’m happy, kind and courteous and do my best to make the service employee have a better day. This small gesture of kindness will set the tone for your entire dining or shopping experience. It will make the merchant proud and glad they offered YOU this discount.

This holiday season, I hope you’ll join me in saying thanks to the merchants you have received special savings from. Leave comments on their Facebook pages, tip extra, make a purchase without a coupon even if there is one, or simply smile and show graduate to our small local Utah businesses, for giving us a discount on their products and services, that we might not have discovered otherwise. If you do go back to the business, let them know you found them through a coupon or deal, and you are so glad you did.