Shopping socially

An interesting phenomenon is sweeping across Calgary.

I suppose some might call it social shopping. The trouble is, some people aren’t being very social about it.

A number of cost-savings opportunities are cropping up, from Living Social to Groupon and the Canadian-operated Steal the Deal. Others exist, I just can’t remember their names.

I’ve partaken in several of these deals since they started, mostly massages and facials. A day at the spa isn’t something I’m normally inclined to spend $200 on, but if it’s knocked down to 49 bucks … sure, what the hell?

You can pick up on hot deals on ski passes, candle shops, hair cuts, food and more. Some of the offers are pretty basic … get 20 bucks worth of whatever for $5. Some are more high-end, like the aforementioned spa trip which I have yet to book.

I call these ‘social’ shopping because they employ the internet as their main vehicle of advertising. They use Twitter, Facebook and email — all the hot tools for social networking.

Along my journey on the social shopping trail, I ask how the whole dealio is working out for the business in question.

I have learned that a lot of you are cheap sunsabitches.

You don’t tip. You’re rude. You’re there to get the biggest bang for your buck and you really don’t care much for the trail of distaste you leave in your wake.

Folks, we have to remember that even though we’re getting a discount on a service, we still have to act like civilized, social beings … no matter how much we’re saving.

Sure, these deals might expose some of us to experiences we might not otherwise be able to afford.

And we aren’t the only ones investing in these deals. Sometimes, these deals can attract hundreds of shoppers.

So don’t be surprised when you call to book your appointment and you can’t get in for a few weeks.

And for heaven’s sakes, tip.

Trust me, your facialist will understand if you say ‘I’m sorry, I would give you more but this is all I have right now’ and promise to spread the word about the good service you received.

But when you need to pay the GST on the service, it amounts to $1.75, you flip a twoonie onto the counter and demand your quarter back … well …

I’ve only been disappointed once using one of these services. I sat through a three-and-a-half-hour cut-and-colour at a salon. Three and a half hours. For a cut and colour. The guy kept bouncing around and doing other stuff at the salon.

They had my email address and a couple months later, I received a notice saying the salon was shutting down.

Colour me surprised. And that colour didn’t take twice as long as it should.

At the same time, let’s remember that these businesses are putting these deals out to get new traffic through the door.

They want your business. They want to serve you and they want to serve you well.

And they want you to come back.

Thus far, I have found myself a new massage therapist and a new esthetician.

I encourage you to take advantage of the deals you can get from Groupon or Living Social or whatever.

But don’t take advantage of the people serving you.

What's on your mind?