The Booming, Bankable and Bizarre World of Groupon

“Social Coupon” sites have revolutionized couponing, e-commerce and business itself in the past few years. Millions of people have spent billions of dollars on e-coupons, proving a cash-cow for countless businesses. There are hundreds of social coupon sites including Goldstar, Gizmodo and LivingSocial, but the granddaddy and reigning king of them all is Groupon.

They’ve been enormously successful- thousands upon thousands of businesses have taken advantage of their service. They’re also a notably quirky business begun by a notably quirky and controversial CEO. So perhaps it’s no surprise that among those thousands of Groupons, there have been some really strange ones. Here’s a selection of the weirdest ones I found.

I Want to Draw a Cat for You!

Have you ever felt like what’s missing from your life is an illustration of a cat passing gas or riding in a pirate ship while wearing glasses? If so- illustrator Steve Gadlin is your man. A little while back Gadlin offered to draw said cat for you, to your specifications, for $3 rather than $10.

Touring the Titanic and a Signed Titanic DVD From… Not Leonardo DiCaprio!

If you’re into the Titanic and the movie that I guess was made about the Titanic called Titanic (I can’t remembering hearing anything about it), but don’t really feel like you’re prepared to own a Titanic DVD that’s actually signed by the movie’s star- have I got a deal for you! (Well, Groupon had the deal, not me.) Originally $59,680, the Groupon gave one lucky soul the opportunity to take a 13 day, Titanic-exploring ocean voyage for only $12,500 dollars. The icing on the cake: that person gets a Titanic DVD signed by Leo impersonator Frank Lloyd Roberts. Sweet.

Cheap, High-Quality Surgeries!

That’s right- Groupon is a wealth of great deals on elective surgeries. While the potential recipient of breast augmentation, facelift or liposuction would perhaps be wise to question the merits of… discount surgery, if you really need a chemical peel and are looking for rock-bottom prices, there you go. There are actually way too many surgery deals to cite here, however, probably the scariest one I encountered was the discount circumcision. Ouch, fellas.

Jeffrey Dahmer Tours!

Speaking of scary- a couple enterprising souls in Milwaukee set up authentic tours of nightmarish serial killer Jeffery Dahmer’s old stomping grounds, including bars where he found victims. These 90 minutes tours seemed very reasonably priced at $25 dollars (down from $60). The families of Dahmer’s victims were less impressed and pressured the deal out of business after 15 purchases.

Professional Tucking In with Bonus Lullaby

At least four citizens of Chicago took advantage of Ben Kobold’s special to be tucked into bed courtesy of Mr. Kobold’s (according to the Groupon) eminently capable and exquisitely suited-for-the-task hands. But that’s not all. For the low, low price of only $100, they were allowed to choose one lullaby from among the five that Ben had written for the occasion.

Salt Air Breathing for an Hour!

You know what’s really good for you? Breathing in really salty air. At least so says many Europeans. Taking cues from those Europeans, one savvy salt-air-breathing spa dropped their $65 dollar session down to only $18 for Groupon devotees. (It seems like about 95% of Groupon deals were originally $65.)

Money to Name Your Child!

As a presumable marketing gimmick, Groupon itself offered to pay someone $1000 to name their child. Wait, no. Groupon offered to have someone pay them $1000 (originally a $1000 value) for the opportunity to have Groupon name their child. What was this secret name they’d bestow? Wait. It wasn’t secret. The name was “Clembough”. So you get to pay $1000 to Groupon so that they name your child something sort of weird, even though you’re perfectly capable of naming your child “Clembough” for free (minus the therapy bills later in Clembaugh’s life). Once again- sweet.

Tour the Sets of Several Porn Movies!

“Kink” is the world’s largest producer and distributor of fetish pornography, with an SMBD focus. For $28, down from $65 of course, two people could tour all five floors of Kink’s headquarters in San Francisco’s historic Armory Building. Those tours included sets, production rooms and equipment and what is likely the world’s most disturbing prop rooms. Anti-pornography groups were not amused. But then again- how often are they?

Annie Harrington is a small business owner and freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys writing about small business and business in general, e-commerce, thrift, Vistaprint coupons, and anything else she finds interesting.


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