7 peculiar new Groupon offers
The daily deals site is promoting offers that have triggered plenty of head-scratching — ranging from cheap circumcisions to the opportunity to be tucked into bed
Seemingly bored of its usual spa, restaurant, and bar offerings, the daily deals site Groupon is branching out into stranger areas of commerce. In recent months, the company has promoted a number of bizarre deals that have befuddled longtime users and caught the attention of the news media. Groupon is still struggling to recover from a disastrous IPO in late 2011— its stock has plunged 62 percent — and analysts speculate that at least some of Groupon's forays into the weird are an attempt to drum up much-needed publicity. Here, seven strange new Groupon offers:
1. Name your baby 'Clembough' Over the weekend, Groupon offered New York City residents a deal they could easily refuse: For $1,000, the company would allow you to name your baby "Clembough." (The etymology of this purposefully strange name remains inscrutable.) The offer stipulated that "no substitutes or modifications" were acceptable, and that spelling was "non-negotiable." Word on the street was that the stunt was timed to coincide with Father's Day.
2. Get tucked into bed In early June, Groupon users in Chicago had an opportunity to get tucked into bed by a Groupon employee for a mere $100. According to the site, "disease-free" employee Ben Kobold would tuck you in with his "sinewy, well-groomed fingers," pour you a glass of water, and use "his summer-breeze-like voice to gently sing you one of the five lullabies he has authored." Weirdly, the deal was purchased by at least two people.
3. Get a cheap circumcision Circumcision is probably not the type of medical procedure you'd want to pay bottom-dollar for, but that didn't stop Groupon from offering its Filipino users a 76 percent discount in May. At least three coupons were purchased.
4. Tour a porn studio In April, Groupon kicked up a fuss when it offered San Francisco denizens a discount on a walking tour through the porn studio run by Kink.com. Groupon defended the deal, saying that the tour was "historical and informational in nature," even while tantalizing buyers with the prospect of glimpsing a "live filming in progress." Groupon later said it was no longer accepting offers from "adult merchants."
5. Tour the bar where Jeffrey Dahmer met his victims In March, Groupon offered a discount on a "spine-chilling" tour of a bar in Wisconsin where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer met some of his victims. (Dahmer killed 17 young men, many of whom were picked up at gay bars.) The victims' families were outraged by the deal, even as organizers said they had nearly filled the 20-person limit of each tour. Groupon said it had never intended to offend anyone.
6. Score a Titanic DVD signed by a DiCaprio impersonatorGroupon offered a discount in March on a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to take an ocean voyage to the site of the Titanic's sinking. As a mouth-watering bonus, Groupon threw in a DVD of the movie Titanic signed by none other than a guy who looks a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio.
7. Get a bargain boob job In November 2011, Groupon users in Manchester, England, were treated to a deal offering a 50 percent discount on cosmetic surgery that included "breast augmentation and rhinoplasty." Government officials quickly banned the offer, saying its 24-hour time limit was encouraging users to rush into the decision without giving it enough thought.