Read the fine print.

We’re here to offer a cautionary tale of what happens when you violate the basic rules of buying from “The Flash Sale Mob”.

Even though we pride ourselves on being smart shoppers, we are not above falling prey to the lure of the “Flash Sale Mob”. In our book, we lump into this category the likes of Gilt GroupeHaute LookRue La La,GrouponLiving Social, and Yipit.  While they are different in their offerings (sort of) they all operate in the hurry-hurry-click-and-buy-it-this-deal-won’t-last-forever mode of pressure buying.

In order to write about and report on these sites, we need to cruise them and it’s tricky-hard to mind your dollars and sense while spending hours immersed in checking out seductive goodies. Inevitably, this leads to the ‘oy, what was I thinking’ brand of buyers remorse.  While we have an excuse–hey, it’s an occupational hazard–we’re sharing our rules (and transgressions) so you don’t get into click-and-get-it trouble.

Rule #1

Don’t buy anything you are not already in the market for and cannot return.

Rule #2


Don’t buy a service you haven’t tried (or at least had a trusted friend tell you is a must-do).

Rule #3

Read the fine print.


Violation of Rule #1: Non-returnable Item

A set of new placemats and napkins. Some people have shoe obsessions, others handbags, still others naughty lingerie. Us? Nothing so sexy. We’re suckers for anything that has to do with setting the table. No one should be surprised since there’s food involved in this equation. Anyway, we saw a handsome set of grey placemats by a reputable French linen maker. We’re having a fancy wine dinner and thought, hm, since we’re saving a bundle by having everyone else bring fantastic wines in exchange for our cooking—why not put it into great linen.  (Yes, we think in twisted ways sometimes.)  Perhaps it was punishment, because when we opened the package we were disappointed in the quality of the placemats. They were thinner and lighter than the goods this maker normally manufactures.  FAIL


Violation of Rule  #2: Un-vetted Service Provider


Of course we’re savvy enough to not bite on the massage being offered by Dan’s Teeth Whitening, Botox, Spa and Grooming Salon. You know the one stop fill’er up, bleach ‘em and wash the dog place that is in a town you know you passed once in your life on the highway. But, when we saw a deal for 60% off a massage at a place we were pretty sure we had tried years ago and was just a block away we clicked. (Hey, we’re stressed out, our deadline for the new manuscript is weeks away.) Well, we didn’t get past taking our shoes off before we decided there were better ways to get bedbugs or be seen on a live stream Girls Girls Girls video in some creeps basement. Awkwardly, we made some excuse about a forgotten pot of soup and a lit burner and fled. FAIL


Violation of Rule #3: Didn’t Read the Fine Print


This one was really a good deal, honest, tickets to the Merchant of Venice with F Murray Abraham at 50% off. The only problem is we neglected to read the fine print. Unlike most online tickets that you buy and print out, this one required us to print the voucher and take it to the box office days ahead of the scheduled performance to redeem it for real tickets. Totally our fault. While we sprang for the more expensive seats and thought we had gotten good ones, we ended up scrambling on the day of the performance to redeem the voucher and got the worst seats in the house. Great play. Lousy seats. Impossible acoustics. FAIL.