Gift coupon etiquette

13 Dec

Groupon encourages its customers to “Give as a Gift!” But can you do so without being tacky?

Conceptually, giving a Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, etc. coupon is no different than giving a gift certificate.  There’s no catch for the recipient– the coupon is valid for the full face value, and there is no “minimum purchase” requirement.  Many of the restaurant coupons are even valid for use on alcohol.  But is it poor manners to give a gift that announces you’ve paid well below its face value?

Giving a coupon is outside of my gift-giving comfort zone.  I am always pleased to get a great deal on a gift, but I prefer the recipient not know how much I’ve paid.  I’m probably overthinking things, but I worry that the recipient will think that I’m not taking the gift as seriously, or didn’t put as much thought into it, if I got it on the cheap.  Yet, if I were on the receiving end of a coupon, I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at it!

I have used gift coupons when taking friends out to dinner. Friends have taken me out to dinner with gift coupons.  I see no problem with that at all.  I think it’s in poor taste to limit dining options to only those places where you have a coupon.  However, I find that Groupon/LivingSocial/Google Offers over time tend to offer coupons to the places I’d like to be dining anyway, coupon or not, so this is hardly an issue.

So what’s the consensus on gift coupon etiquette?  Is it tacky? Or is it a way to give a great gift without breaking the bank?

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3 Responses to “Gift coupon etiquette”

  1. soniabgill December 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Similarly, what’s the etiquette on giving a gift certificate as a gift that one earns as a credit card payback reward? With both, I completely think it depends on the recipient.

    • beezuskiddo December 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

      If you buy a gift card with credit card points, though, the recipient can’t tell the difference about how you paid for it…i see that as less problematic, because what the recipient doesn’t know doesn’t necessarily hurt them.
      On the other hand, I bought Mr. Beez a Cuisinart wine cellar with my credit card points, and blurted it out to him as soon as it showed up on the doorstep. With him, though, I am no good at keeping secrets.

  2. Viki December 18, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    I agree with the ick-factor. It’s different than a gift card, but even that, with its price listed on the front, makes me cringe. I guess I’m old fashioned and/or snobby, but I don’t like flashing money around or shoving it in someone’s face.

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