Dora (sigelphoenix) wrote,
Dora
sigelphoenix

Groupon, ugh

For those who do not watch the Super Bowl, or have not otherwise heard, the deal website Groupon ran a swimming-in-privilege commercial exploiting Tibet. Angry Asian Man includes the form letter they're sending out as a fauxpology to anyone who complains.

I sent my own email to complain and ask for my account to be deleted, and here is the version they sent me:

Thanks for your email.

We certainly don't mean to offend with our advertisements.

I see you've been able to read our CEO's response (http://www.groupon.com/blog/), and I'm sorry you still feel offended. We have moved to action by raising awareness to worthy causes.

We are very informed on each of these issues, and have received some amazing responses from Tibetan Americans, Greenpeace, and others who appreciated us shedding light in places that remain dark to the average consumer.


Wow, what a persuasive response! You're well-informed, really! You have friends who are ______, and they say it's okay! And you're still not sorry. Would you like a Dickwolves shirt with that order of willful ignorance, sir?

I'm going to give it one more shot and explain why none of those things makes up for the lack of apology and action, for what it's worth. I'm sure a lone voice won't change their minds, but hopefully right now they're receiving a loud and un-ignorable chorus that I can add to.

ETA: my response

Please do go ahead and delete my account. I understand that Groupon is also raising money for causes referenced in their commercials. The reason that is not enough for me is that the commercials themselves do not reference any fundraising. They are just about getting a cheap laugh out of the idea that you can ignore other people's hardships in favor of buying something for yourself - at least, you can laugh if you are white, wealthy, from the U.S., and can mentally distance yourself from those people. Even if Groupon also gives money to those causes, you are still talking out the other side of your mouth and using Tibet as the butt of your joke. The donations are good, but they don't negate the latter. Also, for people who just see the commercials but don't look into Groupon's philanthropy, the *only* message they get is that cheap laugh, and that is actually harmful.

I would be interested in renewing my account with Groupon if the company apologized, because it seems like you meant well but completely flubbed it. However, it would have to be an actual apology, not just some "we didn't mean to offend" dodging, as well as some sort of action - taking down the commercials at the very least, and running ads that explicitly solicit support for the causes. I know I am just one customer, and a new one at that, but I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way, and hopefully not the only one saying this to you. I hope you do the decent thing and admit that you did wrong.


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Tags: anti-racism and racial privilege, in the news
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