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Mathematically, Groupon is pure evil.

After what qualifies these days as extensive research, I’m ready to declare the following:

Groupon won’t work for reasons older than all of us. Any and all scientific research on this matter will yield the same results. Like Kramer and Newman trying to cash in on Michigan’s liberal glass bottle return policy, the numbers simply can’t be crunched to show a gain. End of day, I believe in simple truths (I like butter . . .sorry, inside joke) and this truth is so incredibly simple you will consider me ignorant for basing my entire hypothesis upon it.

TANSTAAFL = “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.

The thinking that small and small local businesses can afford to sell their work or product for less than it’s worth for even 1 day and survive is so off base you will wonder why you ever thought otherwise. This assumption is based on the fallacy that “margin”, “profit”, and “money” are all the same thing. Ask a business owner if this is the case. When they are through laughing, they’ll tell you one has nothing to do with the other.

Free market does a pretty damned good job of price control. So, for real, how does a Groupon even fit? For them to profit, the money has to come from somewhere right? If you are noshing a free burrito right now it’s clearly not coming from you. If it was a fair market price, it wouldn’t be a “deal,” it would just be “lunch.” And I’m reasonably sure Groupon¬†is not a govenment agency. So where is all this profit supposed to come from? How do we all pay half price and yet all profit? Spade=spade. all there is do it.

It’s a free country, so buy and sell what you please. But regardless of your “beliefs” 1-1 ¬†still = 0 and 1-10 still equals Bankrupt.

Do what’s good for you – but be informed. If you really do like that little bakery and want it to stick around, do the unthinkable and pay “full” price. It’s not charity. It’s Capitalism. And I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that any possible theory of successful capitalism is based upon the concept that enough “margin” exists in any transaction to profit all participating entities in some way. If any one of those parties don’t profit, then why bother at all?

All I’m saying is that if your solution to my business challenge is to lower my price and “be more efficient,” my answer is this: As a small business owner this is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. Do I want to bilk my customers and clients? Absolutely not! Like every other small business owner I’m just looking to make a dollar and a cent in this business and maybe enjoy a week or two at the beach every year in the process. That’s the business plan, kids. And chances are, that’s the plan of the small or local business making a last ditch effort to win some customers through Groupon. And you can either do the math or trust me that the “elbow grease” that Groupon investors believe will fill this mathematical vacuum is nothing more than some well-meaning soul working through another vacation and getting ready to close another small business.

So if you want to strip the last free bits of flesh from the carcass of American small business, go ahead and Groupon it up. Take your free lunch and complain when you didn’t get it fast enough. Just don’t bitch when your favorite local restaurant closes and by all means know this: when only the most business savvy restaurants succeed, don’t complain that you can’t find a good meal in your town.

One more: if you Vote with your dollar, a Groupon is a 2/3 vote. Nibble on that for a while and let me know what you think