20% of the regular prices, 0% of regular humor

11 Jul

From a Vanity Fair feature on everyone’s favorite massage couponing site Groupon:

Groupon takes its humor rules seriously. Take the example of a Groupon write-up that mentioned that hummingbirds come from cocoons. A reader wrote to Groupon customer service to point out that hummingbirds don’t actually come from cocoons. A Groupon rep wrote back: “Thanks for your email and I’m sorry for any confusion. Hummingbirds do come from cocoons.” The frustrated reader reached out to Ross Hawkins, executive director of the Hummingbird Society, who wrote an e-mail to the reader and to Groupon saying, “Hummingbirds are birds, not insects. They come from eggs.”

The Groupon rep in turn produced a Photoshopped National Geographic cover showing a hummingbird emerging from a cocoon. The e-mails continued escalating until Hawkins bowed out in frustration. Groupon’s final message to the customer was this: “We appreciate your feedback, but we will have to agree to disagree.”

Groupon still has the hummingbird misinformation on its Web site. “We’ll keep going forever,” said Griffith.

The sad trombone needs to play for a year straight to musically embody the awfulness of that “joke.” I don’t claim to be the Official Dictator of What Is and Isn’t Funny (actually, that is exactly what I claim), but I think we can all agree that is not even slightly humorous.

Because I am a comedy snob and take deep personal offense to people being proudly unfunny, I am now going to petulantly root for another company with an actual sense of humor – or no sense of humor, a far superior alternative – to overtake Groupon and drive them out of business.

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One Response to “20% of the regular prices, 0% of regular humor”

  1. Dave MN July 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    So you’re throwing your significant clout behind LivingSocial, then. I’m intrigued to see where that takes you.

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