Think of it as the difference between the Flintsones and the Jetsons…
The Kansas City Star’s trusty-but–rusty "Star Card" pitted against Groupon’s cutting edge deals-of-the-day email blasts. Once upon a time – like 40 years ago – buy-one get-one free coupon books for restaurant dining were cutting edge.
I remember getting one for Christmas from one of my sisters, heading down to a presigious Plaza restaurant and sheepishly handing the coupon to the server when the check came. It was downhill from the get-go – an excercise in awkwardness that put an immediate end to my usage of the coupons.
And while mercifully, with The Star Card, those coupon-tearing days are gone, the awkwardness remains.
Not so when diners, airbrush tan-wanters – even panty-of-the-month club types – get a half-off deal from Groupon.
Longtime Star Card participant Jardine‘s jazz club on the Plaza can attest to the differences…
"Let me tell you, Groupon has a solid clentele, they are up to 350,000 people locally now," says Jardine’s owner Beena Brandsgard. "And these people are no Star Card people – these are people who will spend money and I’ve seen it. They’re younger, hipper, they know how to tip and they make reservations. I have nothing but positive things to say about Groupon."
On the flip side of that coin with Star Card carriers
"They’re older, they don’t tip – with the Star Card the people automatically don’t put tips on there.. Groupon has brought me a completely different audience. These people are looking for cool, new things to do. The Star people are old. I mean, they’re rich people and they’re looking for that buy one get one free and they pretend they don’t know they’re supposed to tip on the total amount. And the Passport people are even worse. The thing I like the most about Groupon is it’s brought me completely new people."
Brandsgard’s bottom line: "The days of those dining cards are over," she says. "You know, if you come in with one of those, people are going to look at you like, ‘Are you in the Stone Age?’ You know, they had their time, but it’s 2011, right?"