Monday, January 21, 2013

Deal-of-the-day site Groupon cancels all gun-related deals

On Monday, "Deal of the Day" website Groupon announced it has cancelled all of its gun-related deals. The move comes about five weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, where 20 children and six adults were killed by Adam Lanza, who then took his own life. Lanza had killed his mother prior to invading the school.

The site did not say if the move was permanent. In a statement, Groupon said:
All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature. The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback.
The company's move quickly came under fire (no pun intended) from some businesses who felt shortchanged because their deals were cut off abruptly. Michael Cargill, who owns Central Texas Gun Works, called for a nationwide boycott of Groupon.

Groupon is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, the company issued a series of Super Bowl mockumentary ads. The most contentious ad starred Timothy Hutton who said that while Tibetan culture is in jeopardy, “they still whip up an amazing fish curry, and since 200 of us bought at Groupon.com, we are getting $30 for $15 in Chicago.”

All of the ads were also posted at a "SaveTheMoney.org" website, where the subtle idea being that with the money you saved using Groupon, you could donate to one of the actual causes at the site. The problem is that the ads themselves did not make this clear, thus causing fallout for the site. Eventually, the company was forced to apologize, by both explaining its intent -- actual donations to real causes -- and withdrawing the ads.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason concluded with the following:
The last thing we wanted was to offend our customers – it’s bad business and it’s not where our hearts are.
With the sentiment of the nation deeply divided over gun control and gun rights, it's unclear if this latest move will end up being another example of Groupon shooting itself in the foot.



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