Is It Bad He Used A Groupon On A First Date?

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): queendee22firstdate2
Comment: Do you think it is acceptable for a man on a first date to visibly use a groupon on a woman? The check comes and he pulls out the groupon to pay or assist the bill. He has no shame in his game.
Age: 46
City: North Wales
State: Pennsylvania





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52 Responses to “Is It Bad He Used A Groupon On A First Date?”

  1. Nicki Says:

    Oh gosh, this is a hard one! I’m really not sure how I feel about it!

    I think an important question is, did he pick the place? Followed by, was the place good?

    If he picked the place solely because he had the Groupon then I might be a little put off by it. I feel like a first date is when we’re putting our best foot forward and I want someone to choose a restaurant that they love or think that I would love and not one that’s advertising a great deal. If he just happened to have a Groupon for somewhere that I had chosen, probably wouldn’t care. Though I would wonder why he didn’t pull it out while I was away on a bathroom break.

    So, I guess I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it but it is a little odd.

  2. fuzzilla Says:

    Hmm. I guess I’d prefer to do something simpler and cheaper rather than give (or be given) the impression that the financial burden of the meet ‘n greet is a strain.

    I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at a Groupon in an established relationship. But then of course you’re more forgiving with someone you already know and like. You only have so much to go on in a first date environment.

    So…I’m guessing the OP wasn’t feelin’ it with the guy and is looking for excuses? If she was super-into him she’d call the Groupon thing quirky and cute or something.

  3. Ishtar Says:

    It wouldn’t bother me. I just don’t care about money at all in this way. I actually prefer someone who watches what they spend (not to be mistaken for cutting corners just for the sake of being cheap). A groupon might be able to get you an experience you couldn’t afford otherwise.

  4. D. Says:

    Oh come on. Of course it’s a bad idea.

    Look, I get that plenty of women aren’t at all bothered by a frugal man in theory, and that you can make the argument “Well, if they were really interested, they wouldn’t care,” but let’s be realistic here.

    If a dude asked you on a first date to a particular place, and on said date whipped out a Groupon…nobody would bat an eye? Really? I highly doubt that.

    Doing this, especially on a first date, just looks cheap. It’s like bringing up that you’d prefer if she paid half. Yes, entitlement, blah blah feminism, yadda yadda 21st century, etc., etc., etc. None of that matters because the gut response is still “Seriously?!”

    You know why people get turned off by cheapness? It’s not about the money. It’s not like folks walk around with some number in their head that they expect the other person to pay. People dislike cheapness because cheapness ultimately comes across as self-centeredness. It’s a gesture that suggests you’re more concerned with your own shit than with ensuring the other person has a good time. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. People get annoyed when you demonstrate that you basically are only concerned with your needs, and not with them.

    On a first date, this is especially problematic because the other person has no baseline knowledge of you as a person yet. All they have to work with is what you show them on the date. So, while your actions may not be intended to indicate that you don’t care about them, they may still interpret them that way. By contrast, after several dates, the other person may not care because they already know you aren’t self-absorbed, and you’ll have already demonstrated that you care about them having a good time.

    Just don’t do this. If you can’t afford a place without a Groupon, don’t go. At least, not on a first date. Save it for date 4 or something. Pick a less expensive date, or suck it up and pay the whole bill yourself. But don’t run the risk of appearing cheap. It’s always a turnoff.

    • maria Says:

      who’s downvoting all this sound advice??!
      this is all true. in theory, its…fine but in reality, we all know its a huge turnoff. I’d rather go somewhere cheap, like for coffee or dessert at a local diner (seriously, if you don’t afford a 20$ bill at a diner or cafe, then you have no business dating, male or female) than whip out a groupon. its embarrassing. if i was on a date where the guy paid with a groupon I would be embarrassed. groupons are sometimes difficult for staff to process, and establishments HATE when people use groupon so there would be a big scene with the staff trying to figure out how to use the groupon and it just sounds like a mess. I’d probably just offer to pay the whole thing just to avoid a possible awkward situation with the staff. also, who still uses groupon?

      • Nicole Says:

        “Groupons are sometimes difficult for staff to process, and establishments HATE when people use groupon so there would be a big scene with the staff trying to figure out how to use the groupon and it just sounds like a mess.”

        Yes – this was my thought exactly. I wouldn’t be bothered by a guy using a gift certificate for a first date but a groupon would make me cringe. If money is an issue, pick a nice coffeehouse or cheap happy hour for first dates. Nobody should expect a lot of money or creativity to be spent on a first meeting.

        I’d say you should avoid groupons on first dates for the same reason you should avoid places that are hard to get to, have ridiculous waits, or have terrible service. It’s just about minimizing the chances for something to go wrong.

    • Mistori Says:

      I think you explained this very well

  5. Harry Says:

    This question appears to be raised by someone who expects a man to pay for a woman in an archaic (almost creepy) way. At some time in the past a man purchased or acquired a woman by paying for her. Women were treated as property and had few rights on their own. Even the words “use a Groupon on a woman” would raise a red flag for some men and also many women who do not consider themselves property to be purchased.

    Personally I do not use money to acquire women. That would some other kind of “date” where money was basically exchanged for services or something like that. I go on dates to have fun and to learn about someone to determine if we might be compatible in a meaningful, mutual relationship.

    In my books: Groupons, coupons, gift certificates, credit cards, cash or even barter are fine methods of payment. Some my best dates cost almost nothing – for example a visit to a local museum or festival, a group hike, doing charitable work together. More important than thinking about the method of payment is thinking about if you had a good time on the date with the other person, did you get to know them and do you think you would like to see them again.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      You’re not so much buying women with money as you are attracting them, like pooh-bears drawn to a honeypot.

      Just don’t let these women know you’re on to them. You’ll get down-thumbed :)

      Too late.

  6. Vandellish Says:

    I’m callin’ KISS theory here folks.
    For years I’ve seen men and women in committed relationships, even marriages, complain about their partner’s spending habits and/or carelessness with money. Sites like Groupon were invented for the frugal adventurer who likes to maximize his or her entertainment value and enjoy new and exciting places without breaking the bank. It’s really a win-win no-brainer.
    A person who equates how much money their date spends on them with how much their date actually cares about them deserves to be left alone. That person should simply be gracious that anyone is taking them out in the first place AND their date’s frugality should actually be noted as a strength and not a weakness in terms of LTR potential.
    Who would you really want to be with in the end? The guy who’s carefully watching his spending or the guy who’s throwing money around in an effort to impress or keep up appearances?
    Come on people.

    • maria Says:

      since we are strictly talking about FIRST dates, I’d MUCH a guy take me up on my offer to split the bill than have him pay with groupon. I am sorry, its tacky, establishments don’t like them and they can be fussy for staff to process. I’d also not usually recommend going on museum or “spend the whole day together” first dates unless you already know the person. I prefer coffee or happy hour drinks dates, that if you decide you want to spend some more time together you can continue the date. If you decide that person is not for you, you are out 10-20 bucks. Either way I ALWAYS offer to pay my share, never recommend expensive places and never “upgrade” a date unless he also wants to. I don’t care HOW much somebody spends, but if somebody whips out a groupon its tacky. sorry, it just is. there are so many ways to be frugal and be a good dater and freaking groupons isn’t one of them. I know a lot of women are not like this as we keep seeing Moxie receiving messages about the man paying, but I personally have zero expectations for a man to pay for me, I have no expectations to be wined and dined. but if somebody doens’t afford a $10 coffee date or $20 happy hour drinks then they have no business dating.

      • Vandellish Says:

        First of all don’t be sorry. Your opinion has value even when I completely disagree.

        ‘since we are strictly talking about FIRST dates, I’d MUCH a guy take me up on my offer to split the bill than have him pay with Groupon’

        And since we are talking about first dates being of the dinner variety let’s stick to that type of situation. We all know that we could do other cheap/free things that don’t involve dinner but that’s the original topic here.

        I simply disagree with it being ‘tacky’. Here in Chicago most restaurants don’t have a problem with Groupon at all. I’ve used them at fairly expensive places AND walk-in restaurants. Hell, Groupon has increased my awareness of places that I didn’t even know existed. And even if they did have a problem (I swear I’ve never had an issues whatsoever) then tough shyt. It’s totally THEIR problem.

        The notion that men ever care about coming across as cheap is as overrated as the notion that taking someone to a place to eat is all about impressing them. Sometimes a person will want try a place they’ve never been before AND take someone they’ve never been out with before. Why spend $50 when you can pre-pay for $30? I’m just not understanding the issue you have with this but I think it comes down to being yourself. If you’re a person that’s embarrassed by a guy whipping out a discount then guys like me are not for you and that’s quite OK. At least you know from the beginning. You’re simply being yourself as is he.

        Your posts make me re-frame my approach to this. After reading them I’ve decided to take more first dates to spots with Groupons. Not because I’m trying to save money, but simply to weed out women who have a problem with it and consider it as some sort of negative indicator of how I feel about them.

        • Nicole Says:

          “After reading them I’ve decided to take more first dates to spots with Groupons. Not because I’m trying to save money, but simply to weed out women who have a problem with it ”

          Honestly, this is a great idea. Dating is about figuring out if you’re compatible and this is just another measure of it.

          I hate, hate, hate coupons and discount cards. I grew up in a family that despite being pretty well off, was all about the freebie. My grandmother would immediately dump the entire bread basket at a restaurant into her purse and pretend we hadn’t gotten any yet. My aunt would haggle over prices at the grocery store by pointing out that something was almost expired and should be discounted. I spent my childhood being super embarrassed and any kind of “deal” still makes me cringe a little. I can’t even bring myself to use my AAA discount at hotels.

          I don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant on a first date. Or any date. I’d much rather not go, than go and pay with a coupon. That’s me. And I get that not everybody (maybe not anybody, lol) feels the same way. But yeah, I need to date someone who accepts that I’m going to be weird about discounts and free stuff and accept that he’ll have to go use his groupons with his buddies or whatever.

          So… Even though we basically completely disagree about the original question, I like the way you think.

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          I would totally do this if I didn’t hate groupon and didn’t need to have sex once in a while. In all seriousness. Thank you for taking one for the team. Let us know how it goes.

          • Vandellish Says:

            I can tell you now it’s gone smoothly.
            Two of my last four dates were first dates. One was to an indoor golf place (via Groupon) where the lady and I had an absolute ball. The other was a price-fix deal (works just like Groupon) during restaurant week where she and I were both newbies at a place. The food was merely ok but a good time was had by all. Both dates went well and the first lady I’ve seen twice since then. The other lady and I are going out Saturday. It’s all a matter of personal preference and these particular ladies don’t mind that I have “no shame in my game” or even come across “unsophisticated” or “inexperienced” as Moxie puts it below. We’re simply living for those experiences. No need to test anyone’s character, if you look for it it comes out naturally when people are being themselves.

            • D. Says:

              A prix fixe restaurant week menu is nothing like using a Groupon in terms of how it plays out in the moment and with the waitstaff. I mean, good on you that you managed to score a second date. I’m not trying to disparage that, but the whole process is completely different than pulling out a Groupon on the date and handing it to your server when the bill comes.

              • Vandellish Says:

                Well I stand corrected. Again I’m in Chicago and perhaps I’m not experiencing the ‘Groupon effect’ as you guys are in NYC. What I’m saying is that a discount with a pre-arranged payment is simply a discount with a pre-arranged payment.

                • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                  Prix fixe could be worse because, at least in NYC, nothing requires her to order from the special prix fixe menu and you know how much she likes lobster with truffled mashed potatoes. Women will test you, just like you’re (kind of) testing them. How do you steer them back to the cheaper items?

        • uesider Says:

          I thought your post made a lot of sense.
          I wouldn’t do this myself, I know how the game is played. And most women offer to contribute even on the first date. But this whole topic is a throwback to long ago where men’s affection for women was judged on how much money was spent on her. Can we just kind of end this?

          Another option- I wouldn’t have any hesitation in pulling out the Groupon if I wasn’t interested in seeing her again. What do I care what she thinks of me if I’m never going to see her again? She can cackle with her girlfriends about how cheap I am while I use the savings to take out a girl I’m more interested in.

  7. mindstar Says:

    Maria if establishments DIDN’T like Groupons then they wouldn’t issue them in the first place.

    That being said it’s a little foolish to use one on a first date as most women will initially judge a man by how much he spends on them.

    • maria Says:

      groupon has been proven time and time again to be of no value for merchants, and all it does is bring in deal seekers who will never step foot in that establishment again. I think groupon and living social are good for certain deals like travel, classes etc, but I think using a groupon at a restaurant is stupid. If we are dealing with a small mom and pop I’d rather just pay full price for their food and know that they will be getting the money. that being said, I never said it would be 100% a deal breaker, I just wouldn’t really like it. If the person using the groupon is a good person and I enjoyed the date, I wouldn’t totally hold it against them. I luckily haven’t been in this situation, and people in NYC stopped using groupon a long time ago so its just not a thing that would happen.

      • ATWYSingle Says:

        Ive been approached by sites like Groupon and Living Social about posting our events on their sites and declined. Like you said, those sites are for deal seekers who don’t like paying full price for things. Those people are always the ones who complain the most and are the more difficult to deal with.I used a discount site once about two years ago and the clientele the site brought was unsavory and unpleasant. Plus those sites eat way into the merchant’s profit.

        • maria Says:

          Oh wow that is interesting to hear from your perspective. I have read a lot about groupon over the years and what you said is EXACTLY what other small businesses have said about groupon and how it negatively impacted their business. my problem is that the kind of people that heavily use groupon are not people looking to be introduced to a new establishment or business, they are looking for a quick discount and will never show up there again. groupon is geared towards small struggling businesses looking for a lifeline, not corporations like walmart, so that makes it even worse. Like I said, if I want to use your service or patronize a small restaurant, I’ll just pay full price because I know my money is going to a good place, and I’d like to date somebody who shares that mentality. I like finding discounts and sales but there is a time and a place. In the case of restaurants, its reported that many restaurants lost a lot of money using groupon and now you’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant in NYC who accepts groupon. The people that came in through groupon were reportedly poor tippers and treated staff like crap, and on top of that almost none of them were return customers, so its a total loss for the business. its tough enough to run a small business as it is.

          Plus, I don’t know if this is just me, but I am really against dinner dates for a first date. If we hit it off, let’s get some dinner after our drinks/coffee if we both agree, if not, it didn’t “cost” anybody an arm and a leg and a few hours of time wasted.

          • Gabi Says:

            Not all discount sites are created equal. Gilt City is more high-end than Groupon or Living Social and tends to advertise more upscale establishments; these deals can give you quite a sizable discount as opposed to paying retail.

      • WO7 Says:

        I use Groupons to try out something new for a cheaper cost if I’m not sure I will like it.

        If I like it, I’m going to consider becoming a regular patron.

        I would have to think that I’m not the only one who would come back to a place that impressed me even if there was no Groupon.

  8. Fyodor Says:

    It is a man’s duty to maximally impoverish himself to make you feel validated. The fact that you got to eat the exact same food doesn’t matter because he didn’t suffer and/or show off his money.

  9. Fyodor Says:

    There are two separate questions here that are being conflated.

    1. Would you recommend to a guy that he use a groupon on a first date?

    2. Should the OP hold it against the guy that he used a groupon.

    • D. Says:

      That’s a fair point, actually.

      1. Nope. I’d still advise against it. I still think the guy will be seen as cheap and, as Moxie pointed out, socially inept or inexperienced. Maybe not in all situations, but why tempt fate?

      2. Realistically, no. It shouldn’t actually matter. If she otherwise liked the guy and had fun, then who cares? And, as others have noted, if she had otherwise dug the guy, it probably wouldn’t be an issue. But still, in an ideal world, this wouldn’t matter, and neither would it matter if the guy paid or they split the bill or whatever.

      All that said, what “ought” to be the case doesn’t really matter. We don’t live in an ideal world, so appealing to ideal scenarios is kinda pointless. That’s why I say it’s better to avoid doing stuff like Groupons on a date, or at least on a first date where you’re going out for a meal. The only upside is that you don’t end up spending as much. The downside includes being seen as cheap, self-absorbed, defensive, not really interested, inexperienced, clueless, etc. If saving a buck is that important to a guy, maybe just pick a less expensive date that’s still fun, rather than use a Groupon.

  10. ATWYSingle Says:

    A first date is about making a good first impression. The problem with using a Groupon on a first date isn’t that it makes someone look cheap, but that it makes them look inexperienced and unsophisticated. It’s similar to taking a date to a chain restaurant. If your only knowledge of your area is the Applebees off 495 and your idea of good wine or beer is the overpriced swill they serve at a chain restaurant, then you don’t get out much and aren’t very savvy. THAT’S what is unattractive.

    Using a Groupon as a test of someone’s character is as foolish as choosing a coffee shop for a first date or setting a spending limit for a first date. Nobody wants to go out with someone who approaches a first date with so much apprehension or wariness that they have tests and safeguards in place.

    The only person who would use a groupon/coupon on a date is someone who either doesn’t date much and therefore doesn’t know it’s a social faux pas or someone socially inept. THAT’S the judgment call being made. On the surface, the turn off is the perceived cheapness, but underneath it is the sense that someone hasn’t dated very much and therefore isn’t desirable. We want to date desirable people, people that other people would date.

  11. Nicki Says:

    As someone who uses Groupon, I’ll say this… I couldn’t care less how much a stores employee hates processing Groupon. If a company doesn’t want to deal with processing them, they shouldn’t partake in it. Groupon isn’t mandatory advertising for a business so I’m not going to feel bad utilizing it.

    Again, I have no problem with a guy using Groupon on a date. I don’t think it’s tacky. I am the queen of texting friends about Groupons or specials at places and only going to those places for those reasons. Example: I go to Melting Pot on Monday evening for ladies night and rarely any other time because I think it’s overpriced.

    That being said… I think you should go on a first date to somewhere you can afford without a Groupon. I think it’s a good way to give the person an intro to “life with you”. Example: If you dislike Italian food then don’t go there on a first date. That sets the standard that you probably love it. Save Italian food as a treat if your significant other likes it. If you can’t afford a $100 dinner then don’t use a Groupon to go on one for a first date. Go somewhere that costs half that to set the standard and use your Groupon for that $100 dinner for a special treat.

    But again, I wouldn’t decline a second date solely because a guy used a Groupon. I might think it was odd but I would also think it was cool.

  12. Nicki Says:

    And before anyone says it…

    Don’t try to say, “What if a guy wants to take you to an expensive dinner to impress you?” THAT would make me pause. I would think to myself, “Do I seem like the kind of girl who is only out for expensive meals on someone else’s dime? Does he think I can’t be just as happy with a taco truck on a Friday night?”

    • maria Says:

      I agree with this. It is offensive to assume every woman wants to have a $300 dinner on the first or second date and if guys are dating women who demand that maybe they should rethink the women they are dating. also taco trucks make me very happy. so does getting a slice of good pizza and a beer.

  13. Michael Says:

    Personally, if a woman had a problem with this, I wouldn’t want to waste me my time with her. I’m the Groupon King (as well as all affiliated deal sites); it curates all kinds of great places that I might not be aware of to begin with, and then have a wonderful experience afterwards. Let’s save the money so we can blow it on overpriced drinks afterwards, shall we, or another adventure along the way to drinks!

  14. Howard Says:

    This is exactly why there are so many single people. People do indeed make a mountain out of a molehill. I once had a first date meet me in her workout clothes. Turns out, she was a personal trainer. Didn’t bother me in the least. I suppose some guys could be bothered, just like this lady when the guy used a groupon.

    We really do take little things and make bad inferences. It’s called faulty logic. My girlfriend has a messy car. Does that mean something? Even if it does, does that outweigh the good she brings to the table?

    Single people are just too darn picky, when they themselves have a host of issues. I didn’t use a groupon on any of my first set of dates with my girlfriend, but I use them these days and she loves it when I do.

  15. mark Says:


    What you didn’t add was the most important thing of all.

    Did you enjoy your time with him?

    If yes, then does it really matter?

    If no, then do you really care?

    • Fyodor Says:

      I suspect that she wasn’t attracted to him and rather than just owning her preferences wants some “objective reasons” to crap on him.

      • mark Says:


        I am inclined to agree.

        All I know is: You can find a thousand things “wrong” with someone. Either big or small. But at the end of the day it still boils down to a simple equation. You are into them as much as they are into you.

        That’s what the the LW has to ask… and answer.

        That’s all anyone really has to do.

        Seems she has answered the question.

  16. Carlota Says:

    This reminds me of the third episode of “First Dates with Toby Harris” and why Groupons might be a poor choice:

  17. bbdawg Says:

    Have a cup of coffee instead, or a cup of tea or a lemonade, or wings on the happy hour discount…but NO that is a big turn-off. You’re better off spending less money overall that coming off as a person who will be a cheapo tight wad forever. You start thinking life with this person will be hell.

    Like others said, hey, maybe you’re ok with that. I am not high maintenance and I don’t expect fancy anything, the thai restaurant with the 9.99 meal or coffee shop is fine, but that groupon gesture is enough to not make me sleep with somebody. It varies from person to person I guess…

  18. Snowflake Says:

    First impressions they are EVERYTHING. A first date in my opinion is just like a job interview. You walk into the interview with your A game, looking your best. If the interviewer does not reciprocate this, would you take the job if offered to you? Does that put a bad taste in your mouth, if they are late, the office is in a disarray, they chose to interview you at McDonald’s/Dunkin D’s, the interviewer is not equally like you are for the profession?

    Using a groupon on a first date in my opinion is just poor taste, if you cannot afford to date, you shouldn’t be dating, that goes for both men and women. I always split the bill or we take turns, groupons really…. it just makes someone look cheap

    • Jordan Says:

      And I would say that blindly paying full price for something makes someone look like an idiot.

  19. AnnieNonymous Says:

    I agree with some of the commenters above. The Groupon thing is iffy not because of any implied stinginess, but because they’re a hassle and automatically make you look 0% smooth. It’s awkward to sit there on the first date while the waitstaff figures out what to do with the barcode on your iphone. On the other hand, I wouldn’t bat an eye if a guy paid for a date with a gift card he got for Christmas.

  20. Mistori Says:

    Yeah, there’s such a thing called social grace. Groupons, coupons etc. are ok once you are in a relationship but first dates are where you are supposed to be putting your best foot forward & Groupon does not say “this is my best foot”. The issue is not the Groupon, the issue is using it on the first date. It just doesn’t make a good impression. It might not be a deal breaker but it does not make a person look more attractive & on first dates we should be trying to look as attractive as possible. Not as deception but because it is the culturally expected thing to do so. If the woman didn’t bother to do her hair or makeup & thought, well this is me, either he likes me or not, it wouldn’t be attractive. Of course later once they know each other they may hang out casually sometimes when they are in a more relaxed atmosphere, but how would the man like it if the woman didn’t show up & try to put her best foot forward. It’s like if people are too relaxed at the beginning & they are not even trying to make an effort, you have to wonder, how difficult & selfish are they going to be later. Again it’s not about the money. You can go somewhere for half the price. It’s about the attitude & the fact that anyone should know that there is a chance that the other person might feel insulted or find it peculiar, but by using it you are saying, I don’t care, I am doing it anyway. So that can imply that you really don’t care how the date goes & that you may not be considerate about other things in the future too.

  21. AC Says:

    I would avoid it not just for fear of being judged but also on principle. It screams cheap!!!!

    Simple solution: don’t choose a place you can’t afford for your first several dates.

  22. Donnie K Says:

    There’s not much to add that hasn’t already been said. Yes, a Groupon might convey stinginess but that’s not the issue. It screams “I don’t care what kind of impression I make.” At the same time, some people are just lousy daters and don’t consider what most would think our social norms.

    To sum it up, as a man I wouldn’t do it and as a woman I would be put off.

  23. katie Says:

    Having just dumped a cheap man, I can tell you right now that if he’s pulling out a Groupon, you’re going to be in for it. If you don’t mind a cheap guy, good for you, he might be perfect, but for someone like me? Ugh. No way!

  24. Roxy Says:

    I wish I could say this is totally fine but it’s not.

    It’s straight up an indication that money will be an issue.

    I love groupon and I love good deals but not until I feel comfortable with someone.

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