4 Things You Shouldn’t Buy from Groupon or LivingSocial

LivingSocial is running a group buying promotion for 50% discount Lasik eye surgery. The company running the promotion might be the best Lasik eye surgery office in Seattle for all I know, but there’s something inherently wrong with buying permanent body alterations from the lowest bidder. If you buy cheap, you increase the risk of getting what you pay for. The other thing that makes no sense about discounted body modification is in most cases you’re not going to be a repeat customer. The thing that makes group buying work for the business is they get you in the door once at a discount and then you become a longterm customer. For eye surgery, if the work was done correctly, you don’t need to go back for a new procedure. And if it was done incorrectly, you’re likely to go somewhere else. So what other products are on my group buying don’t buy list?

Tattoo Unless you’re drunk and encouraged by your friends, buying a tattoo is something that requires thoughtful planning. People who are serious about getting tattooed pick an artist with a style they like, pick a design they want, and let the artist create the best possible work they are capable of. Tattooist’s are typically limited by the hours in the day for the number of tattoos they can do. Great tattooists generally have all the work they can handle at any given time, so they don’t need to run tattoo discounts, nor do they need to discount their prices to get work. And why would you want to trust your permanent body art to anyone who isn’t great?

Cosmetic Surgery
cosmetic surgery breast augmentationWhether it’s a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or face lift, getting plastic surgery is a reasonably permanent and highly visible body modification. While there are medically necessary cosmetic surgeries, the largest percentage of cosmetic surgery is done for personal reasons. The person getting the surgery wants to enhance their appearance in some way. Again, this is an area where you want the surgeon who performs to the best of his or her ability, not the one running the discount. This might be the one area where you could make a case for a discounted first procedure, with the cosmetic surgeon gambling that after you get your first augmentation you’ll be back for more. But this still seems like a situation where you would want to create a relationship with the cosmetic surgeon based on trust, not group volume discount.

Lasik Eye Surgery
Lasik eye surgery I already mentioned eye surgery, but if your eye surgery goes wrong, your eye sight is permanently damaged. Life would be quite a bit different for me if I couldn’t see the world around me. I can’t imagine not having my eyesight. So far I’ve been lucky enough to have naturally normal eyesight, but there could come a day where I need corrective lenses or surgery to fix them. When that day comes, I’m going to find the best eye surgeon I can afford, not the eye surgery clinic offering a 50% discount Lasik procedure. That 50% discount means the surgeon is getting 25% of their normal fee. My eyes are not a commodity good. So far, I know of no way to replace them.

Teeth by David Shankbone There’s some speculation about how great teeth whitening treatments and other cosmetic dentistry is for your teeth in general. Some of the teeth whitening treatments have been shown to do permanent damage. Most of us are going to need our teeth for the 75 years or more, so putting them in the hands of the discount dentist doesn’t seem like a winning bet. It may be tempting to get 50% off teeth whitening and other cosmetic dental procedures, but here again, the longterm risks point toward choosing the best dentist you can find, not the cheapest.

Am I crazy here? Should I be grab the cheapest deal I can get? Or is there a point where you draw the line?