Saturday, June 11, 2011

A daily deal offer: Was it worth it?

My own experience with a daily deal site has been funny. In India..Groupon has taken some stake in a site called SoSasta and in April, they ran a deal for a books website called nbcindia, with 50% off on any title. The site had discounted the books anyway but once I used the coupon..they validated it by giving me 50% off on the listed price and not on the offer price.

Anyway, it worked out cheaper for me one way or the other. But, that books site has yet to deliver my books as of today. After I wrote to SoSasta-Groupon, they told me I would have to follow up with the vendor.

So more than the structure of the deals, I think customer service is often left to the customers! Beware of such unspoken and unclear terms and conditions, even though SoSasta's support staff has written to me to say that this problem is being looked into and will be resolved. But their intervention, if any, has not helped at all. The books site then offered to refund my money, 'after' which I got a call from SoSasta's customer service, asking me for details! I had to do all the follow-up for the refund from the bookseller.

Meanwhile, in an earlier post, I had mentioned a discount card that was launched by Snapdeal called Moneysaver Prime. I tried using it at Bollywood Cafe at Phoenix Mills, which didn't accept it and then downloaded a coupon for Cafe Coffee Day: Promo code - 9441474049210 - from their site, which was also not valid. When I wrote to their customer support, they then told me: "This is to inform you that the tie-up with this outlet is no longer available with MoneySaver Prime." If that is so, then they should not have it up on their site in the first place, and this is something I've emailed them about.

While the card is a good idea, they paint an unduly optimistic picture and do not update the offers which are not valid anymore. Tip: Call the outlet wherever possible before stepping out with this piece of plastic. And no..they don't make it easy by providing phone numbers on the site!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A smart wedding present: Gift a subscription

If you have ever wondered what gift to give someone who is getting married, and the many choices leave you feeling confused, (especially if you have no idea about the other person's tastes), then the wedding gifts registry concept is the latest rage abroad.

It's not that popular in India because many people have not heard of it. But it's simply about a bridal couple announcing to their friends and guests what they would like to have as gifts. They create a gift list based on the selections of a particular store. The guests then go and view the 'register' or the list online and opt to buy one of the gifts, that suits their budget from the store or website which is running this registry. So a pre-selected list makes it easier for the guests to get the right gifts.

In India, one site that is doing this sort of thing is shareurjoy. But if this feels too needy and greedy for your taste, then here is smart tip to get yourself a useful wedding present as well as a magazine subscription! Well, I love reading and pick up a lot of books and magazines. Most of these magazines have free gifts that they offer if you subscribe for them.

So, depending on the duration of your subscription, India Today gives away Reebok wallets to Adidas gym bags. Marie Claire gives away Hidesign handbags and H2O skincare products. People magazine gives away a uber stylish coffee mug. Outlook Traveller gives away either a rucksack, a traveller's waist pouch or 3-in-1 travel kit. Geo magazine gives you almost the same things, except instead of the travel kit you get a nice looking laptop bag. Time magazine gives away a sleek looking 2GB USB drive.

The best deals are from Magna Publications. If you subscribe to five of their magazines - they publish good ones like Society, Health and Nutrition, Stardust, Savvy, Society Interiors etc - then you can walk away with anything from a toaster, an iron to a washing machine or a flat screen TV!

These things add up to quite a lot of goodies, for which you would have ended up paying some serious money. So, ask your friends and relatives to gift you magazine subscriptions, and see how you'll manage to kill two birds with one stone. You will end up getting good reading material and all those free gifts that come with it.

All you have to do is check out all the magazines at a bookstore near you, and see what offers they have going. Pick up the magazines you would genuinely like to read and spread your wishlist among your friends and relatives.