For the Tammy Faye in All of Us

Most of us are familiar with city-centered coupons sites – Groupon, Living Social, Buywithme, etc. – and I think they generally have interesting offers that appeal to our yuppy sides. I have been getting Living Social’s junk mail for quite a while now, on Alison’s recommendation. We enjoy trying out new restaurants for half price, hitting shows or the theater, or finding great deals on massages or pedicures (okay, so I haven’t done that last one). It’s generally once every couple of weeks that I see something I figure is within my budget, and if you get three people to sign on to a deal through your link, you actually get the deal for free. All of that makes it worth discarding a couple extra junk mails a day … 1-800-Flowers sends me more crap than that, and they’re not offering me any real discounts.

Restaurant and wine deals are probably the most common offerings, although you have to be a little careful how you play your coupon when you get to the venue, as Alison pointed out a while back. Also making frequent appearances: riverboat tours, theater tickets, sundry medical services (eye exams, teeth cleanings, dermatology), spa services and movie tickets. Living Social has even branched out into regional destinations, offering packages at various regional historic B&Bs. The text usually consists of a description of the need that they’re proposing to fill, along with a hip description of the product/service/offering and a jazzy sell on why you can’t possibly let this deal go by. Alison and I were chatting about it and initially decided we felt a little bad for the merchants that decided they had to advertise their wares at half price, because that seems like kind of a pitiful statement on how business is going, but when we realized that we’ve been back repeatedly to several places we explored with a coupon, we decided they the whole racket is pitiful like a fox.

Still, these are generally the sort of things that you would consider impulse buys. So imagine my surprise when I awoke to an email two days ago offering the following:

Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial, & Implant Surgery
One Consultation and 20 Units of Botox
Did your mother ever tell you, “Stop making that face before it freezes that way?” If you’ve recently noticed fine lines creeping into place on previously smooth skin, you’re probably wishing it would. Halt sneaky wrinkles in their tracks with today’s deal: $155 for a Botox treatment from Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial, & Implant Surgery to smooth away tresspassing lines on the forehead, around the eyes, or between the eyebrows (regularly $350). This quick outpatient procedure, conducted by Dr. Pedram Yaghmai DDS, MD, who is well-versed in facial structure, works by relaxing the muscles of the face to decrease the creases that form when you frown. Much like waxing, repeating this procedure over time can even make returning wrinkles less noticeable. Change can be good sometimes, but the kind this deal will leave in your pockets is definitely superior.

Okay, so granted, that’s a pretty good percentage off the service, but a couple of thoughts:

  • Who is impulse-buying Botox?
  • I think they’ve misjudged DC – this is not a Botox town. I’ve always had the impression that here, you aren’t taken seriously in your job if you don’t have a little gray on the sides of your head (men) or crow’s feet (women).
  • Much as I’d look askance at a Lasik or vasectomy coupons, do you really want the cheapest person available sticking needles in your face?
  • The recognized side effects of Botox include droopy eyelids, muscle weakness, and difficulty swallowing; patients more adversely affected have reported chest pain, speech problems, and/or double vision. I’m not sure I want coupons that present side effects worse than surly service.
  • I’m not buying anything that will keep me from being demonstrative about whether I like it. This list also includes sedatives and ski masks.

Thanks, but no thanks, Living Social. If I want my face frozen into place, I’ll just stick it out the front window – after all, we’re well into December and Winter is outdoing itself in recent years. If you want to sell me Hollywood treatments, wait until I move to Hollywood.

Botox patient or the Crypt Keeper: your choice.

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