It’s all about the experience…

…We live by this motto at RedBalloon. Whether it’s delivering a heart-pumping flight in a jet fighter, a white-knuckle ride in a rally car or a coma-inducing massage in the comfort of your own home – we know that the value is in the experience itself. The initial contact with the company, the anticipation, the thrill of the delivery and the post-experience high.

That’s why, after joining RedBalloon, I saw the light and ended my tedious, one-sided and far too often disappointing relationship with my collection of Daily Deal sites.

Every morning I used to trawl through my inbox to see what delightfully (and unbelievably) cheap experience awaited me. Shall I treat myself to a full body massage and facial for $49? Perhaps a bareback horse ride on the beach? Ooh, and doesn’t that colonic irrigation sound delightfully exotic?  I wonder what that could be?  I must Google it…

Hell, they might as well have been paying me it was so cheap!

But during my brief affair with these sites I accumulated a collection of less than glowing stories about my “experiences”. There was the time I almost severed my own tongue using one of those vibrating exercising machines unsupervised. Oh, and the time my old boss sent away for one of those large canvas prints and it came back with his wife’s head missing.  I also once received a re-gifted voucher for surfing lessons. They expired within two months, had someone else’s name written on them, oh, and I already know how to surf. I also had a colleague who purchased a facial peel and had to take a week off work while the blisters subsided.

Then the final straw came after I purchased a haircut, colour and style at a local salon. After waiting three weeks to get an appointment the day finally arrived for my half yearly hair overhaul. I don’t pamper myself often, so when it does happen I’m like a giddy schoolgirl, nauseous with excitement. I was escorted to my seat where the senior stylist “consulted” me on what I wanted – golden highlights and a trim. Instead the stylist proceeded to use a technique called balayage on my long brunette locks – apparently it takes a lot less time than foils and she was “run off her feet trying to get through all of the voucher holders”. After the colour had set I was treated to a one minute wash and head “massage” with a 12 year old assistant, then escorted back to my chair. I could see that my hair was an interesting shade of…blonde. Eeek.

This image is a re-enactment of actual events and facial expressions


“That’s a little lighter than I’d hoped” I managed to get out from behind clenched teeth. Then I sat back for the cut – which actually wasn’t half bad. Apart from the fact that the stylist spent the whole time complaining about the Daily Deal site she had signed up with, the fact that they couldn’t keep up with demand and that they were actually losing money from the experience. And as it turns out, that salon probably lost customers as well. They were so busy they were unable to deliver a satisfactory service to their customers – voucher holders and full paying alike. I certainly won’t be returning. I on the other hand was losing my hair from the experience, and ended up paying twice as much as I normally would after booking back in to my regular salon to have my hair restored to its former glory.

The moral of the story? I guess you get what you pay for. But in reality every customer should be treated equally and as though they are the most important person in the room – whether they’re paying full price or not.

I think I still have an unused and expired parking voucher for Sydney airport floating around in my wallet. Like my mum always said, it’s not a bargain unless you actually need it.

In her latest blog on Power Retail, Miss Terry Shopper shares a very similar experience after a Christmas gift from a Daily Deal site unintentionally ended up in the rubbish…


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