Let’s face it: we live in strange economic times. People aren’t jumping out of Wall Street buildings or anything, but pennies are being pinched and red ink is a lot more popular than black these days. This is no longer news. The simple luxuries we used to enjoy — extra cheese on our pizza, Supersizing, HBO and Showtime — are no longer practical. We’re all cutting costs and that affects dating just as much as everything else. This brings up the $64 question: can you use coupons on a date?
I first started thinking about the issue when I saw a post on Consumerist that was itself a re-post of a blog called “Give Me Back My Five Bucks.” In the original post, the author polled some friends and found that everyone thought using a coupon on a first date was a bad idea. I agree. Nothing says “cheap” more than the guy that pulls out a coupon when it’s time to pay the bill. But what about the second date? What if it’s a Groupon or one of the other social deal sites?
Obviously every situation is different. If you’re a guy who will eventually use coupons, it may be a good idea to play your cards early, especially if they happen to be those punch cards from Subway. First date is definitely a no-no and I personally think the second date is too soon. Third date, though, might be okay. You can even plan a whole evening around it. Take your date to the awesome hole-in-the-wall Lebanese place and break out your 50% off coupon before heading to the second-run movie theater. If your date is on board, you’re golden. If you’re a couponer who’s dating a girl or guy who thinks it’s gauche to use coupons, then perhaps they’re not the best match for you anyway. In fact, using coupons may be a great litmus test to decide if your date shares your thoughts on bargains.
It gets a little trickier with social deals. I tend to think that social deals for experiences like architecture cruises or wine tasting would be just fine, but laying down a Groupon at the end of a dinner may wind up looking awkward. As I said, every situation is different. I think as long as you’re upfront about it, you’re in the clear. Just don’t try to slip a Living Social print-out over to the waiter and expect to maintain your style points.
I’ve always been a fan of coupons but would never consider using them until I felt comfortable with a girl I was dating. There’s a difference between being smart about your money and being cheap, and as long as you walk that line without falling off, I think you’ll be just fine. I will say one thing, though, about people that go overboard with coupons: If you’re an “extreme couponer,” you don’t deserve to date. Take your thousand bottles of ketchup and move into a cave, you hoarder.
What do you guys think about using coupons on dates? Cool or terrible? Any other issues you want tackled in Heart Attack? Let me know in the comments.
Other Heart Attack columns on Food Republic:
- The Ultimate Farmers Market Pick-Up Lines
- How to Take the “In-Laws” to Dinner
- Mother Tongue and Other Tongues