Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why Doesn't LivingSocial Allow User Comments?

Groupon isn't perfect -- no social shopping website is -- but at least every voucher has a commenting section for folks to ask questions, get answers, and gauge the opinions of others.

Where is that on LivingSocial?

Case in point: I had a $40 voucher that I went to use today at Strike Miami -- an upscale bowling alley that recently adopted its parent company's Bowlmor name. In the past I had gone there, rented a lane for an hour, and had a pretty good time. You pay by the hour there, shoe rentals (naturally) are extra. There's also a wide array of food and drinks available. There used to be an open area set apart from the 30+ lanes as a restaurant, and it's now enclosed as a lounge.

Strike Miami -- err, Bowlmor -- offered $40 worth of bowling for $20 a couple of months ago. Now, it's pretty clear that the $40 doesn't go toward food and drinks. However, I know that when I would go with my family of four for an hour that $40 would pretty much cover an hour of bowling and four shoe rentals. I figured kindly handing over the voucher would've resulted in a free hour of bowl toppling.

It was not. The voucher can ONLY be redeemed for an hour and 20 minutes of bowling. Shoes are extra. I can't simply bowl an hour and have a credit on the shoes.

I'm not going to complain about that. Bowlmor is a class act. I forked over my $20 plus tax for the shoes. I'll be back again without the voucher. However, I wish LivingSocial would've had a forum so this question would've been asked and ideally answered.

Groupon and LivingSocial hire word spinsters to crank out cutesy experience description, but they often leave out meaty details. Isn't that why we need comments? Even if the Groupon commenting sometimes erupts into a flame war between merchant and disgruntled buyer, at least there's fair warning.

What are you afraid of LivingSocial? You can't leave an open frame like that and expect to win.