Groupon Takes on MA State Regulation

I’ve been using Groupon for a little over a year now and I love it. Not only do I love Groupon because of the sweet deals that they give me, but because I genuinely believe that they at least try to do right by their customers. Even their controversial super bowl ad can at least be said to raise awareness about Tibet, a little-talked about situation that suddenly skyrocketed the province into international attention with the ad. So when I got the email below, I was mad, but not at Groupon. No, I’m mad at Massachusetts.

Groupon E-Mail

Groupon E-Mail

The state of Massachusetts feels that its necessary to regulate how people can purchase alcohol? The law seriously says that Groupon’s can’t be used? Well, I didn’t think so and I’m not so sure that it really does. Massachusetts Liquor laws can be found here and include provisions for quantity and wholesale discounts (6.04), condemnation of false or phony discounts (204 CMR 2.00), and group pricing (204 CMR 4.00). The only implication towards Groupon I can find resides in my last citation, CMR 4.00. In it, it states that a licensed alcohol seller cannot “(c) sell, offer to sell or deliver to any person or group of persons any drinks at a price less than the price regularly charged for such drinks during the same calendar week, except at private functions not open to the public” (204 CMR 4.00).

This doesn’t make sense, though. Using Groupons doesn’t discount the price of liquor, it is pre-paying for the liquor. The general public has the same opportunity at any time throughout the week or day to use a similar Groupon. Groupons are not exclusive to any particular segment or group. They are public offerings. The markup on alcohol is well above 50%, so the restaurants won’t come near under selling their costs of alcohol, which is also illegal.

Seriously, this is just a case of Massachusetts hindering free enterprise and I for one and sick of it. Why does this “law” exist, at least in this implementation. I’m standing by Groupon on this one, and hope that their continued lobbying efforts pay off. Let’s go Groupon!

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David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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