I’ve been troubled lately. I’ve bought some Groupons recently, mostly for yoga classes, and now I’m starting to feel really guilty about it. When it was the local Bikram hot yoga studio, and I was going with my friend Liz, and I had a very tight budget, I didn’t feel that guilty–mostly because I didn’t enjoy hot yoga that much. But then I read this article from Slate about how Groupon is not particularly good for businesses, and I thought about my own practices. And then I bought three more Groupons for various yoga studios.
Forces are colliding though. The first studio was excellent–East meets West–and the teachers were terrific. I thought, “If I decide to buy a class pass, it would definitely be here.” They are about a 10 minute drive from my house. Then I realized a Groupon was going to expire soon, so I started going to Ashtanga Yoga at Heart and Soul Yoga which in no traffic is 15 minutes away and 30 in Wednesday night at 6:30 traffic. I love it. The teacher is tough, but it’s far and expensive. Then there’s one that I haven’t started yet, but the studio is walkable from my house.
Where’s the guilt you wonder? What’s up with this downward dog navel-gazing? The point is this: I visited my friend Lindsey’s yoga studio over MLK weekend, and I realized, if I value yoga as a practice, you should make your financial commitment to the teacher/studio who speaks to me and that I value. Most yoga teachers do it as a passion project, but they invest in their experience, space, and time, and that should be compensated. So, I’m going to finish out the groupons, because I can’t bear to waste them, and I’m going to try to choose a place to be a repeat customer–for them and for me (and for Lindsey whose studio would be my everyday place if I didn’t live 700 miles away).
And the only other place I’ve bought a groupon is Target portraits, and I think they did better than I did. But the pictures were cute, and it was pretty low stakes. Again though, it makes me think that photographers are a lot like yoga teachers and need to have their work valued. Aarrgh! There is no guilt-free “deal” in sight.