Back in the summer, I bought a Groupon for a swimming party at a heated indoor pool for $99. The company is called Emler and they have two branches in Austin. We actually went to a party for one of our neighbors children there a few weeks before I saw the Groupon. It was a fun party and I thought it would be cool to do the same thing for Jake's 5th birthday this year. At $99 the Groupon was also a steal.
On Tuesday I got out my trusty Groupon and called Emler to book the party. Some sweet teenage girl answered the phone and told me that all of the Groupon parties had been booked for the year but they could certainly fit me in next summer. I was all "well, that doesn't really work for me because my child's birthday is in the actual winter month of December." And she was all "oh." And I was all "can I talk to a manager?" And she was all "okay."
So next up was the customer relations manager. Now, she was very nice and professional and I could tell she was OVER this Groupon business. It seems Groupon had sold all of these coupons with the wrong expiration date on them. Emler had agreed to book parties until Nov. 30th but Groupon put the expiration date as Dec. 17th on the coupon. Which is why I bought the thing. Because Jake's birthday is Dec. 14th. And, also it was a steal.
So, I told her that I understand that mistakes happen but that I still needed to book my child's birthday party so what was she going to do about it? She informed me that I could either have his party the weekend of Thanksgiving or I could have his party during the summer months. Because every five year old wants to wait half a year to celebrate his birthday. It makes the day that much more special when you have to wait an eternity to party. I mean six months in five year old time is like 7 years. So, I told her that wasn't going to work and who has birthday parties the weekend of Thanksgiving? For one thing, we'll be out of town that weekend and even if we weren't chances are all of the guests would be. It would just be me, Mike, Jake and Emma Mae bobbing around in the pool like little corks in a big ocean. Oh, and she also told me I could pay an extra $250 and have his party on Dec. 10th just like I wanted. Now, it's clear to me that the reason I bought the $99 Groupon is because there is no way in the world we would spend $350 on a birthday party. Unless it was to get Rick Springfield to play at my party.
She told me she realized that this whole thing was very disappointing but she really couldn't do anything else. Now. I'm thinking she didn't have any children of her own. Because disappointing is a mild word when you have to tell your child that his cool indoor swimming pool birthday party in the middle of winter isn't going to happen. Needless to say, I haven't told him yet. I'm hoping he takes it much better than I am.
Anyway, I spent the next ten minutes on the phone with the people at Groupon who told me that just ten minutes ago they had worked all of this out with Emler and he was going to call them to straighten everything out. Either he would call me back with a refund or they would call me back to book my party. No one ever called me back.
The next day I called back to Emler and asked for their corporate office phone number. Again, sweet little teenager on the phone without a clue what I meant. Finally, she found a number for the site director of their property. I called her and left a detailed message and asked her to call me back. She didn't.
This morning I called Groupon and demanded my refund. They obliged. Not two hours later the site director called me and left a message saying that although the mistake was not Emler's fault they would be happy to book my party on Dec. 11th from 6pm to 8pm. Seriously? Not an ideal time for a party but I was going to take it. However, when I called Groupon back to see if I could reverse the refund they said no. Ugh. What's a mama got to do around here??
So, basically my idea for a hassle free, super cool, memorable party for the Jakester is not happening. I'm trying to decide if I want to scrap the idea of a party all together or have our same old try to squeeze people into our house while I try to decorate an awesome cake and clean the house and not stress out at all party. What to do?