Do political issues belong in mobile tech ventures? That’s a tough call, but at least one company has made it: Groupon has suspended all gun-related deals and promotions.
Aol Daily Finance reported that Groupon North America is taking stock of its internal standards relating to its inventory of deals featuring guns, including “shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting,” says a Groupon representative. “The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback.”
Michael Cargill, the owner of a Texas gun shop, isn’t too pleased. He explained to FOX 7 News in Austin that “the Groupon representative calls me up and he says that ‘Well, because of the CEO [Andrew Mason], he’s decided to suspend all Groupon deals related to handguns, concealed handguns or anything dealing with guns period.” Cargill’s Groupon promotion was for a concealed handgun license training course, an offering that surged in popularity after President Obama revealed his gun control proposal. The initial 600 slots sold out, and additional orders were in the pipeline when the whole deal got nixed. Now he’s calling for a boycott.
“I’m asking everyone in the Second Amendment community to boycott Groupon, because the message they’re sending is, ‘Look, we do not want to support law-abiding citizens taking time out of their schedule to learn the safety surrounding firearms,’ ” says Cargill, who promises to honor any Groupons bought before the deal was killed.
The company hasn’t made an official statement about whether the decision was related to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut or President Obama’s proposal, but since the gun control issue in general has gotten new life following the tragedy, this is very likely Groupon’s response to current events.
What’s your take? Did Groupon do the right thing, or is it inappropriately politicizing its services? Let us know what you think in the comments.