HowAboutWe For Couples - Review
What Is It?
HowAboutWe For Couples is an off-shoot of the popular HowAboutWe, a novel concept that aims to get strangers together for events that one person proposes to the other.
The Couples version takes the initial site to its logical second step: you already know each other, now go and have more fun! It's not just for couples.
Groupon, But For Couples' Events Only
A kind of coupon-slash-concierge service, along the lines of Groupon, Goldstar, and Living Social, HowAboutWe/Couples differs, though, in that its offers are mostly event-based (though see "Bad Things," below) and romantically-geared for couples.
What Are the Offers Like?
Some of the free offers have actual monetary value. For one example, we found a free admission to a sky-view observatory that the male half of The Gurus has wanted to visit for a long time. Ordinarily, admission is $14/person (so, $28 total monetary value). For another example, we found a whiskey distillery tour for free (usually $10/person).
Other offers are free and feel like they should be free. There's a candy-tasting at a local artisan candy store that probably isn't something most people would pay for. Yet the candy store does "sweeten" up the deal a bit by giving you
One good thing is that the Concierges are locally-based. We had terrible visions of that Seattle WA-based novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette? where the title character hires an India-based personal assistant for a pittance to schedule her local life. In one scene, the assistant based thousands of miles away reserves a table at a local restaurant called Daniel's Broiler. The title character is very much a foodie, or food snob as they used to be called, and she was horrified at this...pedestrian steak-house-y choice.
Even so, these are not the edgiest, trendiest places. You won't find the places that are discussed in reverent tones in your local paper or magazine. By definition you won't, because establishments that are contracting with HowAboutWe/Couples are using this service to market themselves. Hot places don't need to do this.
- The Rewards Section: One thing we didn't like was the Rewards section. Here you'll find money-off offers, either a percentage or straight cash, for things like mail-order steaks, moving companies, sportswear, art, lobsters. While some of these offers can be construed as being couples-related, most struck us as just another crass attempt at marketing yet more products to captive customers.
- No Way to Manage/Close Account: Members report that you must contact HowAboutWe/Couples directly by e-mail in order to close your account. This reeks of heavy-handed methods used by other companies to create obstacles to your leaving them.
- Serve Members, Not the Companies: We feel that most of the offers are geared around promoting local businesses more than in finding truly cool offers for members.
It is free to join HowAboutWe For Couples and view the offers, but you cannot go on any dates.
Full membership is $18 per month and, according to the site, includes:
Up to 75% off every date in our collection. One free date like a dessert tasting or film screening, every month. Members-only access to sold out shows and other select dates. Couples Rewards worth hundreds of dollars every month. Free Concierge Service for personalized date planning, anytime. Stress-free booking so the two of you can relax and have a wonderful time
But Is It Worth It?
Since we were able to confirm that most of the free offers have a $18 or greater monetary value, it might stand to reason that you will make back the cost of your membership. However, consider whether you would have made that date-purchase outside of having this membership. If you frequently go to things like wine and popcorn tastings and indie films, you can rationalize it this way.
Once you're paying the $18/month, you may find that you are forcing yourself to go to that popcorn tasting or cookie flight so that you can justify your monthly expenditure.
HowAboutWe/Couples still needs to work out kinks. It feels very much like a pilot program still in its infancy--serving only a few major metropolitan areas, and without a full panoply of offers in areas that are served.