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by Aparna Nancherla

If you have the internet, and I think you might, you’re just a couple clicks away from endless deals & steals. But how do you know which ones are worth your time? That’s where I come in. If you want an anxiety-ridden, risk-averse introvert’s review of what’s out there, you’ve come to the right place. This is the Group Coupon Project.

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The Group Coupon Project 4: Whale Watching Tour

Cost: Ticket price $14 + $0 tip (z’oops, forgot to bring cash) = $14 total spent.


Standard price before supplies is $30, for a savings of 53% ($16).

PRE-WHALE WATCHING TOUR:

I’m about to embark on my first whale watching voyage, and to complicate matters further, it’s Easter Sunday. People are going to be definitely hanging out and hardcore praying. Expectations are high, but I don’t want to get over-excited, only to be disappointed. Also, I am running on very little sleep, so it’s entirely possible I will miss any sightings completely and be that guy.

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The Group Coupon Project 3: Beginners’ Knitting Class

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by Aparna Nancherla

If you have the internet, and I think you might, you’re just a couple clicks away from endless deals & steals. But how do you know which ones are worth your time? That’s where I come in. If you want an anxiety-ridden, risk-averse introvert’s review of what’s out there, you’ve come to the right place. This is the Group Coupon Project.

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The Group Coupon Project 3: Beginners’ Knitting Class

Cost: Ticket price $20 + $23.54 supplies = $43.54 total spent. 


Standard price before supplies is $40, for a savings of 50% ($20).

PRE-KNITTING CLASS

I’m about to enter the cutthroat, Xtreme world of beginners’ knitting. I vaguely remember my older sister went through a knitting phase when I was growing up, leading to many amorphous doll creatures and half hats scattered throughout my family’s house. I myself hope to gain another activity I can use to avoid talking to people, in addition to staring at my phone. But then again, knitters in movies and television always seem to be talking to people while they knit. But I’m going to be that wild card that needs to keep my eyes on the yarn at all times.

Expectations:

  • To learn one stitch (or if not learn, admire)
  • To not poke myself in the eye with a needle (aim low, succeed high!)
  • To learn the difference between knitting and crocheting (yes, I know I could Google this, but I’d rather Google stock images of confident businessmen)
  • To pick up a new habit to alienate people at dinner parties (kinda already nailing this)
  • To make a sweater (EVENTUALLY, like in a future lifetime)

Rules:

  • I will not give up the first second my yarn gets tangled, because my yarn will get tangled.
  • I will not stab myself or anyone else with my needles.
  • I will probably call something “adorable” at least once while in the store/classroom.

 Secret Wish:

  • To understand why people are so into knitting

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CLASS

12:55 p.m.  I get to the knitting place. It’s adora-the-explorable, or rather, angorable (NO REGRETS!!!)

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 Hope this isn’t just a front for rugs.

12:57 p.m. I am greeted by a nice lady casually eating a hamburger. I find out she is Sensei von Spiritual Guru née Teacher. She instructs me to pick out some yarn.

You guys, the selection! 

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Breathtaking.

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Oh there’s more where that came from

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I don’t know what this is, but it’s the softest thing I’ve ever felt in my life. A renegade toupee?

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Hippie yarn

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If you Etsy something, say something.

1:02 p.m. I settle for a non-threatening marigold specimen, and then Teacher picks out some giant harmless needles for me.

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Even the teacher’s hair looks like yarn

1:07 p.m. The other student, a fortyish capable mom sort (let’s call her Linda), looks to know what she is doing. I know this because Linda asks a lot of questions, and Linda already watched some knitting videos on YouTube to prepare. I watch some baby animal videos on YouTube every damn day, but that is just to keep my head in the game.

1:12 p.m. I learn the term “hank” and then promptly forget what it means. We get our yarn wound into a ball (AKA a skein) to prevent tangles, just like Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo (this sentence was sponsored by product placement). I decide that 2 SKEINZ is my knitter name.

Yarn being wound into a ball on an umbrella swift, possibly related to Taylor Swift?

Along with some browsing customers, another student shows up. Let’s call her Bootsy (my blog, my rules). Bootsy is throwing around terms like “garter knot” and “hello” so she clearly knows her stuff.

1:22 p.m. Teacher shows us slipknots, and how to thread the other needle. Emphasis on me KNOT getting it. Get it? I didn’t!

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Slipknot is also an American heavy metal band, all of whom are avid knitters. I made up that last part. Bless me, Wikipedia, for I have spun untruths.

1:35 p.m. Our teacher shows us how to “cast on” to make our first row. I can’t emphasize how slow I was in understanding how to do this correctly. The teacher showed me four times, and I messed it up five times. Eleven out of ten dentists recommend I give up and leave, and use the yarn I bought as floss.

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Look Mom, all hands!

1:49 p.m. I am a real remedial knitter. The other two ladies, Linda and Bootsy, are breezing along. For a while, I just sit hopefully watching both of them until the teacher comes over to coach me/gently shake me in frustration.

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This was my thigh from a moment I looked down in despair.

2:05 p.m. We learn how to “start” knitting by switching over all our stitches to the other needle. So that’s all knitting is basically. It’s switching over all your switches from one needle to another, creating another series of interlocking stitches. See? I’m explaining it about as well as I actually got it. In the end, you find yourself with a lovely garment and/or a web of deceit and lies. Guess which group I fall into?!

2:25 p.m. We practice knitting diligently. Once we switch all our stitches to the other needle, the teacher comes over to check our work. I experience some hiccups. The ladies around me are thriving, THRIVING in knitwear world. One of them wants to make baby blankets and the other one is already talking dog sweaters.

 

Bootsy actually knitting. The orange yarn dangling across the screen is a photobomb dribble from my “work”, which Teacher is “fixing” for me.

2:35 p.m. Teacher reviews casting on with us again. I am insulted she thinks we won’t remember, but more insulted at myself that I, in fact, don’t remember. I am so lost that I am starring in the movie Castaway with Wilson the ball of yarn.

2:45 p.m. Teacher shows the other two girls how to cast off, and even bestows Linda with special zany-looking needles for making beautiful gray sweaters. I am 50 shades of jealous about it.

2:50 p.m. Teacher recommends that I come back after I finish practicing with all my yarn, and she’ll show me how to cast off. Oh, I’ll tell you where to cast off, lady! JK I’m just lashing out because of my knitting inferiority complex. No wonder they call it string theory. And by they, I mean me.

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Ta da! Witness my beautiful garment and cower.

2:55 p.m. I pay for my yarn and needle, am added to a mailing list, and go on my merry inept way.

3:02 p.m. After I leave, I immediately pass this store:

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Polly want a knitting needle?

And this salon offering this service:

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I could go for one of these right about now.

I am not sure what the universe is trying to tell me, other than knitting isn’t the only thing that boggles the mind.

GOOD LUCK TO ME!

Did I meet my goals? Let’s review:

Expectations:

  • To learn one stitch - YES!!! I learned three moves! Slipknot, casting on, hiding your work from Teacher!
  • To not poke myself in the eye with a needle (aim low, succeed high!) - YES!!! POKE FREE, save it for Facebook
  • To learn the difference between knitting and crocheting - NO BUT HOPEFUL
  • To pick up a new habit to alienate people at dinner parties - NO BECAUSE IF I KNIT AT PARTIES PEOPLE WILL TRY AND HELP ME BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING
  • To make a sweater - NO PLEASE STOP THIS NEVERENDING SHAMING!

Rules:

  • I will not give up the first second my yarn gets tangled, because my yarn will get tangled. I will not stab myself or anyone else with my needles. I will probably call something “adorable” at least once while in the store/classroom. YES TO ALL OF THIS I WAS COMPLIANT WITH SOCIAL NORMS

Secret Wish:

  • -To understand why people are so into knitting JURY IS STILL OUT ON THIS BUT NOT OUT KNITTING

FUNCLUSION: Knitting proved to be a humbling experience. Again, as with the Hollywoodland Tour, there were only three people in my group total, including me, so it immediately became a forced intimate experience. Not as intimate as the Thai Massage, but still. My ego got a real throttling. I will practice my knitting but the only thing I feel confident I will make anytime soon is a confession that I am just not that into knit. That being said, I will never turn down a nice sweater vest or a retainer cozy. So far, I feel like these Group Coupons have led me into new subcultures I would have never otherwise experienced. Couponward and upward!

The Group Coupon Project 2: Thai Massage

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by Aparna Nancherla

If you have the internet, and I think you might, you’re just a couple clicks away from endless deals & steals. But how do you know which ones are worth your time? That’s where I come in. If you want an anxiety-ridden, risk-averse introvert’s review of what’s out there, you’ve come to the right place. This is the Group Coupon Project.

The Group Coupon Project 2: Thai Massage

Cost: Massage price $39 + $10 tip = $49 total spent.

Standard price before tip is $131, for a savings of 70% ($92).


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PRE-MASSAGE

So I’m going for my first Thai massage ever. Make that my first professional massage ever. I’ve been too scared of human touch to attempt it before. I heard sometimes people cry when certain parts of their body are kneaded. Why did I use the verb kneaded? What am I, bread? Yes, I wish I were bread sometimes. It’s so popular! I regret nothing. Hopefully, the masseuse won’t mind me being on my phone the whole time “taking notes”. Ultimate relaxation. Ultimate rudeness.

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by Aparna Nancherla

If you have the internet, and I think you might, you’re just a couple clicks away from endless deals & steals. But how do you know which ones are worth your time? That’s where I come in. If you want an anxiety-ridden, risk-averse introvert’s review of what’s out there, you’ve come to the right place. This is the Group Coupon Project.

The Group Coupon Project 1: Hollywoodland Tour

Cost: Ticket price $14 + $20 tip = $34 total spent.
Standard price before tip is $29, for a savings of 52% ($15).

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PRE-TOUR
Despite living in Los Angeles for nearly two years, I’ve done next to nothing tourist-y since moving here, besides mingle among the costumed characters outside Mann’s Chinese Theatre, hoping to get a stronger sense of my own identity. That Spiderman really knows who he is, and what he wants. And what he wants is to take a picture with you for a couple clams!

That being said, I decided to go on a Hollywood tour, yes, sign included.

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