City Desk

LivingSocial Events Accused of Being Too Drunk, Macho

Between the terrarium-building classes and the suit-measuring parties, LivingSocial deals don't exactly ooze testosterone. But the liberal interest group CREDO Action says otherwise, and has issued a new report—DyingSocial—on the purported dangers and macho tone of the company's shooting and drinking events.

Unlike rival Groupon, LivingSocial continued offering shooting events after the Newtown massacre. While CREDO criticizes LivingSocial's decision to continue offering firearms deals as "tone-deaf," its real complaint is that some of the LivingSocial events feature alcohol tastings after the shooting is over.

"Mixing guns and alcohol presents an unambiguous and well-documented threat to public safety," writes CREDO. "And LivingSocial is choosing to profit from it."

CREDO acknowledges that the whiskey and beer tastings singled out in the report always happen after the gunplay, which would seem to eliminate any concern about drunk people handling firearms. The report also cites a deal that began at a restaurant that also served drinks, presenting the possibility that a LivingSocial customer ordered a drink with the preshooting meal.

"LivingSocial’s boozy gun deals usually specify that the drinking comes after the shooting," the report reads. "But, given the promotional connection, participants who are attracted to the alcohol part of the event might well 'loosen up' on their own with a few shots before the shooting event."

In a response to the report given to City Desk, LivingSocial says that it requires customers to sign a statement that they haven't taken alcohol or drugs before shooting. The company also claims that its staff refuses any obviously intoxicated patrons.

But booze isn't the only problem with LivingSocial's firearms deals, according to CREDO's report. The company also "encourages potentially violent bravado" with its ad copy that references violent movies:

A LivingSocial offer in Englewood, Colorado describes the shooting portion of its deal as “doing our best dual impression of Dirty Harry and Rambo,” two notoriously violent movie characters. An offer in Philadelphia suggests that patrons will be “exhilarated and energized” after the shooting event. The same offer echoes Dirty Harry to say, “Go ahead: Make our day and join us on the range." In Atlanta, LivingSocial describes the shooting experience as “our hearts rushing faster than a barrage of bullets.”

But that's not all! CREDO's report also references a video of an employee at one of the shooting range events cheering on participants.  "It is not clear what the purpose of this could be except to ramp up the macho atmospherics," the report warns.

LivingSocial declined to comment on the "potentially violent bravado" portion of the report.

LivingSocial's full statement:

We have occasionally run offers for educational or recreational shooting activities in markets where our customers are interested in participating in those activities.
We take gun safety very seriously, and we require all of the participants in LivingSocial-led sporting events of any kind to sign a form certifying that they have not consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs prior to participation. Our staff has also been instructed to turn away any participant who appears to have consumed alcohol or drugs prior to the event, and there is no access to alcohol during such events.

Following the conclusion of some of our target shooting events, we have offered our adult customers an opportunity to have an alcoholic beverage with new friends and share stories about the day.  We offer similar social activities involving alcohol after other sporting events, like whitewater rafting, once the activity is complete.

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  • Jim

    Much ado about nothing?

    As much as I dislike the general business ethics behind Living Social, I don't think that this particular issue is that big of a deal.

  • Jordan

    It's disgusting that LivingSocial is promoting this type of extremist gun culture. I half expect to find out that the NRA is funding this company in the hopes of promoting their insane agenda.

  • Euktrain

    Organization no one has heard of issues scathing report attacking thing people have heard of. CityPaper takes the bait, giving previously unheard of organization the publicity they sought.

  • Mel

    I saw a few people in Dying Social t-shirts today in front of 918 F Street. I was very intrigued, mainly because I assumed Living Social was dying. That shirt is misleading.

  • Rad22

    Yawn..another slow news cycle. I don't like Living Social because its all a Brofest with their events. But so what if they got guns and drinks? That's the American Way!

  • Uncle Ernie

    Actually, Euktrain, CREDO is fairly well-known. It is a long-distance and wireless carrier (formerly known as Working Assets Long Distance) that has been around for quite some time and disperes a chunk of its profits to liberal causes. Don't be so quick to write them off just because you've never heard of them.

  • Typical DC BS

    The only thing disgusting is Jordan's comments. Wake up junior - maybe your reading comprehension is lacking - nothing wrong with going to a shooting range and THEN drinking afterward. Sorry it doesn't square with your hipster doofus image of what is proper.

  • Johnny H

    WTF!?!? A crazy guy shoots people and now businesses have to stop offering anything that has to do with firearms because of it or face persecution from the self-appointed social police?

    IF YOU ARE AGAINST GUNS, DON'T BUY THE LIVINGSOCIAL DEALS INVOLVING GUNS! Otherwise, shut your whiney pie-holes and let the rest of us exercise our rights to enjoy our lives and our guns.