A review of the Great Expectations online dating service, a destination for meeting and dating quality singles
Great Expectations has been around practically as long as the famous book with the same name. Actually, they have been around for about 30 years—since long before dating services cropped up on the internet. Even now, the online matchmaker only uses the internet to enhance its services. Members of Great Expectations should expect to spend less time clicking a mouse and more time hoping to click with someone in person. Also expect to spend more time and money than you would with most online dating services. This is for people who really mean business.
Unless you like corny infomercials, prepare to turn off your computer’s sound before you head to the Great Expectations website. The front page has a flash video that automatically starts, and I don’t see any way to stop it. There is also a link to several success stories, but all of them are from 2003 or 2004. I hope that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any more success stories since then.
To move on from this first page, simply enter your ZIP code to see if there are any Great Expectations locations near you. There are only about fifty locations across the country, so you may be told there is no center nearby. In that case, you will be stuck with their online-only site, called Great Dates.
Assuming there is a center close to you, Great Expectations will then ask for your contact information, which must include your phone number. You will then be taken to a screen with a short form to fill out. This includes basic demographic information and a few questions about your interests and personality. You are also asked to fill out the same information for your ideal match. That is all for the internet portion of your experience until much later.
After filling out the online form, you should soon receive a call from a Great Expectations representative. This is where you need to be on your guard. Some former members have reported being aggressively pushed into meetings and purchases. It’s hard to imagine Great Expectations lasting this long if all the centers and representatives were scammers. All the same, don’t be pushed into anything, and document any offers you receive. Also, ask to preview information about the current potential matches in your area. You may find out that the quality or quantity of possible matches in your area is not enough to make your large investment worth it.
The cost of joining Great Expectations can vary dramatically from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Any way you look at it, it is much more expensive than Yahoo Personals, Date.com, Perfectmatch.com, or just about any other online matching service.
The typical Great Expectations experience involves a meeting where you learn more about what the company has to offer. You can have photos taken, a video made, and they can put a profile online for you. The service also often organizes social events for its members. Great Expectations will periodically screen for members that they think will make good matches. Some past members have resented the amount of control the dating service takes, so make sure you are fine with taking yourself out of the driver’s seat in the preliminary stages of searching. Great Expectations makes the choices up front, and then you decide whether to accept or reject their suggestions for dates.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that potential members of Great Expectations should be desperate, but they should definitely be serious. It probably would be a good idea to experiment with some of the cheaper online matchmakers first, since there is much less risk involved. If those are unsuccessful and leave you wanting a service that is more hands-on, then you’d have a better idea that Great Expectations is the right service for you.