EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 12, 2013

Senior citizen discounts are a privilege, not a right

Last week we discussed some shoppers’ feelings of entitlement to coupon discounts, and the topic of senior citizen discounts deserves a follow-up.

I recently devoted a column to this topic, featuring readers’ questions on whether an establishment has to offer discounts to seniors and whether stores and restaurants have the right to change the values of their senior citizen discounts at will.

As expected, this topic heated up my inbox:

Dear Jill,

I recently found a list of stores that offer senior discounts online. A well-known department store chain was listed as giving 50 percent off purchases to those ages 50 and older. I went to this store and asked for the discount, as I am much older than 50. They said they don’t have a senior discount. They also said another person had also asked for it. I’m just wondering, does this chain offer this?

Louise T.

I removed the name of the store about which Louise was inquiring from her letter, as I can only imagine the hysteria (not to mention the legal trouble I could potentially face) if I named this store and a 50 percent senior discount in the same sentence!

No, this major chain of stores is not offering a half-off discount to everyone over the age of 50. I’d be wary of any unofficial claims you might find online saying that a store is offering half-price discounts: That’s a pretty significant savings to potentially offer to half the population. How would the store stay in business?

The best way to find out if a store offers a senior citizen discount is to go directly to the source; inquire at the store itself. Don’t rely on any unsubstantiated, unverified lists.

Dear Jill,

Just read your article about senior discounts in the paper. Thought I would share this true story with you.

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