Over at USA Today, Don Campbell is hoppin' mad about the economic injustice, nay reverse "ageism" that is the senior citizen discount. He opines:
... the question is, why should someone who is 50 or 55 and likely to live to 85 or 90 be considered a "senior citizen" worthy of special treatment?
I've now passed all the age benchmarks for senior status, and I'm committed unequivocally to a free market, but I think that such discounts are absurd, illogical, and helping fuel the growing economic divide between struggling younger generations and a self-obsessed, mostly well-to-do, older generation. To me, these "deals" add insult to injury to the very people who are being saddled with trillions of dollars in debt to support entitlement programs for the elderly, such as Medicare and Social Security.
I also find them to be a delightful source of amusement when they pit vanity against financial self-interest as cashiers try to guess your age and customers ponder admitting in public that they're a certain age in order to save a few nickels.
I was in line behind a woman at a grocery checkout in Atlanta a couple of years ago on a Wednesday, the day the store gives people age 60 and over a 5% discount. When the cashier said to the woman, "And are you taking our senior discount today?" the woman exploded: "Don't insult me like that! I'll have you know I'm 54 years old!" (She looked closer to 64 than 54, if you ask me.)
More recently, I was in one of those trendy organic food stores when the checkout clerk said to me with a big smile: "May we offer you our military or wise-man discount?" I had no idea what defined "wise man," so I just smiled back and said, "Ma'am, I am wise beyond my years." (I later found out you became "wise" at 60.)