Senior Discounts - Why are they not illegal?

Have there been any court cases on the subject? Retailers and others wouldn’t be allowed to set different prices for whites and blacks, or for men and women. Yet senior discounts are everywhere, and nobody gives them a second thought.

p.s., I don’t want to start a debate on whether they make sense. I just want to know why they’re not illegal.

How about ladies night at bars & clubs? Or the different prices paid at hair salons?

KenP wrote

Fair enough. The reason why they are not illegal is that there are no laws forbidding them.

That out of the way, there’s really nothing left to discuss except debating their fairness.

It’s more of a rite of passage. Everybody that lives long enough will get old. Not just whites or blacks or males or females. It’s not some exclusive club, it’s just luck of the draw whether or not you live that long.

Hawaii charges tourists $3 to enter Hana`uma Bay while locals were allowed to enter for free. I think tourists also had to go through a 15 minute speil about how to take care of the reef there and such. Now a group from California is suing Hawaii over this. Will tell you how things are going later.

Really? Then ask that group from California why it is that non-residents pay more for a fishing license (and a lot of other things) than do residents.

But if an establishment tried a “We Don’t Serve Senior Citizens” rule, AARP (or the Grey Panthers) would have them tied up with demonstrations and lawsuits. Or, if they tried to charge Senior Citizens MORE. Instead of just not patronizing the place, again with demonstrations and lawyers.

And, I’m not arguing against “Senior Discounts” but I’m not sure why they’re legal either.

Now that would be illegal.

[lawstudent]Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, but I am in law school.

They’re not illegal because there’s a public policy argument in favor of keeping senior discounts. In other words, it’s a nice idea to give a little discount to old people, and most folks aren’t going to object. If there were a “white discount” or “non-veteran discount” people might complain that their civil rights were violated, and they’d have good reason to complain. But c’mon, who’s gonna bitch about giving a senior citizen a free drink or 10% discount?

Another example: on the surface, you might argue that it’s discriminatory for an airline not to hire a quadraplegic or schizophrenic as a pilot, since both are disabilities and you’re not supposed to discriminate against the handicapped. But there’s a strong policy argument: is it really a good idea to force airlines to hire psychotics or paralyzed people? Nope. In fact, the federal statute prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities leaves a loophole allowing such “discrimination” if there’s substantial risk of harm or hazard resulting from hiring people with certain disabilities. So, few people complain, and those who do are not guaranteed to have a successful lawsuit. How do you think an age discrimination lawsuit against senior discounts would fare, then?

Anyone else with a more cogent answer than mine?


What about student discounts? :wink:

I think we need to see more of those…

Unlike race, age is not considered a “suspect classification” and thus is not subject to strict scrutiny.

Because laws are written by politicians who are elected primarily by our elders.

It doesn’t matter that senior citizens have the greatest per capita net worth of any age group* and don’t need senior discounts. They have the greatest influence, so they get the goodies. If anyone “deserves” a discount for eating breakfast at Joe’s Eatery, it’s the young family who bears the greatest taxation burden.

[sub]* There is a substantial drop-off in net worth when a person reaches their 80’s - not due to increaed expenses, but because eldery people tend to disperse their assets.[/sub]

hypocracy, glorious hypocracy.

So we’ve got discounts for seniors, sturdents, military, locals and police.
I worked at a convenience store and all cops got an employee discount.
Like evilhanz said, somebody has to pass a law making it illegal, or somebody else has to engage in a lawsuit which would end in a judicial decree making such discounts illegal by default, right? I’m really asking cause I’m not positive. It’s not WAG, more like a NAG.

And as for starting the lawsuit who’s going to do that? The state vs. little ol’ Granny Farmer? No politician in his right mind would want to take on lil’ ol ’ Granny Farmer since it would make him look like the hugest jack-ass in the world. And if say you wanted to challenge it you’d spend a whole lot of time and money to fight this discount and in the end you probably would get any money, they’d just make senior’s pay the full price. So all you’d get is the satisfaction that no one is getting a better deal than you and a lot of grief from people who’ve developed a severe dislike to you.

That being said I’m sure they don’t give the discount out of the kindness of there heart. I’m sure they’re gaining financially from it.

Ok, KenP. Why is it not illegal to offer a discount to old people?
Well, it’s because we rule. As others have stated, old folks run the world. We get cheaper food, cheaper insurance, cheaper housing, pay lower taxes, and we have more money. Plus we have much more free time.
All of us old folks have already paid the non-discount prices for many, many years. Now we just want to enjoy life as much as our poor old, worn-out bodies will allow.
For something to be illegal, in general, there has to be harm. You’re not being charged extra, we’re being charged less. There is a difference.
So if you start right now you might just be able to put a stop to it by the time you’re old enough to enjoy these privileges. :wink:
My question to you. my young friend, is why are you so upset about it? You’ll get your turn. Unless you screw things up.
Try to rectify an injustice. Don’t sweat a simple benefit.
For goodness sakes!
Now kiss grandma goodnight and go to bed. You too, evilhanz.

Non-residents also pay more to get into…::Gasp::…Disneyland.

In Hawai’i, locals get discounts on all sorts of things. I haven’t heard many complaints about that from Hawaiians.

Senior discounts are like many other incentives to get people to spend their money. It’s not much different from getting 50 cents off because you cut a coupon out of the paper for a box of Wheaties. If you don’t have the coupon, then you pay full price.

But if age is a “non suspect” classification, then logically an establishment could get away with a reverse example–a discount to younger people. Which they do, to a degree. Kids get into movies and amusement parks for less. However, I’d like to see a restaurant offer a discount for people “under 40 only” --you know, as an attempt to get a younger, prettier crowd in. I’m sure they’d get slammed.

It comes down to perception. Older people don’t need a discount, statistically speaking, when compared to say a 35-year old single mother, but there’s a perception that they do. Or maybe just a perception that as our elders they must be respected. Here, take my subway seat. Here, have a discounted breakfast. Discrimination in favor of the old is easy to accept because we all get old, or die trying.

What I wonder is why a bar is allowed to offer drink specials to women only. I understand the concept (women equal sexual capital, their presence is worth losing money upfront) but the legality? I doubt a bar could permanently charge more for men, but it seems okay on an occasional basis.

(Incidentally, I once took a female companion into a gay go-go bar. They charged her double for her beer. On another occasion I went to a lesbian disco. They charged me the same, but only let me in after asking if I was gay. “We only let gay men in” was their policy. Rather than point out that they had become the fascists they were supposedly fighting, I just lied. They believed me. Good thing I wore a clean shirt…)

As for locals getting in for less than tourists, it may have some basis in taxes. Locals may support the tax base which may directly or indirectly support the attraction. Like maybe it was built with property taxes. It may be discriminatory, but I for one support it. I don’t like being charged more on vacation, but I despise whining tourists even more.


Not really “all sorts of things”. You see resident discounts on things like hotel rooms, park admissions, Waikiki shows… basically, touristy stuff that the locals don’t all do or need.

evilhanz wrote

Come on. You can’t seriously believe that those 10% off at Dennys deals are mandated by laws passed by Senior Citizen voters. Or do you?

This bitterness thing won’t make your life better now, and it’ll just make you all the angrier when you make it to 70 and discover you’re slower, have more pain, ain’t getting any respect from those damn kids and you’ll never be young again. Let it go, my friend.